Latest Review – KISS [AO Arena, Manchester]

KISS – END OF THE ROAD WORLD TOUR

AO Arena, Manchester  

Support Acts: Wild Things, Skindred

Back in September 2018, legendary rockers KISS announced that they would be embarking on their final ever tour, celebrating a whirlwind 45 years of recording and epic live performances.

Nearly two decades on from the band’s original Farewell Tour – way back in March 2000! – KISS kicked off the End of the Road World Tour in Canada in January 2019, though restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic meant that they were forced to cancel and postpone more than 100 scheduled dates.

Currently on its penultimate twelfth leg – now making it a whirlwind 50 years of recording and epic live performances – the End of the Road World Tour pitched up at Manchester’s AO Arena last night in what was to be the band’s final ever live show in the great music city… and what a show it was.

The current KISS line-up includes founding members Paul Stanley (lead vocals and rhythm guitar) and Gene Simmons (bass and vocals) – the band’s only consistent members since forming in 1973 – along with Eric Singer (drums, vocals and piano), who has been with the band on and off since 1991 following the death of former drummer Eric Carr, and Tommy Thayer (lead guitar and vocals), who joined as a permanent member in 2002.

True to the name, the End of the Road tour feels like a real farewell celebration of all things KISS, both for the die-hard KISS Army – many dutifully kitted out in full regalia and face paint – and the band themselves, as the New York City shock rock icons slowly bring the curtain down on a truly epic career.

It is a juggernaut production filled with the stunning theatricality, high-energy and incredible showmanship fans have come to expect over the decades; dazzling pyrotechnics, fire-breathing, huge flame projections, exceptional laser lighting, blinding strobes, blood-spitting, etc, accompanying 20 of the band’s biggest and loudest hits, mainly taken from the classic mid-70s and early 80s pre-unmasking era.

The omission of Crazy Crazy Nights from the set list – arguably their best known hit – does feel like a strange one, especially for what is ultimately a farewell Greatest Hits style tour, but that said, it’s two hours of hard rock, expert musicianship and classic hits, opening with Detroit Rock City and rounding-out in fine style with the great Rock and Roll All Nite, followed by more fireworks and pyros, of course.

Certain parts of the show and Stanley’s audience interactions can feel slightly repetitive and a little over-rehearsed, but given the staggering amount of technical elements and pyro queues involved, it really has to be. The whole production feels incredibly slick and polished; it is all about the music and there is very little padding aside from the famous shock-rock theatrics. What’s more, the band clearly have a great time and that passion, enthusiasm and charisma really shines through.

An unforgettable night for the adoring KISS Army – and hopefully KISS themselves – with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame icons taking their final bows in Manchester in epic hard rock style.


Running Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes (approx.) (8:45pm to 11:00pm)

For more information on the tour, and to book tickets, please Click Here.



KISS – END OF THE ROAD WORLD TOUR – SET LIST:

Detroit Rock City
Shout It Out Loud
Deuce
War Machine
Heaven’s on Fire
I Love It Loud
Say Yeah
Cold Gin
Lick It Up
Makin’ Love
Calling Dr. Love
Psycho Circus
100,000 Years
God of Thunder
Love Gun
Black Diamond

Encore:

Beth
I Was Made for Lovin’ You
Rock and Roll All Nite

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