Ever since KISS played Glasgow’s SECC Hall 4 back in 2010, I have always been a grateful fan. After all, it was the best part of 20 years between then and their previous concert in Scotland. Well, never in a million years did I think I could take my kids to see the band play our country once again.
Looking back at it now, May 27th was the worst possible day to hold this event. With the disturbingly hot and humid weather as well as the soccer cup finals, the town was heaving and you’d be lucky if you could get transport to and a hotel in Glasgow. Through out the day we were bombarded with tropical rain, thunderstorms and air so thick and it was genuinely hard to breath at points.
The weather didn’t help us much as we decided that we were going to head down to the front, get a great view of the band and plonked ourselves at the front door three hours ahead of opening time. In those three hours we met some lovely folks, had a great laugh and passed the time quite quickly. We noticed a big step up in security at both the Hydro and the SECC conference centre. Bag searches, pat downs and metal detectors were out in force to combat the paranoia caused by the sad loss of life at Manchester a few nights ago (which KISS paid respect to the dead with a one minute silence). It was all completely justified if I do say so.
Unfortunately for the crowd, this meant people were stopped, searched and the poor souls with backpacks having to leave the queue to get searched in another building. As much of a pain as it was, it was all completely justified and those who think otherwise just shouldn’t have been let in. After such events, why would you even take a bag with you?! This was not helped by the manor in which they directed us into the venue. You see, those standing get directed to one of four doors scattered around the venue and these doors are suppose to open at the same time giving fans the same chance to get down in front. Typically, the security on our door delayed us by a couple of minutes with most of the front three rows being taken up before we got into the arena. It does make me wonder, if these security people can’t arrange the door openings properly, how are they to combat an emergency situation if one arises?
Much to the disappointment of the crowd, the air conditioning was not used to its full effect or not used at all. The main arena’s temperature rose so fast that people were passing out before the show even began. The crowd were getting especially irritable partially because the opening band, The Dives arrived on stage half an hour late (to some interesting comments from the front few rows) and truth be told, we were better off with out them.
The Dives played roughly half hour in Glasgow, their set features a lot of unmemorable songs and some of the worst vocals I have seen from an up coming rock band in a long time. Most of the band’s lead vocals were flat with no personality what so ever, not helping the fact that the songs in general were quite generic.
To their credit, they all seemed like good musicians but the previous mentioned facts and their god awful hipster look does not help the band at all. What I saw last night looked like a bunch of pampered mummies boys pretending to play rock band and it was genuinely quite uncomfortable. Of course this all made sense when we found out that the band is actually led by Paul Stanley’s son, Evan Stanley. It is safe to say he didn’t inherit his dad’s charisma or talent.
After waiting an extra half an hour, KISS’ were about to hit the stage and they did so to a playback of Led Zeppelin’s classic number Rock And Roll. Once the song died out, we were treated to the “You Wanted The Best” speech, the gigantic curtain dropped and the band literally blasted their way into the song Deuce. With some great costumes, excellent stage design and a very awesome display rig, the band looked amazing.
It was clear that the band were tight and on damn fine form as the group worked their way through KISS classics like Shout It Out Loud, Lick It Up, I Love It Loud and Firehouse. We even got to hear the rarely played Flaming Youth, a song I have never cared for but sounded great never the less. War Machine was a very nice edition, one of the best KISS songs out there in my opinion and I loved seeing Sonic Boom being represented by Say Yeah. God of Thunder was quite spectacular with the dark green lighting, Gene Simmons spewing blood and singing the song from the rafters. This is not forgetting the editions of my first ever KISS song, Crazy Nights and the often over looked Psycho Circus. The set list as a whole was very well done with a good ratio of hits from all periods of the bands history. Though personally speaking, I would have loved more tunes from the ’80s, but that will draw out too much criticism from those looking for the hits and only the hits.
It was nice to see Eric Singer on the drums once again. This fellow has to be one of the most underappreciated drummers in rock from the his work with KISS, Alice Cooper to his time in Black Sabbath. The same could be said for Tommy Thayer in fact. Not only is Thayer a superb rock n roll guitarist but he does a great job of playing the part. He gets a little too much abuse for wearing Ace Frehley’s Space Ace make up, but those fans forget that Tommy picked up the slack when Frehley was too lazy or drunk to do so himself. They both certainly deserves a lot more respect for being the back bone in one of the most famous rock bands in history and they certainly got it in Glasgow last night.
KISS finished off their set with the disco hit I Was Made For Loving You and the Destroyer classic Detroit Rock City. The song choice had the fans bouncing only to be squashed by drowning us all in confetti and melting our faces off with some of the most awesome excessive displays of pyrotechnics I have ever seen in the space of thirty seconds. The band threw out plectrums, drum sticks, said their good byes and left the stage to thunderous applause and the crowd singing their hearts out to the bands Argent cover version God Gave Rock n Roll To You.
With the crowd absolutely exhausted from the stunning stage show and the over whelming heat, most people were too hard done by to complain about the show. It is hard to say this was bad, sure Paul Stanley’s voice isn’t the same power house as it use to be but it wasn’t for a lack of trying and the band made up for it in many different ways. Simmons and Singer both sang their hearts out and the band were clearly well rehearsed and were more then well equipped to literally blow our brains out. Which they did, quite successfully.
You see a lot of Americans complaining about KISS in concert saying that the band tour the same set list too frequently etc. But these people don’t realise that other countries like the UK don’t get a KISS summer tour every year and from my perspective, this is the second concert KISS have played in my country in twenty five years, I have seen both concerts and it is an experience I will never forget and will always be grateful for. If Gene Simmons tells the truth, KISS will be retiring in a few years time and future generations will never get to witness this spectacular show, I recommend taking it in and appreciating the effort whilst its still out there, flaws included.