This was Archie’s first Kiss gig; he’s eleven. It was my twenty-fifth Kiss gig, unless I’ve forgotten a couple. I’m a bit older than him.
Words: Chris Dale and Archie Dale, Pictures: Nigel Adie and David Cotterill
On the way to the O2, Archie asked me what my favourite Kiss gig was out of all those that I’ve seen? It’s difficult to choose. I saw them with Vinnie Vincent when I was a kid. That was mind blowing. Seeing them close up at the old Marquee club was pretty amazing too.
The first time I saw them back in make-up with Ace and Peter was also very emotional for me, then I flew to New York City for the ‘Psycho Circus’ tour at Madison Square Gardens.
It’s difficult to pick a favourite over the years and more particularly it’s difficult to separate emotion from experience.
Was last night at the O2 my favourite ever KISS gig? Probably not the best ever, although their pyro show does honestly get bigger over the years (for those too young to know, the ‘Lick It Up’ tour had nothing on what we see today in terms of pyro.
Are Kiss today at their best? That’s very much a subjective question. I see a lot of chat online about Paul’s voice, Gene’s wig, Tommy’s make-up etc. But should we be looking at this from an adult point of view? Just look at the gig; it’s a kid’s band isn’t it?
Any adults (like myself) that enjoyed the show are just big kids – and there were about 18,000 of us big kids in there. I’m coming to realise that to analyse Kiss live is to miss the point. It’s about losing yourself in the moment. It’s about childlike wonder and awe.
And here we have the issue of separating emotion from experience. Children don’t make that distinction which is why Archie’s better qualified than me to review the show.
Archie’s seen quite a few bands in concert and a lot of Kiss on DVD and YouTube. He’s heard all the Kiss albums but this was his first time seeing them live in the flesh. These are his thoughts.
“My first Kiss concert was a truly amazing experience. I was expecting some pyrotechnics, but not loads on every song. It was incredible how you could really feel the flames in the audience. I didn’t know the band members were going to fly over our heads either. What a show!
“I wasn’t expecting them to play ‘Flaming Youth’ from Destroyer but I was also quite surprised there weren’t any songs from ‘Monster’, their most recent release. They played loads of my favourites such as ‘Crazy, Crazy Nights’ and ‘God Of Thunder’ but my favourite song on the setlist was ‘I Was Made For Loving You’ which was in the encores.
“I loved Paul Stanley’s Union flag Ibanez Iceman guitar. Considering his age I thought Paul Stanley was very active, getting down on his knees and jumping in the air.”
“Gene did a great job with the flame spitting, I was worried in case his hair caught fire. It was awesome when Gene flew into the air, dribbling blood. I’d seen it in videos before but I never realised how amazing it was in real life.”
There you go, no mention of Paul’s voice, Tommy’s make up, Gene’s wig. I asked Archie. “If you had to give the gig pints out of ten…” and he interrupted me with no hesitation, “Ten!”
Try watching the gig through the eyes of a child and see if you don’t smile too: