I grew up, like most people my age, with KISS. It was more of a staple diet in our house than food. I missed them in 1980 as I was too young to go and as I didn’t want my childhood memories shattered, have never seen them. But let’s face it; those two awesome original members of KISS aren’t getting any younger. So there I was, my first time, and what a line up. KISS, Mötley Crüe and Thin Lizzy!
A lot of Thin Lizzy fans boycotted this gig out of respect for Phil Lynott and what the band used to be. The band these days is in fact a little more Thin than Lizzy. They have had a revolving door of members over the years since they formed in 1969, with this lineup featuring original member Brian Downey (drums) and Scott Gorham (guitar) who both joined in 1974.
Thin Lizzy played an expected set of greatest hits and definitely did not disappoint. ‘Jailbreak’, ‘The Rocker’ and ‘Whiskey In A Jar’ was well received by an enthusiastic crowd. Vocalist Ricky Warwick also picked up a guitar at times and that third guitar on stage really gave the songs more depth and a really punchy sound; which was most noticeable on ‘Rosalie’, originally written and released in 1972 by Bob Seger and covered by Thin Lizzy in 1975, a long time fan favourite.
Warwick paid homage to Lynott during the set, a person who would have been on many minds while watching Thin Lizzy trawl through their catalogue of great tunes. They finished the set in style by bridging from ‘Cowboy Song’ into ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’, ala the classic ‘Live and Dangerous Album’. This got a HUGE cheer from the crowd and sealed the band’s stamp of approval from fans spanning generations.
Mötley Crüe came out and did a lap of honour between the ‘Destroyer’ and ‘Feel Good’ standing zones, complete with scantily clad women atop guy’s shoulders and holding up vertical style Mötley Crüe flags. Maybe a little bit much but I guess they are here to put on a show. Once up on stage the band kicked into the steam rolling ‘Saints Of Los Angeles’.
They came out blazing, full of energy, massive sound and lots of attitude. It wasn’t good seeing Mick Mars looking more frail, though he nailed it and can still play lead like a demon. Tommy Lee was up to his old tricks with his signature 360º spinning kit going round during his solo.
They played the usual classics like ‘Wild Side’, ‘Shout At The Devil’, ‘Dr. Feel Good’, ‘Girls Girls Girls’ and ‘Kickstart My Heart’ but missing from the set were some regulars that disappointed fans like ‘Looks That Kill’ and the 1973 Brownsville Station cover ‘Smokin’ In The Boys Room’.
The band still sound awesome and have the balls of the 80’s Crue but unfortunately Vince Neil started to run out of breath after a few songs and was dragging his knuckles for the rest of the set. It was a pity as each song would start off sounding great but then it was difficult to avoid concentrating on his vocals when he was singing late, missing words, talking parts of lines and relying maybe a lot more than usual on the crowd to sing along.
There were of course females up on stage singing (?) back up and wearing as little as needed at times, dancing like strippers and even swinging high up in the air on chains.
During ‘Girls Girls Girls’ images of beauties flashed up on the big screen at the back of the stage during the chorus. It was hilarious when Justin Bieber’s face appeared in amongst them for a second, laughter erupted throughout the crowd from those that caught sight of it.
KISS made no mistake at letting us know this night was theirs! As they were lowered from the ceiling, lights went off like the flash bangs that were to follow. They exploded straight into ‘Detroit Rock City’, a massive fan favourite!
All the tricks were there; pyro, flames, smoke machines and main front man Paul Stanley can still rock that ass shimmy and strut it up and down the stage just like he did in the 70s.
The set was a mix of old school favourites like ‘Shout It Out Loud’, ‘Black Diamond’ and their two most famous; ‘Rock And Roll All Nite’ and ‘I Was Made For Lovin’ You’.
Some of the highlights included Stanley flying out across the crowd on a flying fox to a platform during ‘Love Gun’, Simmons’ crazy bass solo while he was spitting blood, and during the extended ‘Lick It Up’ they included an excerpt from The Who’s ‘Won’t get Fooled Again’. ‘Fake Ace’ uh I mean Tommy Thayer’s stand alone guitar solo was epic. He is an awesome guitarist, albeit no Frehley and I don’t get why he was trying so badly to sound like Jimmy Page?!
But where was ‘Strutter’? ‘Cold Gin’? ‘Deuce’? ‘Calling Dr. Love’? And God forbid even ‘Beth’? And I have to admit that perhaps it’s a little too creepy now having Gene Simmons singing ‘Christine Sixteen’. It would be more appropriately renamed ‘Christine Sixty’.
All that being said, my dreams came true and I saw KISS! It’s just a pity that Vince Neil really needs to learn those lyrics as that really took the sheen and the metal away from the rest of Mötley Crüe. Whereas with face painted four we still totally enjoyed their set, as we wanted the best and we got the best, the hottest band in the world… KISS !!!
KISS Set list:
Detroit Rock City
Shout It Out Loud
Calling Dr Love
Firehouse (Gene spits fire)
Hell or Hallelujah
Outta This World (with Eric and Tommy jam) (Tommy playing Jimmy Page style solo)
Bass Solo (Gene spits blood)
I Love It Loud
Crazy Crazy Nights
Love Gun (Paul flies across the crowd on a a flying fox to platform at sound desk)
Rock n Roll Every Nite
Lick It Up ( Excerpt from The Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again)
I Was Made For Lovin’ You
(music playing on house speakers after their set) God Gave Rock’n’Roll To You II.
Mötley Crüe set list:
Saints Of Los Angeles
Shout At The Devil
Same Ol’ Situation
Home Sweet Home
(Drum solo and 360º)
Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go)
Girl Girls Girls
Kickstart My Heart
All photos by Olivia Reppas