wed 24/07/2024

KISS, OVO Hydro, Glasgow review - familiar feel to rock legends bombastic farewell | reviews, news & interviews

KISS, OVO Hydro, Glasgow review - familiar feel to rock legends bombastic farewell

KISS, OVO Hydro, Glasgow review - familiar feel to rock legends bombastic farewell

The face-painted group's final UK tour offered plenty of spectacle but not enough great tunes

Kiss, finally saying farewell

The farewell for KISS has lasted so long that this Glasgow show, their final ever UK gig, came four years after the End of the Road tour first stopped off in the city. Admittedly that is partly down to the coronavirus scuppering touring plans for a couple of years, but even without that there is a suspicion a group who have monetised themselves so effectively over the years might have found a reason for another trip back here.

After all, this tour also featured the chance for afternoon VIP meet and greets for a few thousand quid, while a “golden circle” was in operation down the front, a sight becoming depressingly more common at large shows.

Familiarity and finances has not bred contempt through, given that this was an audience so enthusiastic from the off that both support bands could be satisfied with the night’s work, not always a given in a large arena. The Wild Things bounded around with peppy energy and although it could feel a little like they were trying too hard, particularly when pixie haired vocalist Sydney Rae White used a megaphone, crisp pop-rock like the melodic "Paradise" went over easily.

Their reception paled next to Skindred through, as Benji Webbe worked the crowd masterfully. The set fizzed with good vibes, including a terrific round of audience participation on “That’s My Jam” and an emphatic “Kill The Power”.

And then there was KISS, who said farewell in a fashion that was very familiar, from the walk on music being “Rock and Roll” by Led Zeppelin to the closing sing-a-long of “Rock and Roll All Nite” with confetti exploding everywhere. There were all the regular, entertaining antics, with Paul Stanley, whose vocal struggled to be heard all too often, zipping across the venue to another platform at the back, Gene Simmons breathing fire, drooling blood and crossing his arms like a demonic bouncer and Eric Singer literally towelling himself down during a lengthy drum solo.

It was a rock'n’roll pantomime, cries of “Glasgow! Are you ready!” from Stanley and an artillery barrage of fire, explosions and big screen videos accompanying it, greeted by a sea of arms going up again and again. The days of KISS being a dangerous, deviant act are long gone, and this was a crowd where parents and their offspring lustily sang together, those younger in replica facepaint and older generations donning T-shirts from tours of yore.

Sometimes the music matched it all – the big muscular beat of “Heaven’s On Fire”, the disco pop tinge of “I Was Made For Lovin You” and the unrelenting glam power of “Lick It Up” (including a snippet of “Won’t Be Fooled Again”) shook the building, while Singer opening the encore at the piano singing “Beth” was a rare sweet and subdued moment amidst the bombast.

Yet there were also interminable guitar solos that dragged on for so long time felt like it might start going backwards and all the self-mythologizing from the band about their prowess at rock music, sex, and occasionally both at once couldn’t disguise some mediocre material, whether the thumping dullness of “Cold Gin” the cheesy “Calling Doctor Love” or “Say Yeah”, a fist-pumping song so generic that ChatGPT might do better.

It all felt so similar to their past few trips too, both in songs and gimmickry, complete with a slickness that dampened the sincerity of this actually being a farewell for real this time. Such smoothness meant that the optimistic fan holding up a sign asking to sing “Crazy Crazy Nights”, a hit ditched from recent sets, was always going to be disappointed, for this was not a show with spontaneity to offer. Instead it offered the familiar to satisfy the faithful one more time.



Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 15,000 pieces, we're asking for £5 per month or £40 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take a subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters