Kiss Gave Fun Rock And Roll To You
Love them or hate them, Kiss are a band that know how to put on a show. Arguably putting theatrics a country mile ahead of the actual music, the face painted four piece just ooze showmanship, bringing a touch of glam campness to Download and leaving no one in doubt that the Kiss Army had most definitely conquered Donington.
With a black and silver Kiss banner camouflaging the stage, Kiss made their Download entrance with whole hearted pomp as a voice boomed over the crowd “Alright Download, you want the best you got the best, the hottest band in the world - Kiss” before all four members decked out in full costume and make up were lowered to the stage as pyrotechnics raged. Launching into ‘Deuce’, the four silver cladded icons did not fail to disappointed the Kiss Army, parading around the stage with Paul Stanley taking time to declare that it is almost a tradition for Kiss to play Donington every ten years before the band proceeded to play their ‘Alive’ album in its entirety.
From blazing pyros to coordinated dance steps that any boy band would envy, Kiss were all about putting on a show as ‘She’ received a blues driven solo courtesy of Tommy Thayer that saw him raising his guitar above his head to play only for a roadie to bring him a new one that in turn shot out fireworks. Not to be outdone, Gene Simmons was his demented menacing self, stalking the front of the stage throughout whilst sticking his tongue out for his signature stance. But a mere child-like poke of the tongue wasn’t all Simmons had up his sleeve. As he launched into a bass solo Simmons was lifted off the ground, threateningly bating the audience as he proceeded to swirl and spit fake blood everywhere, much to the crowd’s delight.
Apparently one Kiss member levitating wasn’t enough though as Stanley teased the crowd with the opening bars of ‘Stairway To Heaven’, stopping short to jokingly say how they weren’t playing that tonight but how he wished he was out amongst the crowd. As the crowd chanted his name, Stanley too found that he could fly, zipping above the crowds heads to a platform out in the middle where he dived into ‘Love Gun’ boasting classic Stanley hip shakes and posturing.
With more fireworks, smoke and over the top showmanship, Kiss ended their set with a heavy blast of ‘Detroit City’, rousing the crowd for one more sing along before making their exit. As a thank you message from the band covered the giant screens there was only one song that could truly end the night and although Kiss may not have sung it live at Donington, it was the strains of ‘God Gave Rock And Roll To You’ echoing throughout the Donington fields that fittingly marked the end of a eye popping performance.
Kiss in short are all about having fun, from the over the top theatrics to the forest fire size blaze of pyros right down to flying above the crowd. Sure, at times the music plays second fiddle to the ostentatious visual effects but in the end this is Kiss, a band who are generally known more for their appearance than their songs and who ultimately are a rock icon. For one night Kiss proved that rock and roll is still fun and in all honesty where’s the harm in that?