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Wandering the World

Stories and tips from around the world.


End of the Road Tour

I first heard of KISS when watching Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey which featured their cover of Argent's God Gave Rock and Roll To You. It was a few years until I heard more of their tracks, but liked their Greatest Hits album. When their final world tour was announced I decided that if tickets were a 'reasonable' price then I'd buy a ticket to see them. Sadly this one would be solo as I didn't know anyone else who'd be interested in seeing them perform.

Parking at the NEC is straightforward as the signs show which parking is for which event. It was then a short walk past the lake to the Resorts World Arena where there was a quick security check, and once I'd got a wristband I was able to wander around until it was time to go inside. My wristband said standing, and I was pretty sure I should be standing, but when I went in I found that I had in fact got a seat. On my way there I passed quite a few food stands, and a very busy merchandise stand - but as I'd already eaten on the way to the NEC, I went to the entrance for where my seat was, and waited.

The first supporting act was The Wild Things. I felt this band was trying to be bigger than they are, and expecting the crowd to respond to them as they would a well established and wellknown band, and seemed a bit sour when they weren't getting it. What they lacked, they made up for with sheer volume, to the point that it made my ears ring. Yes, it's a rock concert, but they just didn't seem like a band you'd go to the Arena to see, and I don't think their soundcheck had quite worked out the kinks before their performance either as there were some places when there was feedback as well. What I couldn't decide was if the singers tantrum at the end where she smashed the guitar into a speaker and walked off stage to not return was staged or not. As it was towards the end of a song, and they'd been playing for almost thirty minutes, it seemed possible. Although, I'm not too sure. It felt real.

After about twenty minutes of preparing the stage and a little more waiting, the lights went out and John William's "Imperial March" started playing as Skindred took to the stage. It didn't feel forced, it felt more like they were just trying to have a bit of fun and don't take themselves too seriously. I think this heavy metal band from Wales had got the right idea there. I say, heavy metal, but I was definitely hearing hints of ska and reggae in there as well. The crowd responded to them incredibly well, and them having been about for 25 years now, they were pretty well known as well. They also knew the crowds weren't here for them, they were here for Kiss and 'bigged them up' as well.

At 20:40 the main event began - the screens lit up and we could see Kiss walking down the corridors towards the stage, and then the stage lit up and they were lowered down from the ceiling, playing Detroit Rock City as their opening number. The set list was:

  1. Detroit Rock City
  2. Shout It Out Loud
  3. Deuce
  4. Say Yeah
  5. Heaven's On Fire
  6. War Machine
  7. I Love It Loud
  8. Lick It Up
  9. Calling Dr. Love
  10. Cold Gin
  11. Guitar Solo
  12. 100,000 Years
  13. Drum Solo
  14. Bass Solo
  15. Psycho Circus
  16. God of Thunder
  17. Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll
  18. Love Gun
  19. I Was Made For Lovin' You
  20. Black Diamond


  1. Beth
  2. Do You Love Me
  3. Rock and Roll All Nite

Kiss performing on stage with flames behind them and the logo in lights

Kiss are the sort of band that really make an incredible show, despite their advancing age. They first rocked Birmingham in 1978, and 45 years later this would be their last time. The track I'd hoped for wasn't there, but there were plenty of classics I enjoyed. It was one spectacle after another with flames firing from a guitar I think belonging to Tommy Thayer, Gene Simmons vomitting blood and spitting fire, and Paul Stanley going out onto a second stage in the middle of the standing crowd.

Tags: music

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© David G. Paul