@Newcastle Utilita Arena, July 14 2019
You wanted the best, you got the best. But enough about the cricket. After one of the greatest sporting contests in history it was down to Kiss to provide the after-show party.
And who better to carry the feelgood factor long into the Newcastle night?
Where England secured their first World Cup win on the back of a greater number of fours and sixes, this was a scintillating rock and roll show delivered without boundaries.
Forget the Super Over. This was more super nova as the most flamboyant band on the planet soundtracked a spectacular day of sport in typically overblown style.
If Lord’s thought it had the monopoly over big hits then Kiss begged to differ – rifling through a bulging back catalogue like a jet-fuelled Jofra Archer.
Hell, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons even managed to eclipse Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler as the most explosive partnership of the day as they defied a combined age of 136 to roll back the years for one last time.
This could well be the end of the road for the pantomime dames of polished pop rock but ask us again in 2023 when the New Yorkers celebrate their 50thanniversary. Health permitting, it’s impossible to imagine Simmons, in particular, failing to cash in on one final hurrah. And if it’s anything like this then count us in.
Kiss may have become a frequently pilloried parody of themselves but very few bands do live music on such a grandiose scale. Pretentious, pompous and perfectly in tune with their blindly loyal fan base, this is a band that really knows how to put on a show.
But who constitutes that fan base in 2019?
A seemingly astute advertising tie-up with Lumen – the dating app for over 50s – might hint at the dominant demographic bankrolling the band’s ever-expanding retirement fund but one cursory sweep of the capacity crowd revealed dressed-up under 10s mingling with Stanley’s peers. No wonder the business of Kiss is still booming.
Commercialism might have trumped creativity some years ago but, in all fairness to Kiss’s multi-millionaire founding members, a fair share of their vast fortune must have been pumped back into one of the most jaw-dropping rock events of the modern era.
It’s not cheap to scare the shit out of your fans every few minutes with floor shaking sonic booms. The lights, the cameras, the action – it must have cost Kiss a pretty penny to pull it all off. And the confetti bill alone would be enough to eclipse the GDP of most emerging nations. This was not a night when you could accuse the chief protagonists of cutting corners.
It was a night when those with a short attention span were treated like kings. And those who hoped to fill their glasses or dash for the toilet were given very little opportunity to prise themselves away from the unrelenting assault on the senses.
To their credit Kiss have never looked like a band going through the motions: Stanley and Simmons still perform with the zeal of two young bucks chasing the big bucks back in the mid 70s and Lick It Up, Cold Gin and Love Gun never sounded so good. Even Crazy, Crazy Nights, so often played through gritted teeth and only restored to the UK setlist under duress, had the feel of a fun anthem spanning the generations.
If this really was the end of the road then what a journey.
Exclusive images by John Burrows