You wanted the best, you got the best. The hottest band in the world – KISS
The now familiar introductory speech from Gene Simmons comes blaring over the PA as the huge lighting rig comes to life and the even bigger front curtain covering the stage, emblazoned with the KISS logo, drops to the floor in a fireball explosion to reveal KISS suspended on platforms high above the stage as more explosions and fireballs explode all around.
We are already in the collective palms of the hands of KISS as the platforms slowly lower to the floor and bassist Gene Simmons, guitarists Paul Stanley and Tommy Thayer step to the front of the stage in their full make-up. This only leaves drummer Eric Singer at the back of the stage but making more noise on his kit that the other three band members put together, his make-up equally as impressive as the other three.
As show opening go it would be hard to top this one from KISS with Gene Simmons in his traditional armour like outfit and exceptionally high platform boots. Not to be outdone, Paul Stanley and Tommy Thayer both sport equally as high boots as the band prowl the stage.
As to whether Eric Singer is wearing boots behind his drum kit is anyones guess but it would not surprise me if he was.
Not to be left out of the costumes, many of the crowd have arrived in full make up and costumes in homage to their idols.
Some 40 years have passed since KISS spawned the idea of the rock show as a global spectacle and they are holding nothing back tonight as the crowd goes wild, singing along in full voice to opening number Detroit Rock City.
As the concert progresses, the heat from the crowd is only overshadowed by the heat coming from the multitude of flame throwers and explosions on stage which can be felt way at the back of the venue.
We are witnessing a theatrical production this evening to which nothing compares, the video screens either side of the stage are dwarfed by the massive screen behind Eric Singer and the 11 other mobile video screens hanging over the stage set.
These mobile screens double as moveable platforms and are put to good use by the band and, in particular Gene Simmons, who is often raised high above the crowd as he plays.
During God of Thunder the pace is stepped up with Gene Simmons breathing fire and other times he is dripping stage blood from his mouth as he plays and sings as he is raised above the stage during his bass solo.
This truly is a band of four people with Tommy Thayer often taking center stage, his guitar solo matching the best of them and is also played way above the heads of the crowd.
The main vocals, shared between Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, are clear and well sung with the former having the higher pitch of the pair though they seem to complement each other well.
A lengthy drum solo by Eric Singer becomes a cacophony of explosions and fireworks from all areas of the stage before Paul Stanley is transported via a zip wire across the heads of the crowd to a stage at the rear of the auditorium where he takes lead vocal on two of the biggest KISS hits, Love Gun and I Was Made For Lovin’ You.
Eric Singer takes the spotlight with a rendition of Beth at a silver piano before the show comes to a climax with Crazy, Crazy Nights before Gene Simmons and Tommy Thayer climb onto 2 large mobile cranes and are swung out over the crowd during Rock & Roll All Nite.
As the song comes to an end, so does the show. Gene Simmons and Tommy Thayer are gently lowered to the stage as the fireworks, confetti, tickertape, balloons and flame throwers all come together in one final display of the outlandish stage set KISS have brought with them tonight.
It would be very hard to explain this show to someone who has never heard of KISS but, then again, who has never heard of KISS. Afterall, they remain the hottest band in the world in terms of music, spectacle and the sheer amount and frequency of flame throwers they have with them.