KISS @ Arena, Birmingham – Tuesday 9th July 2019


45 years in the music business has made KISS masters of suspense and a palpable, electrifying tension builds as we await the band and the stage curtain that hides the set only increases our curiosity. Finally the lights dim and the house announcer proclaims the bands rallying cry: “You wanted the best, You got the best!” as Kiss hit the boards accompanied by a riotous cornucopia of pyrotechnics and stage bangs. Launching into ‘Detroit Rock City’ is akin to lighting touchpaper as huge flames fire from each side of the stage and the assembled throng go suitably wild.


With each band member an extrovert who’s vying for your attention it’s hard to know where to look as ‘Shout it Out Loud’ follows and the crowd are happy to oblige. The classics keep coming in the shape of ‘Deuce’ and with so many great songs in their arsenal the band really can’t go wrong. Tonight is how Kiss should always be experienced (at ear splitting volume) as ‘Say Yeah’ follows from the excellent Sonic Boom album along with a stomping ‘I Like it Loud’. ‘Heaven’s on Fire’, a fiery ‘War Machine’ and the innuendo filled ‘Lick it Up’ are all unleashed in quick succession and ensures their set plays out like a greatest hits CD. ‘Cold Gin’ features a tasty solo from Tommy Thayer who fires sparks from his guitar and is proving to be a more-than-worthy replacement to Ace Frehley.


Kiss constantly interact with the audience and I’m certain that nobody in the capacity crowd feels left out and ‘Calling Dr. Love’ is a timely reminder of why we all fell in love with raunchy rock and roll. ‘100,000 Years’ features a fine drum solo from Eric Singer who is a blur of sticks and feet kicking bass drums. Gene Simmons then takes centre stage and, bathed in garish green light, he’s perfect as a Japanese horror-Kabuki monster. Spitting fake blood he uses his earth shaking bass solo as an introduction to the thudding ‘God of Thunder’.


This being a Kiss show everything is cranked up to eleven: the lights are brighter, the bangs are louder and the flames are hotter. A great deal of attention has been lavished on the stage set as each member is variably elevated on platforms and Paul Stanley then flies by harness to a plinth in the centre of the arena to sing a spirited ‘Love Gun’ and then a groove laden ‘I Was Made for Lovin’ You’ which, as you’d expect, gets the whole venue singing and dancing. Part celebration, part rock and roll party ‘Black Diamond’ brings the set to a conclusion.


Of course the band aren’t allowed to leave without playing encores as Eric Singer, accompanied by a piano, rises magically from beneath the stage to sing ‘Beth’. Their 1987 smash hit ‘Crazy Crazy Nights’ is warmly welcomed with opened arms and it’s a joy to behold the pleasure that Kiss bring to their fans. ‘Rock and Roll all Nite’ is a fitting closer and succinctly encapsulates the whole Kiss concert experience as Gene and Tommy are extended far out into the crowd on cranes whilst huge balloons and ticker tape create a party atmosphere. However the hedonism is tinged with a sadness as The End of the Road Tour promises to be the bands last. If that’s true the world will be a duller place and it’s sobering to think there are many yet to witness the Kiss spectacle.


“You wanted the best, You got the best”. That’s undisputed!


Reviewed by Peter Dennis.

Set List:

  1. Detroit Rock City
  2. Shout it Out Loud
  3. Deuce
  4. Say Yeah
  5. I Love it Loud
  6. Heaven’s on Fire
  7. War Machine
  8. Lick it Up
  9. Calling Dr. Love
  10. 100,000 Years
  11. Cold Gin
  12. God of Thunder
  13. Psycho Circus
  14. Let Me Go, Rock ‘n’ Roll
  15. Love Gun
  16. I Was Made For Lovin’ You
  17. Black Diamond


  1. Beth
  2. Crazy, Crazy Nights
  3. Rock and Roll All Nite