Arts: Pop: Time to kiss and make-up again
KISS WEMBLEY ARENA LONDON
Tuesday 30 March 1999
In 1977, the heavily painted Kiss were considered the most popular rock group in America. They suffered a dip during the Eighties after sacking two members and adopting a disturbingly "natural" look. But now the classic Kiss line-up has returned, complete with original guitarist, Ace Frehley, and drummer Peter Criss, together with a whole department store's worth of greasepaint.
In accordance with the Seventies nostalgia, the band have also reverted to the days of the out-and-out stadium show. Last Thursday, we witnessed levitating stages, 3D video screens, rocket-launching guitars and a eyebrow- singeing pyrotechnic show, not to mention the obligatory smoke machines, fireworks and rallying cries of "You wanna rock?". With titles like "Love Gun" and "Calling Dr Love", Kiss's music may be ludicrously overblown schlock-rock, but this band know how to give fans their money's worth.
For all their macho posturing, Kiss also unveiled a curiously homo-erotic disposition. Not only do these behemoths of soft rock provide legions of grown men with the opportunity to play dress-up, but singer Paul Stanley came across like a seasoned drag queen, mincing about the stage with his buttocks clenched, his lips pursed and tossing his hair from side to side. As he ripped off his shirt, hundreds in the audience gleefully ripped off theirs, and when he threatened to climb into the crowd, you feared for his safety in the sea of excitable, semi-naked men. Instead, he took a trapeze to a platform in the middle of the crowd where fans could only stroke his boots.
There was no doubt about Gene Simmons' manhood. He arrived on stage like an aged warlock in thick armour plating, thigh-high boots and glistening war-paint. His eyes gleamed and notoriously long tongue flicked as he lumbered about like a randy Stegosaurus. His big moment came when he was hoisted into the air spewing bucketfuls of blood -who could resist?
The years have not been so kind to Frehley, whose heavy metal grimaces seemedprompted by his gasping for breath. After his second solo, his inch-thick slap took on the appearance of a death mask.
But since Kiss have remained unsurpassed in the realms of stadium rock, it makes no odds that they sometimes look knackered. It is their unwavering belief in their rock'n'roll supremacy that has ensured success, and you imagine that even from the grave they will find ways to rock.
Robin Thicke admits he didn't write 'Blurred Lines'music
Review: Cilla, ITV TV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Scottish referendum: So how about the English now being given a chance to split from England?
- 2 Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'naked pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
- 4 Matthew Miller: American sentenced to hard labour in North Korea 'wanted to be Snowden II'
- 5 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea's 'Booty' music video is just a load of butts
Friends 20th anniversary: Alison Jackson photographs reunited cast
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written
Friends 20th anniversary: The highs and lows of the cast's careers since TV series ended in 2004
Friends 20th anniversary: Six things we wouldn't have without influential comedy series
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'