KISS’ ‘End of the Road’ tour of Australia has been planned and re-scheduled for years due to the Pandemic. Well after what felt like an eternity of delays, KISS finally arrived giving Adelaide the opportunity to witness and farewell one of the greatest rock and roll bands of our time in a sold-out Entertainment Centre.
Adelaide’s own, The Superjesus, opened the show. Leader singer, Sarah McLeod, commented that they were excited when scheduled the show, then excited when they rescheduled the show, but after three years of waiting it was time to “tear the roof off this joint”. They played hits from their 1998 ‘Sumo’ release and 2000 ‘Jet Age’ albums, including Down Again, Saturation, Ashes and Secret Agent Man. McLeod also mentioned they had played the Ent Centre once before in 1996 with Bush. With KISS now on their highlight reel they concluded their set with their smash Gravity.
Anticipation built for Kiss with screaming and chanting from their loyal and die-hard generation-spanding followers. This included members of the KISS Army, touring with their heroes for the last time in Australia. Alas, it was time for KISS to strut their magic for one last time in the city of Churches.
A giant curtain with the signature ‘KISS’ logo was raised and fans went wild with deafening screams filling the arena. As the lights slowly got lower, the screams and chanting intensified Led Zeppelin’s Rock N Roll warmed the crowd up. The whole arena joined in with the infamous ‘you wanted the best, you got the best…’ monologue as the curtain dropped. As did the jaws of the audience as Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer descended from the roof on separate platforms amongst smoke, fire, pyrotechnics and lasers.
The band launched into the 1976 Destroyer anthem, Detroit Rock City, possibly one of the greatest opening songs of any rock show past, present and future. The band sounded massive and on song and they moved straight into some of their classics Shout It Out Loud, War Machine and Heaven’s on Fire.
A smart show addition was the inclusion of old gig and tour footage that was played in harmony with the live show screens. There was a strong emphasis on Gene and Paul’s longevity and the journey that has built the KISS platform and brand.
With the band in full swing and wanting to party, the classic songs continued and were weaved with individual solos that provided a snapshot of the sheer musician and showmanship of each band member. The theatrics of Gene’s bass solo was an absolute highlight with a green light engulfing his flickering head, eyes darting across the room. Gene began his iconic blood splitting, with continued screaming, as the blood ran down the front of his costume. Standout moments included, Tommy’s guitar solo in Cold Gin with pyrotechnics shooting out of his guitar and Gene scaling the lighting rig to sing God of Thunder, breathing fire at the song’s conclusion. Another highlight was Paul’s harness transfer across the arena to a small second stage and then leaning into the 1977’s anthem, Love Gun.
The 1979 Dynasty hit I Was Made for Lovin’ You was a crowd favourite with audience singing loud and clearly. Paul flew back to the main stage to join the band, finishing the main set with an onslaught of flames, fireworks and explosions.
The encore commenced with drummer Eric Singer emerging from the dark on a white piano singing the 1976 ballad, Beth unaccompanied. It was a beautiful moment that entire audience joined in with. Shandi from Unmasked followed which Paul claimed “was a big hit here.” The night concluded with their all-time anthem all the way from 1975, Rock and Roll All Nite.
During the final two songs hundreds of balloons dropped from the roof along accompanied by an arena-wide shower of confetti. In the final act Stanley swung his guitar multiple times, in sync with bursts of flames shooting around the stage. This was while Gene, Tommy and Eric ascended to the ceiling as the final round of fireworks brought the night to a close. Paul’s final words were, ‘Adelaide, we love you, good night’. Then darkness, as the band members left the stage for the final time.
KISS delivered one of the great rock spectacles for their allegiance of adoring fans completing Adelaide’s leg of their End of the Road tour. If that was it, it was one hell of a goodbye. They will be missed and never forgotten.
Reviewed by David Kerr