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Review

Sonic Boom Tour Report - Part 2
5/2010
Review by - Daniel Hill
Pictures by - Daniel Hill & Stuart Bayley

This is part 2, click here to read part 1 of Dans report

DAY 6 - (May 7th 2010) - DUBLIN
Once I'd landed in Dublin and seen a few sights, I went to meet some friends at The Westbury hotel, where Stu (Mr Baykiss) had received a tip off that KISS were staying there. There is an Italian restaurant opposite called 'Little Caesar's. No KISS connection as such but it just seemed cool (need I explain), plus it made a good photo for the album. Anyway, after waiting around for a couple of hours, I decided to go through the hotel and check that no one had left through the back. As I entered the lobby, I glanced towards the staircase and was astonished to see Mr Tommy Thayer himself, coming down. I just stood and stared for a few seconds, then made my approach. Stu had 
then spotted us and came into the hotel. Tommy was very pleasant as he chatted to us for a while and signed some items. All he requested was that we didn't take photos as he claimed to be feeling rough. Luckily, Jackie (Mrs Baykiss) was at hand behind us, clicking away with her camera!! Tommy returned upstairs so we made our way back to the entrance of the hotel. Shortly after, Tommy appeared again outside the hotel. This time, he just waved to the slowly growing crowd, got into a car and left. Quiet a while later, Jackie spotted Gene in the lobby. I did get in and speak to Gene but he just politely asked us to wait outside, which is fair enough. After about another hour, head of security Michael Francis came out of the hotel, followed by Gene and Eric. Gene also just waved to the fans and got in the car. Eric however stopped for a short few seconds and signed some goodies for the fans. Only at this point, I noticed Doc Mcghee had been waiting in the car outside for at least half an hour but the blacked out windows had literally left us in the dark. After our sudden fortune, we decided to wait just a little longer to see if Paul was going to come out. A while later we saw some kind of commotion in the hotel, then suddenly, a black car came past with Paul in it. Seems he left via an underground car park.

  • Dublin - Hard Rock Cafe - In here is a PS model Washburn guitar, used by Paul Stanley during 
    the farewell tour on July 29th 2000. There is also a Peavey bass guitar used by Mel Schacher, 
    founding member of 'Grand Funk Railroad', in which Bruce Kulick is currently the lead guitarist for 
    the group.

  • Dublin - O2 Arena - (KISS _ May 7th 2010 _ Eighth UK Tour)

  • Spoke to Paul and Billy outside the arena

  • Watched from the Paul Stanley rotating stage. Not really that far from the main stage as the area isn't very long

  • Not full but the Dublin fans make up for lack of numbers. They're crazy!!

  • KISS (as a band) were on great form but didn't seem to enjoy themselves as much as previous nights (in my opinion)

Dublin - Hard Rock Cafe
Paul's Guitar + KISS Pics
Dublin - Hard Rock Cafe
Mel Schacher's Bass 
Dublin
Little Caesar's Resturant 
Dublin - Westbury Hotel
Where KISS Were Staying 
Hotel Meet
Me, Stu & Tommy 
Hotel Meet
Stu & Tommy 
Outside Hotel
Tommy 
Outside Hotel
Gene & Eric 
Outside Hotel
Eric 
Outside Hotel
Doc Mcghee 
Outside Hotel
Gene 
Outside Hotel
Gene 
The Show 


 
DAY 7 - (May 9th 2010) - GLASGOW
Today was going to be a long day as I had got a killer of a drive from home (near Birmingham) to Glasgow, with a few stops to make along the way.

  • Leicester - De Montfort Hall - (KISS _ October 24th 1983 _ Third UK Tour), (KISS _ October 
    10th 1984 _ Fourth UK Tour)

  • Derby - Donington Park - (KISS _ August 20th 1988 _ 'Monsters Of Rock' Festival), (KISS _ August 17th 1996 _ Monsters Of Rock Festival), (KISS _ June 13th 2008 _ Download Festival), (Ace Frehley _ June 14th 2008 _ Download Festival)

  • Leeds - Queens Hall [now demolished and rebuilt as a multi-storey car park] - (KISS _ October 21st 1983 _ Third UK Tour), (KISS _ October 13th 1984 _ Fourth UK Tour)

  • Catterick - Army Hospital - My older brother recently came down with pneumonia so a visit was in order as I was heading north

  • Glasgow - Apollo Theatre [now rebuilt as a large Cineworld] - (KISS _ October 27th 1983 _ Third 
    UK Tour), (KISS _ October 5th 1984 _ Fourth UK Tour)

  • Glasgow - SECC Arena - (KISS - Rehearsals - May 14th & 15th 1992), (KISS _ May 16th 1992 _ Sixth UK Tour), (KISS _ May 9th 2010 _ Eighth UK Tout) 

  • Stu (Baykiss) managed to get himself mistaken for a trucker and wound up inside the arena whilst the stage was being set up, also filling 2 smoke machines and manhandling the pyro in the process.

  • Watched from between Paul's rotating stage and main stage - Centre/right side

  • The respective album covers appear on the screens at the start of certain songs and continue to throughout the tour (possibly done previously and I'd just not noticed)

  • The first show with a sell out crowd. The atmosphere was well and truly kicking

  • Met Chris Babbitt, Mikey Cross and Andrew Cushing from Taking Dawn as I was leaving the arena

Leicester
De Montfort Hall
Derby - Main Entrance
Donington Park 
Leeds - Queens Hall Car Park
(Formally 'Queens Hall') 
Glasgow - Cineworld
(Formally 'Apollo Theatre')
Glasgow
SECC Arena 
The Show 
Me & Chris Babbitt
(Taking Dawn) 
Me & Mikey Cross
(Taking Dawn)
Me & Andrew Cushing
(Taking Dawn) 


 
Day 8 - (May 10th 2010) - MANCHESTER

  • Edinburgh - Playhouse Theatre [formally known as 'Edinburgh Playhouse'] - (KISS _ October 28th 1983 _ Third UK Tour), (KISS _ October 6th 1984 _ Fourth UK Tour), (KISS _ October 1st & 2nd 1988 _ Fifth UK Tour)

  • Edinburgh - Hard Rock Cafe - In here is a fully signed, original print vinyl of 'Lick It Up' and a couple of KISS pins

  • Manchester - Free Trade Hall [now the Radison Edwardian hotel but still looks the same] - (KISS _ May 17th 1976 _ First UK Tour)

  • Manchester - Hard Rock Cafe - In here is a guitar, smashed onstage by Paul in 1997. It was tossed into the crowd and caught by Scott Ian from Anthrax. Also here was another kissinuk meet up for a beer or two. There was KISS music and videos playing all afternoon

  • Manchester - MEN Arena [previously known as the 'Nynex Arena] - (KISS _ November 21st 1996 _ Seventh UK Tour), (KISS _ May 10th 2010 - Eighth UK Tour) 

  • Spoke with Paul and Billy. They gave me a tour crew t-shirt and told me to meet them in 
    London!?

  • Watched from the back, upper tier, seated. A long way back but one hell of a view

  • The worlds number 1 KISS tribute band DRESSED TO KILL were here in full KISS attire and got an amazing reception from the crowd

  • Another sell out crowd and possibly the largest of the UK shows

  • More pyro seemed to be used here than anywhere else, apart from 'Black Diamond' which had no pyro at all    

  • Manchester - Apollo theatre - (KISS _ October 4th 1984 _ Fourth UK Tour)

  • Stafford - Bingley Hall - (KISS _ September 5th 1980 _ Second UK Tour), (KISS _ October 22nd 1983 _ Third UK tour), (KISS _ October 12 1984 _ Fourth UK Tour)

Edinburgh
Playhouse Theatre
Edinburgh - Hard Rock Cafe
Fully Signed 'Lick It Up' Cover 
Edinburgh - Hard Rock Cafe
KISS Pins 
Manchester - Radisson Hotel
(Formally 'Free Trade Hall') 
Manchester - Hard Rock Cafe
Paul's Smashed Guitar & KISS Pic 
Manchester - MEN Arena
(Formally 'Nynex Arena)
The Show 
Manchester - Apollo Theatre  Stafford - Bingley Hall


 
 Day 9 - (May 12th 2010) - LONDON

  • Oxford - The Manor [formally The Manor Studio] - (Gene recorded parts of he's 1978 solo album 
    here)

  • Horsham - Christ's Hospital School - (Where Gene had filmed the first series of Rock School)

  • London - Shepperton Studios - (The first stop KISS ever made on UK soil was here, for rehearsals on May 11th & 12th 1976)

  • London - Wembley - {the new Wembley Arena (KISS _ 12th & 13th May 2010 _ Eighth UK Tour) is on the same grounds as the original Wembley Arena} (KISS _ September 8th & 9th 1980 _ Second UK Tour), (KISS _ October 23rd 1983 _ Third UK Tour), (KISS _ October 14th & 15th 1984 _ Fourth UK Tour), (KISS _ September 24th and 25th 1988 _ Fifth UK Tour), (KISS _ May 21st 1992 _ Sixth UK Tour), (KISS _ November 25th 1996 _ Seventh UK Tour), (KISS _ March 25th 1999 _ One Stop Show) 

  • Could not find the Gene Simmons van or the drivers

  • Finally got to see Karl enjoy Taking Dawn (well, sort of)

  • Only a half full arena but again, the crowd were awesome with fans and flags from all over the world in attendance

  • Once more, the video controller took harsh words from Paul as he'd forgotten to put the crowd on the screens during the show

  • Got a Tommy Thayer plectrum

  • Met Doc Mcghee after the show at the mixing desk and got my poster signed

  • Met Alan Doucette from Taking Dawn outside the arena

  • Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones were also at the show

Oxford - The Manor
(Formally 'The Manor Studios') 
Oxford - The Manor
(Formally 'The Manor Studios') 
Horsham
Christ's Hospital School 
Horsham
Christ's Hospital School 
London
Shepperton Studios 
Wembley Arena 
The Show 
Me & Doc Mcghee Me & Alan Doucette
(Taking Dawn) 


 
Day 10 - (May 13th 2010) - LONDON

  • London - Chambers Wharf [Recently demolished and is still a construction site] - (This is where KISS shot the videos for 'Who Wants To Be Lonely' & 'Uh! All Nite'....and possibly 'Tears Are Falling' a few months earlier but not definite)

  • London - Westminster Bridge - (KISS _ more 1976 photo shots)

  • London - Buckingham Palace - (KISS _ more 1976 photo shots)

London - Chambers Wharf
(Filming Of Asylum Videos) 
London - 1976
Peter - Westminster Bridge 
London - 2010
Me - Westminster Bridge 
London - 1976
Paul - Westminster Bridge 
London - 2010
Me - Westminster Bridge 
London - 1976
Gene - Westminster Bridge 
London - 2010
Me - Westminster Bridge 
London - 1976
KISS - Buckingham Palace 
London - 2010
Big Gates - Buckingham Palace 
London - 1976
Ace - Buckingham Palace 
London - 2010
Me - Buckingham Palace 
London - 1976
Ace - Buckingham Palace 
London - 2010
Buckingham Palace 


 
It was still early so from here I headed to Wembley Arena to find Paul and Billy. As I walked past a back entrance, I spotted the Gene Simmons van parked underneath the arena but couldn't get into that part so just hung around for a while. Soon after, a security guard spotted the drivers and led me into them. This is where my excitement really began...

My first job was to sort out the new Axe and Punisher bass's that had been ordered by fans from Zurich, Geneva, Milan and Vienna. These had to be put on a separate truck that was getting ready to leave for the ferry port. My next task was to sort out the Axe Bass Gene had used the previous night (covered in blood, signed and dated) and pack it for a buyer who was to be at the Meet And Greet later on. Then I had to get the Axe and Punisher that Gene was using that very night and take them to the stage area. From here, we went into the KISS catering room for dinner. I couldn't believe my eyes as I walked in and Paul Stanley strolled past me. I just sort of froze and said hi!! I then sat down to eat my lamb meal and in came Paul's guitar technician Fran and Doc Mcghee. Once I'd finished, I returned to the backstage area. As soon as I got there, I bumped into Eric Singer. We had a short chat then he left for something to eat. I then hung around while the finishing touches were being put together and watched the new video of KISS at Wembley arena, where they were shown leaving the dressing room and being led to the stage by Doc Mcghee (this was filmed the previous day and was to be used that very night). By this time, the arena was starting to fill so I went to look around and met some friends for a chat. After about an hour I went backstage again. By now, KISS were in full makeup . After a brief 'hi' from Tommy and a very quick word with Gene, the band hit the stage. I watched the entrance from behind the drum kit and then went into the press pit for about 15 minutes. From here I went backstage for a while where I saw the show from the video screen control unit (this was really cool as you could see what was happening on every camera in the arena). For the last half of the show I sat behind, but above the stage. You could see the whole arena from here and it was rammed (a good contender for Glasgow and Manchester). Throughout the duration of the night, I had managed to acquire 6 Gene Simmons Sonic Boom picks (1 of which I gave Stu) and 3 grey picks (2 of which had blood on them). Once the show ended, I went back down to the stage area where I met Shannon Tweed and also got her to sign my poster. I then packed away the Axe Bass Gene had just used (covered in wet blood). Just as I was leaving, I bumped into Eric once more. We spoke briefly and he signed a couple of items.

That was it then for me. No more shows, no more cities, no more drinks with KISS friends and no more KISS related destinations (WELL! UNTIL NEXT TIME!!)

Holding Bass From
Previous Night
Holding Bass For
Current Night 
Holding Bass For
Current Night 
Bass's For Sale Box  Side Stage  Dinner With Doc 
Dinner With Doc  Me
Staff T-Shirt & AAA Pass 
Me & Gene's
Personal Driver 
Tommy
Backstage
Gene
Backstage
Backstage 
KISS
Entering Stage
Backstage
KISS - Entering Stage 
From The Pit 
From The Pit  Video Monitors
Backstage 
Video Monitors
Backstage 
Side/Above Stage  Side/Above Stage  Side/Above Stage 
Side/Above Stage  Side/Above Stage  Side/Above Stage 
Me & Shannon Tweed  KISS Pyro Box Current Nights Bass


 
 My Special Thanks:

  • My girlfriend - for putting up with my obsession for KISS and not moaning too much about the 
    debt I get into because of it

  • My dad - for bringing my attention to KISS from the day I was born and taking me to my first 
    show when I was 7 (that was it for me, hooked for life)

  • My boss - for the time I keep taking off work and the use of his credit card to keep booking my trips

  • KISS and everyone who has played a part in keeping this band going over 37 years and making it what it is today

  • Paul and Billy (the drivers) - for a good night out and my AAA pass for Wembley

  • Dressed To Kill/Being Paul Stanley/Rocket Ride - for many good nights over the years (If you can't get KISS....get the next best thing)

  • Stu & Jackie (Mr & Mrs Baykiss) - for putting up with me in pretty much every city and just making the whole tour a lot more enjoyable (and for sending me some pics to use)

  • Nick Smith - for the amazing Mark St John & Vinnie Vincent t-shirts he gave me and mostly for the company on my journey home from Liverpool and London

  • Everyone I met along the way.....Stu, Jackie, Karl, Tim, Danny, Sarah, Dan Bach, Billy, Fraiser, Jaymze, dj-ash, Richard, Sweet Pain, Spooky, Heather, Caroline, Darran, Jen, Jazz, Topaz, Beth, James, Nick, Pete and anyone else who I may have missed....Respect to you all.

  • I'd also like to thank Paul Finn (www.kissinuk.com) - for keeping us up to date with all things 
    KISS in the UK and running the forum that allows us to keep in touch with the people we meet on 
    the road

  • Oh, and thank YOU for reading my review