3’rd of June 2013
Hartwall Arena, Helsinki
REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY MARKO SYRJALA BY COURTESY OF THIS IS ROCK MAGAZINE
Legendary U.S. rockers KISS opened up their European leg of the Monster tour in Friends Arena, Solna, Sweden on 1’st of June. The show was the World Premier of bands new spectacular stage titled “Spider”. Now, two days later, the KISS circus arrived in Helsinki. The band has been a regular visitor to Finland during past few years but there’s still a lot of demand for the band since they sold over 15,000 tickets in Hartwall Arena. It’s KISSin’ time again!
The event was opened by Finnish band: Reckless Love, but due schedule problems I had to skip them over and just wait for KISS to begin. It was announced that that KISS will start at 09:00 PM and now the schedule was very accurate. The black curtain with a huge KISS logo hid the new platform until the famous, “You wanted the best, you got the best” shout begun the show impressively. The curtain fell into the floor and whole band, with the exception of drummer Eric Singer, is lowered down from the roof with giant spider. There was a huge amount of explosives and fire in the air when the band headed into opening song “Psychco Circus”. After the spectacular start the band continued with classics “Shout it out Loud” and “Let Me Go, Rock & Roll” during which the band’s playing was more or less lost. It was quite a cacophony for a while but the initial stiffness was quickly forgotten admiring the massive spider stage structure and the entire wall-sized video screens. KISS is still a show band in the fullest sense.
Paul Stanley once again proved his showman skills as the man got the Hartwall Arena’s middle-aging audience to shout along quite loudly whenever he wanted so. It was great to notice that the KISS-graduate institution is thus secured in the future since the audience was not consisting only of men in their forties but there was also a significant population of young fans in there. KISS is an institution to the extent that it does not afford any compromise of their classic stunts. Gene Simmons did his famous fire breathing before epic “War Machine”. The blood spitting and flying on the top of stage was seen prior “God of Thunder”. During the “Love Gun” it was Paul Stanley’s turn to fly to the other side of the field podium. Tommy Thayer shot rockets from his guitar after “Outta This World” and Eric Singer shot down a pair of “spider’s feet” from the roof with his cartoon-like bazooka.
Tonight’s set list was following the same pattern as on the previous legs of the tour. It consisted of all the usual standards mixed with some newer material. There were two tracks included from MONSTER and “Say Yeah” from previous album SONIC BOOM. Perhaps the biggest, and the only, surprise was when the band performed their 80’s hit “Heaven’s on Fire”. The song has been off from the set for years and it was definitely a great addition. However, it seemed that KISS suffered the same as any older rock band. In public opinion the early albums are the most legendary and the reactions were always considerably lower when something newer material was played. But in general, the new songs worked out well and the band itself was very excited to play them. The whole band gave their best on stage but there is no doubt that Simmons was the star of the event. It must be admitted that although Stanley has received a lot criticism about his voice he was now doing much better compared to a few previous tours. However, the band knows his limitations, and it was easy to notice that the key has now dropped in order to facilitate man’s work.
Overall, the show was a pure spectacle and it was definitely a worth of money. There were some minor technical problems there but still, in visual wise, this was perhaps the greatest show what KISS has ever created. The spider stage looks amazing and it was worth of all the hype what has been said about it. There was enough pyro and bombs used to blow a small town away from the map. The set list was good, perhaps a bit too safe, but all in all it was really great to witness that after all these years the band is still going strong.
SET LIST: Psycho Circus / Shout It Out Loud / Let Me Go, Rock ‘N’ Roll / I Love It Loud / Hell or Hallelujah / War Machine / Heaven’s on Fire / Deuce / Say Yeah / Shock Me (only the first verse) / Outta This World / God of Thunder / Lick It Up / Love Gun / Rock and Roll All Nite. Encore: Detroit Rock City / I Was Made For Lovin ‘You / Black Diamond. Outro: God Gave Rock ‘n’ Roll to You II