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'Concert of the year': KISS bring fire and blood to Arena Birmingham - review with pictures

By Kirsten Rawlins | Birmingham | Music | Published:

“All right Birmingham, you wanted the best, you got the best. The hottest band of the world: KISS.”

KISS. Pictures by: Andy Shaw

With fire breathing, blood spitting, huge pyrotechnics and much more, it truly was a Crazy, Crazy Night when KISS came to town on their End of the Road World Tour.

The global rock icons were not going down without a fight at the Midland date of their ‘final tour ever’. Far more than simply a concert, this was a truly outstanding experience which will remain with fans for years to come.

The spectacular began with screens either side of the covered stage showing the band members approaching from their dressing rooms - provoking screams and cheers from an absolutely heaving Arena Birmingham, packed from front to back with fans of all ages.

The black curtain then dropped revealing the musicians on high-up platforms being lowered on to the stage as they performed Detroit Rock City while flames and fireworks shot into the air.

And from here the thrilling madness never failed to cease for the entirety of the two-hour show.

With their faces painted and dressed as their respective characters, the four-piece captivated the crowd for every minute of the phenomenal performance. From Gene Simmons spewing blood and spitting fire, to Paul Stanley whizzing over the crowd to a middle platform and smashing his guitar in half, this show truly had it all.

“So Birmingham, I guess this is the last time we’re gonna get together,” announced Paul.

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KISS. Pictures by: Andy Shaw

“We’ve been coming to see people since 1976.”

Tremendous renditions of beloved hits such as I Love It Loud, Lick It Up, Calling Dr Love and Heaven’s On Fire had fans singing all the words as each and every member simply stunned with talent and tricks.

Gene and Paul may both be pushing 70, but they still boast every ounce of stagemanship, musical ability and vocal skill they were so famed for in their prime.

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And while drummer Eric Singer and guitarist Tommy Thayer may not be of the original line-up, they too were superb at each and every turn: Tommy for his fantastically high-paced, intricate fingerwork, and Eric not only for his uniquely outstanding drum solos, but also for his beautifully smooth, high-ranging vocals.

KISS. Pictures by: Andy Shaw

A highlight of the show saw Paul fly above the crowd on a zip line to a middle platform to perform Love Gun and I Was Made For Lovin’ You, wowing fans with his superbly wide-ranging, strong voice, as he danced and interacted with the crowd which passionately sang along to every word.

Another top moment saw drummer Eric appear through a hole in the darkened, smoke-filled stage as he played a sparkling silver piano and sang a superb rendition of 1976 number Beth.

Explosive performances of Crazy, Crazy Nights and Rock and Roll All Nite ended the show as the crowd was covered with confetti and huge multi-coloured fireworks and flames shot from the stage. Paul then smashed his guitar in two before purple streamers shot out over fans.

KISS. Pictures by: Andy Shaw

Words can barely do the show justice; far more than just a gig, this all-encompassing spectacular had everything any KISS fan could have wished for and more.

Concert of the year so far? I certainly think so.

Kirsten Rawlins

By Kirsten Rawlins
@kirsten_Star

Online Entertainment Editor for the Express & Star and Shropshire Star. E-mail me kirsten.rawlins@expressandstar.co.uk, or phone 01902 319368

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