Work the next morning couldn’t dull the excitement of Adelaide KISS fans who piled into the Entertainment Centre to revel in the glory of the Spaceman and The Demon—guitarist Ace Frehley and bassist Gene Simmons. The anticipation had been heightened by the show’s postponement from February to August—which aligned with the anniversary of all four KISS members’ self-titled solo albums.
Ace Frehley took to the stage first and brought the intensity early with the crunchy riff of ‘Parasite,’ from KISS’ 1974 record Hotter than Hell. While his iconic guitar work hasn’t become any less impressive over the decades, his weathered vocal performance along with constant feedback issues definitely took a toll on the set.
Massive props have to be given to the backing band who accompanied the two legends, and whose boundless enthusiasm kept the crowd and their star musicians in line. Despite his set being rough around the edges, Ace Frehley radiated an endearing nonchalance and “cool” energy that demanded the respect of his fans. Before leaving the stage Ace hinted that it might not be the last time fans would see him that night—a tease that delivered a raucous round of cheers as he launched into the fan-favourite ‘Cold Gin.’
Not long after, an ominous cackle from the stage signalled the arrival of The Demon, Gene Simmons. Taking centre stage armed with his bass and a cheeky grin, he launched into ‘Deuce’ from KISS’ first album. What followed was an assortment of their biggest hits and deep cuts—the ones Gene could remember the words to anyway.
Of course, no night with Gene Simmons would be complete without a heavy dose of the man’s infamous ego and dry humour. Though some of his dated on-stage vulgarity and insistence on stopping songs he couldn’t remember went over poorly with the audience, he still had fans swept up in his celebrity aura for most of the show.
Even with his constant sarcasm, no one can deny the love and respect Gene has for the KISS fanatics. The same respect that sent KISS to the mid-American cities no other band would bother with in the ’70s was on full display in Adelaide—with a flurry of fans swarming the stage to sing along with monster hits like ‘I Was Made for Loving You’ and ‘Rock and Roll all Nite’.
It was in the unpolished moments—when a crowd of KISS fans piled onto the stage screaming along with the band members—where the show really resonated. The occasional sloppiness in presentation actually created a rare feeling of intimacy between the crowd and Gene as everyone gathered to celebrate one of the most transcendent bands to ever exist and to Rock and Roll all Night.
You can find more photos of Gene Simmons and Ace Frehley on Facebook.
Thursday, 30 August 2018 – MELBOURNE, Festival Hall
Friday, 31 August 2018 – SYDNEY, The Enmore Theatre
Saturday, 1 September 2018 – BRISBANE, Tivoli Centre
Find more info at genesimmonsaxe.com and the links below.
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Photos: Peter Pap