Rating out of 10
With the last day of the weekend being dubbed one of the most rock and roll line up’s in recent years, who better to close 2015’s Download Festival than the ever supreme KISS. As soon as the flag dropped, they exploded into opener ‘Detroit Rock City‘, the chugging riff and standard affair of pyrotechnics, blinding lights and screens scaled across the heads of the effervescent New York four-piece, all setting the tone beautifully for the rest of the evening.
By the time bassist Gene Simmons had started spewing fire and gyrating across the centre of the stage for crowd favourite ‘War Machine‘, every member of the 85,000 strong crowd (a figure which frontman Paul refuses to let you forget) had forgotten their initial trepidation and were heartily enjoying KISS‘s evening of fire, fun and debauchery. Of course, their Download headline set was bound to be full of crowd-pleasers, with the likes of ‘Creatures of the Night‘, ‘I Love It Loud‘ and ‘Do You Love Me‘ causing raucous singalongs, but there was one point in their set that did remind me of why KISS are such huge advocates of the true rock and roll they helped create. Paul Stanley stood centre-stage and almost reservedly asked his crowd to appreciate how so-called “classics” come to be, to remember that songs don’t just become classics overnight. With that being said, as they rolled into banger ‘Hell Or Hallelujah‘ from their most recent 2012 album ‘Monster‘, the crowd put their hands up, collaboratively saying “fuck it”, and bounced around with the rest of the band. Admittedly, that song is an absolute riff-fest, and it slung the crowd through into the second half of their set with as much aplomb as any other song.
For a band who’s show is almost infamous for its infallible choreography, it’s no surprise that KISS once again went all out on the theatrics; Gene Simmons had fake blood dribbling from his chin, drummer Eric Singer rose towards the heavens on a pneumatic platform, and as the crowning jewel, Paul Stanley zip-wired himself atop the heads of the crowd to a firework loaded pedestal (of course), to perform ‘Love Gun‘. Like with every other KISS performance, it was unerringly predictable, every thrust, every tongue waggle choreographed for maximum effect, and the whole debacle concluded with an explosive ‘I Was Made For Loving You‘ and a debaucherous rendition of ‘I Wanna Rock and Roll All Nite‘ with confetti and silly string cheerfully vomited into the crowd.
When the stage lights illuminated the muddy field and the Download arena emptied out for another year, the big screens emblazoned with the promise that “KISS loves you Donington“, there was not a single metal elitist in sight, and as planned, everybody went home with a silly grin plastered across their face; KISS once again succeeded in being thunderously fun as predicted.