Live Review – KISS at Hartwall Arena, Helsinki May23

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Live Review – KISS at Hartwall Arena, Helsinki

Live Review – KISS at Hartwall Arena, Helsinki

If you are looking for a non-biased live review of KISS at Hartwall Arena in Finland, the I would suggest you navigate away now.

With that out of the way, for the rest of you that may follow my reviews it is no secret that I am a huge KISS fan. Unfortunately however due to extenuating circumstances, I have never got around to seeing them live. So when they announced the KISS World tour I was stoked, and immediately began scouring for dated that I would be able to attend – I needed to see this band finally. With friends in Finland, and no UK dates having yet been announced, I took the plunge to go and see them at the vast Hartwall Arena in Helsinki. They did however announce UK dates at a later time, so I am also going to see them in London…

Arriving early at Hartwall guaranteed my friends and I our standing positions four rows from the stage – perfect placement for my first KISS show. The crew initially seemed to have a lot of trouble with the legendary glittering KISS curtain, trouble which would later rear its ugly head again once the show started.

The lights dim, and boom! The curtain drops down – the notorious “You wanted the best, you got the best…!” had not even been brayed across the speakers yet! There were the almighty KISS on their platform in the dark, perfectly poised despite the blatant foible, not letting their amusement or even frustration show. With an explosion of pyro, the show burst into life and finally, I was seeing the awe-inspiring band KISS on the stage not four metres from me. Although the glaringly obvious error had made a lot of the ten-thousand strong crowd chuckle, soon all was to be forgotten with the living legends now blazing into action.

I will admit I was initially sceptical of how many people were saying how good of a show KISS put on and I was worried my expectations would not live up to the hype – as I had heard much the same thing about Rammstein and ended up being vastly disappointed with their show at Download. However, my doubts soon melted away as KISS thundered straight into surefire classic Deuce, with the well-documented synchronised head bob from the three guitarists.

Unfortunately, after forty years in the spotlight, Paul Stanley’s voice is indeed beginning to lose its prowess, as he was unable to hit many of the high notes that he used to be able to. However despite, I found myself not caring too much as the rest of the show was more than enough to make up for Paul’s lack of vocal range, with pyro, guitar solos from the impeccable Tommy Thayer and Gene Simmons’ notorious fire-spitting for Firehouse and his haunting blood ritual before blasting out a solo and War Machine. Unlike Paul, Gene’s voice is still in fine fettle with the power to enthral, snarling out the lyrics like he always has done.

Although the set list did not have many of my particular favourite tracks in, there was still a great variety of songs from KISS’s vast discography; such as Lick it Up, Crazy Crazy Nights, much maligned Psycho Circus, my personal favourite Black Diamond and a stellar performance of Shock Me from Tommy Thayer. We also got the perennial classics like Rock and Roll All Nite, Detroit Rock City, and I Was Made for Loving You towards the end of the night for the encore on the latter two, so that every KISS fans’ tastes in the ten-thousand strong audience were suitably quenched.

Without a shadow of a doubt, I absolutely loved my first KISS show, and it never failed to live up to my high hopes – even with a couple of errors to its name. I cannot wait to see The Hottest Band in the World again at the O2 Arena in London, and hopefully the show will go relatively more smoothly than it did in Helsinki!

Niki Flynn

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