I was around 13 when I discovered KISS, and started collecting their back catalog. I can still remember in 1983 hearing that they would take their make up off for the latest LP and ‘Lick It Up‘ and traveling up to Glasgow on the day it was released to see what they looked like (not a hansom bunch it has to be said). Shortly after that saw them in concert for the first time in the fantastic Glasgow Apollo, (27/10/1983 supported by Heavy Pettin). That was great and a year later they appeared again in the Apollo – 05/11/2984, this time supported by the unknown Bon Jovi who had just released their first LP and having seen them several times since, I still think that support set was the best I have ever seen them.
Back to KISS. I did see them once more in 1992 at the SECC but these weren’t really KISS’s best days, and I did have my doubts about seeing them again as the recent years of KISStory have had mixed fortunes. I would say that they went through a period where they did become their own ‘tirbute band’ putting on the make up again, reforming with the original line up (Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons have been constant since 1973 when they started). But their latest album (19th Studio album, and first new recording for 11 years!) Sonic Boom rocks and sound very much like their early 70s hey-day.
I can say without a doubt this was the best KISS concert of the four times I’ve seen them across three decades. Within seconds of the opening I was completely lost to the experience, I was back in the loft with vinyl, headphones and air-guitar. This was my first proper KISS concert, with KISS in full costume, makeup, pillars of flame, rocket firing guitars, wire stunts bringing Paul (now 57) flying over the audience to the FOH position or Gene (still going strong at 60 and apparently still scared of heights) flying up into the lighting rig after his demon-bass-solo-blood-spitting thing. Add to this the latest video and lighting technology, new songs and enthusiasm of a sellout Scottish crowd which surprisingly included a lot of people who couldn’t have been born in 1983 when KISS played the Apollo!
Basically this was full on KISS THEATER with all the old-school tricks mixed with the latest tech. But don’t take my word for it … here’s the video I made :-)