On the train down to London on my way to Upton Park for West Ham/Man City on talkSPORT later. But KISS have dominated this week rather than football for a change. After all, the boys are over here on their first FULL UK tour since 1996. I saw their last indoor show in this country, which was in March 1999 at Wembley Arena, and it was a poor show with poor performances from at least 2 original band members (who didn’t last much longer in the make-up reunited version of the band) and I pronounced to my mates as we left the Arena that we’d never see KISS tour here again.
So, slices of humble pie duly consumed, I dragged my wife kicking and screaming to the newly-refurbished LG Arena (one the NEC Arena) on Wednesday to see if the 2010 KISS could erase memories of 11 years before. I say ‘kicking and screaming’ about my wife, but that’s stretching credulity just a little. She came along willingly enough, just to ‘see what you make such a fuss about’ if she’ll permit me to paraphrase.
We were firstly given a full guided tour of the new venue by an old college friend Helen, who has worked in events promotion there for 15 years and had contacted me about the show just after the dates were announced. They’ve spent £29 million on the place and the transformation is little short of jaw-dropping. It took me 15 minutes to get my bearings as to where the stage was in relation to the concourses around it. A massive, massive improvement on the claustrophobic feel you used to get walking around inside the old NEC Arena to try and reach the bar!
And that was one thing – there are loads of bars now. And merchandise kiosks and food stands and open spaces to relax before going in to take your seats. Even a smoking area’s been purpose-built in an area outside so everyone is truly catered for. Impressive…most impressive as Darth Vader would say.
Likewise KISS were just mightily impressive. For just 40 quid you get a full bombastic show complete with some of the best party rock and roll tunes ever written, played and sung with total conviction by a band who are hell-bent on entertaining their audience. A smart and canny set list too, including their 2 biggest UK hits Crazy Crazy Nights and God Gave Rock and Roll To You. We’ve played those tunes in DRESSED TO KILL for years to great responses, but not KISS…until now. They must’ve been watching us on youtube ;o)
Actually that’s not as far-fetched and conceited as it might sound. During ‘God Gave…’ at one point the band came to a pause before starting the last chorus using EXACTLY the same musical arrangement that we in DTK had come up with ourselves 3 years ago – they’ve never done it before, so why now? Have they indeed been studying our performances on youtube? Hope so – it’d be quite the feather in our cap!