3’rd of June 2013
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 in recent years, but there is still a lot of demand for the band. KISS now sold over 15,000 tickets at the Hartwall Arena, and the event was sold out. It’s KISSin’s time again!
The Finnish band opened the event: Reckless Love, but due to schedule problems, I had to skip them over and wait for the KISS show to begin. It was announced that KISS would start at 09:00 PM, and now the schedule was very accurate. The black curtain with a colossal 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 the whole band, except for drummer Eric Singer, is lowered down from the roof with a giant spider. There were many explosives and fire in the air when the band headed into the opening song “Psychco Circus.” After the spectacular start, the band continued with classics “Shout it out Loud” and “Let Me Go, Rock & Roll.” It was noteworthy that during the first couple of songs, playing the band sounded pretty cacophonous. However, the technical issues and low stiffness were soon forgotten as the audience focused on admiring the new large Spider stage, stunning full-wall video screens, and the band’s massive pyrotechnics. KISS is still a show band in the full sense of the word.
Paul Stanley once again proved his showman skills as the man got the Hartwall Arena’s middle-aging audience to shout along loud whenever he wanted so. There were also many young fans and female fans in the audience, so it was great to notice that the KISS-graduate institution is also secured in the future since the audience was not consisting only of men in their forties. KISS is an institution to the extent that it does not afford any compromise of its classic stunts. Gene Simmons did his famous fire breathing before the epic “War Machine.” The blood spitting and flying on the top of the stage was seen before “God of Thunder.” During the “Love Gun,” Paul Stanley’s it was 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 setlist was following the same pattern as it was on the previous leg of the tour. It consisted of the usual KISS standards spiced with three newer tracks; “Hell Of Hallelujah,” “Outta This World,” and“Say Yeah.” 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 are always considerably lower when something newer material is 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 of criticism about his voice, he was now doing much better compared to few previous tours. However, the band knows his limitations, and it was easy to notice that the guitar tuning has been dropped down a lot to make his work easier.
Overall, the show was a pure spectacle. There was some minor technical problems, but visually this was perhaps the most incredible show what KISS has ever created. The spider stage looks terrific, and it was worth of all the hype that has been said about it. There was enough pyro and bombs used to blow a small city away from the map. The setlist was good, perhaps a bit too safe, but all in all, it was great to witness that after all these years, the band is still going strong.
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
Detroit Rock City / I Was Made For Lovin ‘You / Black Diamond. Outro: God Gave Rock ‘n’ Roll to You II
MORE PICTURES FROM HARTWALL ARENA SHOW BY MARKO SYRJALA