KISS are one of the most legendary rock bands of all time. Their distinguishable makeup and onstage antics have given them a notoriety to last the ages, not to mention they are responsible for writing some of the most well-known anthems in the history of Rock N Roll. Tonight, at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney, we are being treated to something special as founding member Gene Simmons also known by his other persona the Demon is touring our great land and he is not alone as along for the wild ride is KISS band mate The Spaceman, Mr Ace Frehley. The pair of legendary musicians have not played together in Australia since 2001 and given the history of the pair, this will be a moment destined to make rock folklore.
The Enmore is just filled up with real die-hard KISS fans all hoping to hear something special. To start things off tonight we get the instrumental track Fractured Mirror welcoming the Spaceman and band to the stage. The band is the Gene Simmons backing band and they will be pulling off a double set tonight playing with both Ace and Gene. The Spaceman wastes no time ripping straight into Parasite and rocking right along into Hard Times. Ace seems all business up there on the stage and lets his distinctive guitar sound do all the talking. Whilst the setlist was mostly comprised of KISS songs he did give us Rock Soldiers from ‘Frehleys Comet‘ and I really liked his cover of New York Groove by Hello and on Shock Me he literally had his guitar smoking. But it was on Detroit Rock City that saw everybody get up and move their feet and become the most vocal they had been thus far. The Space Ace had played like he was from out of this world tonight and along with the backing band he really got us warmed up, finishing off the set with Cold Gin.
After Ace finishes his set there is a massive surge to the bar then everyone is back in place eagerly awaiting the Demons arrival and once he does the Sydney crowd erupts and shouts! They shout it out loud as the Rock N Roll Hall of Famer takes to the stage with his band made up of three guitarists and a drummer, kicking things off with KISS classics Shout It Out Loud and then I. Absent is the makeup and tongue waving but most certainly present is the great musicianship and full stage Charisma as Gene playfully banters with the crowd and makes us laugh. The set is just chock full of KISS anthems one such classic I Was Made for Loving You with Virginia Lillye front women of hard rock Sydney band Lillye on vocal duties. Let me tell you this woman rocked it up there and was the embodiment of every great front woman Rock N Roll has ever produced.
In commemoration of this tour Gene Simmons released ‘The Vault’, a deeply personal soundtrack to his life, condensed into a 50-year time capsule, those die-hard fans able to afford the price are not only treated to 150 recordings along with personalized memorabilia but also punters are given the once in a lifetime opportunity to sing on stage with The Demon. This happened in two parts first were the ladies singing back-up vocals on Do You Love Me, only fitting given the man’s well-known love of the opposite sex. Later in the set, it would be the men’s turn to crank out I Love It Loud. Both times you could see a real excitement on the fans faces but most importantly you saw how generational the music of KISS is as fans young and old alike were up there rocking the mic.
The show was winding to a close and Gene addressed the crowd saying we all like dessert and so here is what you all been waiting for and out comes Ace. Before they get rocking, Gene tells the tale of how he remembers first meeting Ace and what a brilliant guitarist he thought he was and in honour of that first meeting over 45 years ago they played Deuce, it was one of those special live music moments that I feel so lucky to be there for. Ending what had been a truly great performance from both legendary performers would be no easy feat but they pulled it off flawlessly as they bought out all VIP pass fans and rocked us in true KISS style with Rock N Roll all Night.
Seeing these two Rock N Roll Hall of Fame inductees was truly something special that you don’t get to see every day, not even over the course of 45 years has this happened. Whilst it’s not the same as seeing KISS, it is still a freaking awesome night of rock n roll live music. No fan left the Enmore tonight disappointed that’s for sure, all you could see was excited faces.
Review – Chad
Photo Gallery – Christian Ross