When it comes to arena rock shows, it goes without saying that Kiss wrote the book. And the band’s current End of the Road tour is without a shadow of a doubt one of their most ambitious arena productions to date.

Having been 9 years since the band’s last appearance in the North East, this show brings together generations of Kiss fans new and old for one last parting concert. And whilst Kiss are unquestionably one of the world’s most successful rock bands, Paul Stanley hasn’t forgotten those intimate shows at Newcastle City Hall many years ago.

On this their farewell UK run, the hottest band in the land certainly live up to the reputation, with a huge fiery pyro fuelled show that would even give Rammstein a run for their money. Those in the first half of the Utilita Arena certainly feel the heat with flames frequently emanating from behind Eric Singer’s drum riser to great effect.

These rock titans intend to go out with a bang, and with the multitude of firecrackers, rockets and Catherine wheels deployed during the course of the evening, this writer would say mission accomplished in that respect.

Of course, the show was not short of its musical fireworks, during an explosive two-hour set that traversed the band’s forty-plus year career. From the moment the quartet descends from hydraulics suspended above the stage during set opener Detroit Rock City the Tyneside faithful are transfixed.

Highlights include Gene Simmons fire breathing, blood spitting, and tongue lashing antics during War Machine or the demonic God of Thunder. Tommy Thayer’s explosive guitar solo during Cold Gin. Whilst Paul Stanley’s high flying renditions of Love Gun and the disco-tinged I Was Made For Loving You from the centre of the room brought the fans that bit closer to the action.

The masked quartet used every inch of the arena as their playground making this huge cavernous space feel somewhat up close and personal. The group’s electrifying production, along with their otherworldly stage personas and theatrical showmanship puts Kiss in a league of their own.

A sea of cell phone lights illuminates the arena as drummer Eric Singer positions himself behind a grand piano centre stage during a beautiful encore airing of Beth. And of course, the show itself was just another one of those memorable Crazy Crazy Nights with Kiss.

The anthemic ‘Rock and Roll All Nite’ is a fitting finale and a parting Kiss goodbye to the band’s Tyneside fan base.

Whilst this current run may mark the End of the Road for Kiss, their musical legacy will live on forever. Tonight Newcastle wanted the best, and they got it.

WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY – ADAM KENNEDY

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