Tuesday, March 5, 2013

CONCERT REVIEW: KISS and MOTLEY CRUE live @ Perth Arena, Australia, 28 February 2013

Ace Frehley drinking cold gin!
MOTLEY CRUE - Nikki, Vince, Mick, Tommy
I was at this show with another 14,000 people and what can I say? First I did not go to see opening band THIN LIZZY because I was never a big fan and anyway without Phil Lynott no-one can claim this is the real band.

When I arrived MOTLEY CRUE was playing the "Saints of Los Angeles" song from its 2009 Saints of Los Angeles reunion album - a great album in my opinion and a good song. MOTLEY is one band which was based on four unique personalities and when you take away one of the original line-up it just does not work. The band was in fantastic form especially as they had just arrived from the cold of North America to the Australian heat. All the band members were full of the energy, charm, and bravado that made them so famous back in the 1980s. We got to see Tommy Lee doing his old trick of playing drums upside down. Vince Neil and Nikki Sixx were in great form, running around the stage, engaging with the crowd, and were totally switched on and motivated. It was great to see the band so full of energy and so excited after such a long time together. The band played "Home Sweet Home", the new 2012 song "Sex", and of course "Girls Girls Girls" and "Wild Side". One guy in front of me was shouting for "Smokin' in the Boys' Room" but that was one song we did not get. We heard "Same Ol' Situation" and an excellent and passionate version of "Dr Feelgood" near the end of the set. I was hoping for "Looks that Kill" and "Ten Seconds to Love". If the band played these it was only before I arrived. Mick Mars was looking strong and fit - a real warrior and "saint of Los Angeles" having endured a degenerative bone disease for many years. He didn't move much on stage and only once came to my side of the stage where Nikki spent much time. However, at least Mick was standing up and playing guitar solos - a good effort indeed. Well done, Mick - we are very happy for you. Overall, MOTLEY was impressive and looking good and Vince was enjoying chatting with the crowd for example: 'This new song is about Sex but Nikki says we have been writing songs about sex for 30 years" and "it's a great feeling to be with your girl on a motorbike and going where? Of course going to a MOTLEY CRUE show".

Of course after MOTLEY came those old veterans of show-business and corporate rock KISS which is really two original members (Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley) and two wage-labourers (Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer - no, not Eric Carr RIP). I must say KISS is showing its age as MOTLEY really played better and with more strength and energy. The differences are because MOTLEY has 4/4 original members whereas KISS has 2/4 and MOTLEY being around ten years younger on average. KISS was excellent in the signature songs where each band member plays his classic song - Gene was magnificent suspended on a platform up near the roof of this basketball stadium as he did "God of Thunder". Paul was great as he shot on a platform 50 metres across the heads of the crowd to do "Love Gun" from the other side of the stadium. Tommy and Eric were very average, just like employees earning pay on a building site. The loss of Ace Frehley and Peter Criss makes a major difference to KISS. Tommy and Eric did that act where Eric stands up and pretends to joke and argue with Tommy and points a drum stick at him which is an old Ace-and-Peter thing. I prefer the real Space Ace and Catman.

Paul Stanley talked a lot to the crowd in his somewhat girlish voice and he won people over by his sincerity and warm heartedness. He remembered how Perth and Australia turned out in huge numbers on KISS' 1980 tour in support of the Dynasty (1979) album when the band's North American popularity was fading. Paul remains grateful for Perth's support at a difficult time for the band and he said "We are honored to play here". Thank you, Paul! We are honored to have you here! Paul came across as a very sincere and genuine guy. Gene, Tommy, and Eric said nothing throughout the set. Gene did not move around very much - is it getting harder for him? 

The crowd was fairly quiet as KISS played three or four songs from the new Monster album in a competent but not passionate performance. Tommy did vocals on one song. KISS surprised by playing old classics "Firehouse" and "Black Diamond" from the 1974 debut album. The band was very good with these two songs. Unexpectedly Paul sang solo and played acoustic on "Shandi" and we got "I was Made for Loving You" (a surprise), "I love it Loud' (semi-surprise), and "Shout it out Loud" (expected). Of course "Detroit Rock City" was the opener. We got a passionate version of "Lick it Up" (a welcome surprise) and later in the set KISS was playing with more strength and energy. I think KISS chose to play songs from Dynasty (1979) and Unmasked (1980) to acknowledge Perth's support for the band on the 1980 tour. We also heard "War Machine" and the encore was of course "Rock and Roll All Nite" when Gene soared above the crowd coming out on a platform at a 45-degree angle towards the left whilst moving upwards on the platform as well. We did not get "Beth" and no KISS show can be complete without this song. However, that song really needs Peter Criss and without him it would be fake and second-rate.

Overall, a great night and I think MOTLEY was stronger than KISS. However, KISS' stage-show is still fantastic after all these years although predictable. KISS is best when Gene and Paul do their signature songs - "God of Thunder" and "Love Gun" where they express their real personalities through their constructed personas (characters). I was surprised and disappointed that few people in the crowd wore makeup or had banners or old-school denim jackets. Maybe Perth people are too interested in making money and enjoying the mining boom to be bothered with such sentimental things. The crowd was mostly 40-50-year-olds and it was sad not to see more people in their teens and 20s although the high ticket prices may have been a factor. I was a little sad - KISS may not last much longer. Now we only have two originals and soon there may be only one and then none. Paul and Gene are both aged over 60 years. Will KISS continue with no original members? It's definitely possible that KISS will go on forever...I did not get to see the original KISS but at least I have seen this 2/4 version [by Jack Frost, 5 March 2013].

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