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The End of the Road for rock legends
After 46 years, it's the end of the road for Kiss – but they refuse to go quietly. The UK leg of their End of the Road World Tour began at Arena Birmingham and featured the loudest explosions, the hottest fireballs and the brightest pyrotechnics you're ever likely to experience.
Kiss: Tommy Thayer, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Eric Singer (pic Jen Rosenstein)
It was truly over the top, but we expect nothing less of Kiss. Formed in 1973, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons remain from the original line-up – and aged 67 and 69 respectively, they are ageing disgracefully! Simmons leers during an extended Lick It Up, while Stanley, having swung over the audience on a zip wire to a platform in the centre of the arena, made the most of the double entendre-filled Love Gun. It was noticeable, however, that the singer/guitarist was not as agile as his last visit to Birmingham in 2017. There were no high kicks or sinking to his knees and quickly springing to his feet again this time around.
Nods to the past included vintage band footage on the big screen and old favourites Let Me Go, Rock 'N' Roll (from 1974 second album Hotter Than Hell) and Cold Gin ("old skool Kiss", Stanley announced), Deuce, 100,000 Years and Black Diamond from their debut album.
Guitarist Tommy Thayer came into his own with impressive solos during Deuce and War Machine. He used his guitar as a weapon in Cold Gin, taking potshots at targets above the stage – obviously, there were loads of sparks and explosions!
Meanwhile, drummer Eric Singer, keeping his head down at the back of the stage as fireballs and columns of flame flew all around him, contributed a long solo in 100,000 Years while his drum kit rose on a hydraulic platform. In the encore, he found himself centre stage, playing a piano and singing the ballad Beth.
At the end of the day, though, this was all about spectacle. Simmons (pictured above) had his own hydraulic platform for God of Thunder, almost reaching the arena's vast ceiling. This was after showing his fire breathing skills, using a flaming sword, during War Machine. Then there was the frenzied finale of Crazy Crazy Nights, with giant Kiss balloons released above the crowd, and Rock and Roll All Nite triggering a confetti blizzard of such magnitude it must have had the cleaners claiming for overtime. There was one final treat. Simmons and Thayer took a trip over the audience, perched at the end of cranes. If this really is the final tour, Kiss are bowing out in style.
Detroit Rock City Shout It Out Loud Deuce Say Yeah I Love It Loud Heaven's on Fire War Machine
Lick It Up
Calling Dr Love
God of Thunder
Let Me Go, Rock 'N' Roll
I Was Made for Lovin' You
Crazy Crazy Nights
Rock and Roll All Nite
Kiss' remaining 2019 UK tour dates:
July 11: O2 Arena, London;
July 12: Manchester Arena;
July 14: Newcastle Arena;
July 16: SSE Hydro, Glasgow.