TVD Live Shots: KISS at the O2 Arena, 7/11

This is the seventh time I’ve seen the self-proclaimed “hottest band in the land” and sadly it will likely be the last. Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Tommy Thayer, and Eric Singer took to the stage in front of a capacity crowd at the legendary O2 Arena for one final statement to the fans in London and to say goodbye and thank you for more than forty years of love and support.

It’s bittersweet to write this review knowing that I will likely never see these guys again live,  and it’s interesting to watch Paul and Gene do their signature move and antics one last time. It’s hard to believe that Paul Stanley is 67 years old as he looks to be in the best shape of his life. It looks like the guy just finished a triathlon.

Opening up the evening with the KISS classic “Detroit Rock City the band descended from a steel platform gliding through an enormous cloud of smoke from the opening fireworks. Within seconds Gene and Paul were front and center interacting with the crowd (and the photographers) in classic form. These guys don’t miss a beat and they still have the energy of a rock ‘n’ roller half their age.

In traditional KISS fashion, Stanley brought the stage to the middle of the arena as he ziplined over the crowd with his guitar strapped to his back arriving in style to deliver a rousing version of “Love Gun.” Gene took it up a notch with his fire-breathing and blood spitting for “War Machine” and “God of Thunder.” While it would have been epic to see Ace and Peter return for a song or two, Tommy and Eric have proven to be worthy members of the line up over the years and when they all come together it’s truly magical.

Other highlights in the set included “Deuce,” “Shout it Out Loud,” “Lick It Up,” “I Love it Loud” which were of course in the setlist, but there were a few surprises including “Heavens on Fire,” “Crazy Nights,” and a stellar version of “Beth” with Eric Singer solo on piano. The lighters of yesteryear were replaced with the soft glow of the mobile device, and it was pretty incredible to see.

This is truly and end of an era, and at the end of this tour rock ‘n’ roll will be left with a huge void in the world of arena rock. While the critics have always loved to hate KISS over the years, you can’t deny that these guys still put on one hell of an incredible show. Gene and Paul have always made it very clear that it’s all about the fans and the fact that there are still a ton of new people in the audience every time I see them says it all. If this truly is the end of the road for KISS, I’m glad to see them going out on top and on their own terms.

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