Words and photos Antony Roberts
(apologise for the photos, taken on point and shoot due to lack of photo pass).
Despite huge queues it was surprisingly quick to get into the sold out Forum venue, and entering the main downstairs I was greeted to a total sweat box. The venue was rammed more than any gig I've attended having gone to many sold out shows there before, i guess some shows are more "sold out" than others.
The stage was blocked off by a giant curtain emblazoned with the Kiss logo to keep the stage set up hidden from view until the time was ready. Prior to the 9PM start the crowd were already reaching fever pitch. Even a hit on the snare from a drum tech was responded with huge cheers from the audience. Anticipation levels were high and I've never seen such a joyous crowd, smiles on everyone's faces, with murmured conversations in and around the venue of people still in shock they had managed to secure tickets to this momentous occasion.
Just shortly after 9PM the songs playing over the p.a. were turned down and met by a huge roar from the crowd as the curtain dropped. Holy shit was the reaction from most of the crowd, they were on and straight into Detroit Rock City. Within seconds there were fireworks exploding, and fireballs shooting up, despite the size of the venue, they were giving the fans the full live show. Eric Singer played above the largest drum riser I've ever witnessed towering over the centre stage area, and risers either side of the stage meant all 3 guitarists had plenty of opportunity to stand tall.
Second song was the new single Hell or Hallelujah, first impressions it's not classic Kiss, but maybe it's a grower. Paul Stanley briefly afterwards dedicated the song to "the heroes that risk their lives to keep our freedom". Let us not forget that tonight's show was a charity gig for Help for Heroes, a charity dedicated to supporting those that have been wounded in Britain's conflicts.
As the night continued Stanley asked the audience "how we doing so far?' and the crowd whooped and cheered their appreciation. "The music good, the singing good?" and again the crowd were deafening, sounded more like an arena crowd, despite the venue having a capacity of 2300. Classic song followed classic song and after "Shock Me" Eric produced a bazooka from his drumkit and started shooting fireworks into the lighting, and fake lights fell down from the rigging to the stage. After a cracking "Love Gun", and "Black Diamond" the band had a brief break off stage as the sold out crowd chanted "We want Kiss" repeated at the top of their voices until the band returned for an encore.
Finishing up with "Crazy Crazy Nights" and "Lick It Up" we were treated to an onslaught of fireworks, fireballs and more ticker tape than a large festival procession. By the time the final song "Rock and Roll All Nite" started the floor was shin deep in tape, and it looked like an indoor snowstorm had hit the venue.
The only blight to the entire night was it was over too quickly, 90 minutes passed in a flash and I only wish they had played for 2 hours (or more). Everyone left the venue sweaty and ecstatic at an amazing show, everyone it seems bar one miserable Evening Standard reporter!
Detroit Rock City
Hell Or Hallelujah
Shout It Out Loud
I Love It Loud
Calling Dr. Love
Crazy, Crazy Nights
Lick It Up
Rock and Roll All Nite
Help for Heroes website
Kiss online website