Gig review: KISS – Hydro, Glasgow, 16 July 2019

The run up to this gig had me reminiscing, looking back to my first Kiss live encounter in 1983. As a fresh faced 15 year old I went along full of anticipation of a spectacular show and I wasn’t disappointed. Ok, the make-up had been officially removed just a few weeks before but it didn’t detract from the show… they had a tank on stage, how could they fail to impress?

In the intervening 36 years I have seen the band many times and in many guises. With make-up, without make-up, with the original line up and with a range of other drummers and guitarists. No matter what the circumstances though they never failed to entertain and a Kiss gig was an event not to be missed.

But time marches on and all good things must come to an end and for Europe it ended tonight at the Hydro. This however was never going to be some maudlin affair although most in attendance were in black to be fair. No, this was to be one last hurrah with Gene and Paul as the hosts with the most and an open invitation to ‘rock n roll all nite and party every day’!

The crowd had turned out in large numbers and with the Hydro packed and the temperature in the hall at boiling point the lights dimmed and ‘the hottest band in the world’ exploded onto the stage. Kicking off with ‘Detroit Rock City’ the band descended to the stage on platforms from the lighting rig in a mist of dry ice and a barrage of pyrotechnics.

One worry I did have about tonight was Paul’s vocals as on the last tour he had struggled at times but tonight he was much improved and looked determined to go out on a high. ‘Shout It Out Loud’  followed with much crowd participation before Gene took the mic for a blast though ‘Deuce’

The set list tonight was drawn from the band’s long career and things were brought more up to date with ‘Say Yeah’ from the last studio album ’Sonic Boom’. This track gave Paul the chance to lead the Glasgow crowd in a bit of group singing to which they willingly responded. Fan favourite ‘I Love It Loud’ put the multiple video screens on and around the stage to good use and had many fists pumping around the hall.

‘Heaven’s On Fire’ was followed by a bombastic rendition of ‘War Machine’ complete with Gene fire breathing at the end, yeah we had seen it all before but fire breathing demons never get boring do they?  ‘Lick It Up’ then transported me back to that first gig at the Edinburgh Playhouse in ’83 when I still had hair and a lot of tonight’s crowd hadn’t been born!

‘Calling Doctor Love’ and ‘100,000 Years’ took us back to the early Kiss days with Eric Singer battering out a drum solo from his hydraulic drum riser mid-song. It was then Tommy Thayer’s turn in the spotlight during ‘Cold Gin’. His rocket firing antics during his guitar solo went down a storm.

The stage was then flooded with dry ice and bathed in an eerie green light as Gene took centre stage for his blood spitting solo. With tongue and bass thrashing simultaneously Gene soared to the lighting rig for ‘God Of Thunder’. The picture of Gene covered in blood and sweat is an iconic image and one which is going to live long in the memory.

‘Psycho Circus’ was a welcome addition to the set and again the video screens were put to good use during this track as were the onstage flame pots. ‘Let Me Go, Rock N Roll’ let the music take centre stage with excellent playing from Tommy and Gene, an often underrated bass player.

Paul then took to his zip wire to travel over the crowd to a small stage at the rear of the hall to perform ‘Love Gun’. He danced, posed and hammed it up before his adoring crowd much to everyone’s amusement, including his. It is going to be hard to switch off from this kind of reaction when the tour comes to its close, he can always hire a crowd for a few hours if he feels the need!

He made his return journey back to the main stage during ‘I Was Made For Loving You’ before stepping up centre stage for the opening bars of ‘Black Diamond’ which brought the main set to a close.

We weren’t finished yet though and as the lights came up again Eric Singer rose up from below the stage playing ‘Beth’ on a silver baby grand piano which had the crowd singing along and mobile phone lights held high.

‘Crazy Crazy Nights’ had the Hydro bouncing before ‘Rock N Roll All Nite’ blew the place apart with confetti cannons, flames and fireworks bringing the show and another chapter of Kisstory to a climactic end. The large screen glowed with the legend ‘Kiss Loves You Glasgow’ and I am sure that sentiment was echoed right back.

Kiss tonight showed why they have had such a successful career. They put on a show that few can touch and whilst it may be cheesier that a bag of Wotsits in places it was never less than pure entertainment. Sadly the kings of Rock n Roll have left the building…

Review by Dave Wilson
Photos by Andy Nathan

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