« Christ on a bike, that was good ! » like it seems to be the use to say around there. Wednesday, May 5th, a gig at Birmingham, and not any gig : KISS. The eccentric glam-rockers are not dead and come back with an European tour following the release of their latest Sonic Boom album in last October.

After few hours of queuing outside, inside, against a wall, it is time to go getting packed against the barriers in front of the stage. Secodn row, perfect. It is at 7.30pm that Taking Dawn, heavy-glam rockers from Las Vegas and opening act, come on stage to try to warm up the almost completely filled venue. The frontman, looking like the French parodic metal band Ultra Vomit’s drummer, leads the show properly and succeeds to captivate me during several moments. Their sound is heavy, the rhythmic section playing a big role in it, letting the singing and lead guitars backwards. The soundchecks have also probably been a bit overlooked on that point. Not really convinced by their music, but good though, I nevertheless took few interesting pictures.

Taking Dawn Birmingham
Taking Dawn Birmingham 2
Taking Dawn Birmingham 3

A Kissian curtain falls over technicians who were working transforming the stage to welcome the headlining, letting us waiting with a tasteful musical rock’n’roll background.

8pm, it is KISS o’clock. The curtain falls off the stage, lightning comes from the background screens and three of the four space cowboys fly over the drummer on a floating platform : what an awesome entering ! “Modern Day Delilah”, first Sonic Boom’s single to lead the way, I am already amazed. Make up, costumes, pyrotechnics, craziness, music, everything is there.

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« Modern Day Delilah »

Gene Simmons scares the audience with his oversized tongue whereas Paul Stanley plays his guitar rhythm parts in weird positions on the following tunes. It is time for the second single from Sonic Boom, “Say Yeah”, which transcend the crowd with an impressive easiness for a brand new material. The classic “Deuce” is following, opening the door to « Crazy Crazy Nights » and « Calling Dr. Love ». The show goes on with Gene Simmons, The Demon, transformed in a fire-breather. « Shock Me », « I’m An Animal » and « 100.000 » don’t find any difficulties to resume after the fire-breathing act, until the drums take off from the stage in a smoke cloud.

KISS Birmingham Stanley
Paul Stanley
KISS Birmingham Thayer
Tommy Thayer
KISS Birmingham Simmons
Gene Simmons, performing with his tongue
KISS Birmingham Group

Few times after, Gene Simmons shows off his famous axe bass to play his classical, devilish and awaited blood-spitting act. Flown away on an aerial stage, the bassist relaunch the rock with « I Love It Loud » and « Love Gun ». Thereafter he comes back on the regular stage for a « Detroit Rock City », rebaptised « Birmingham Rock City » for the occasion. The artists greet and leave the stage.

KISS Birmingham Simmons Fire Breathing
Simmons, fire-breather
KISS Birmingham Simmons Spitting Blood
Simmons, blood-spitter
KISS Birmingham Simmons performing

After few “We want Kiss” chanted by the crowd, the band regain the stage. « Lick It Up » restart the fire, followed by a « Shout Out Loud » to nourish it. The cultissimo-legendary hits are still awaited.

KISS Birmingham Playing
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« Whole Lotta Love Intro »
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Spaceman+Catman show

KISS Birmingham Fire
Simmons, Thayer

Right after the first « I Was Made For Loving You »’s chords echo, Paul « Starchild » Stanley flies over the audience to gain an unexpected central stage. Came back beside his bandmates he delivers a speech about a divine power given to everybody, before starting an touching « God Gave Rock’n Roll To You ». It is time to say goodbye. And under a rain of confettis, a « Rock’n’Roll All Nite » is offered as a thank. The Starchild doesn’t seem up to leave the stage and shows off a last time by sacrificing a guitar to perfect the show.

KISS Birmingham Flying Starchild
Flying Starchild

KISS Birmingham Flying Confettis

A gig, what am I saying ? THE legendary rock’n’roll circus was present at Birmingh’um that night. Nothing else to say. The memory of my camera is as full of good images as mine.