KISS bring the heat to Sydney for their final Australian show ever

On Saturday night, tens of thousands of dedicated, long-time fans graced Sydney’s Accor Stadium for the last-ever Australian concert of rock and roll icons KISS. An electrifying buzz was in the line as the most dedicated fans arrived around 6 a.m. The excitement and energy was absolutely palpable as fans reminisced on the fantastic, record-breaking, 50-year career of their all-time favourite band. Supported by The Delta Riggs, Regurgitator and Weezer, the show was electrifying, and KISS proved that they’ve still got it.

The Delta Riggs took to the stage as fans trickled into the general admission area around 5 pm. The Aussie band had tremendous energy, with front man Elliot Hammond conducting the small crowd as though he was the headline act. The audience enjoyed it, and it kept the mood buoyant, as there were still over three hours until the kings of rock took to the stage.

Regurgitator were up next, donning the stage dressed as nuns. You could tell they were pumped to be there, and their excitement and energy were certainly entertaining. However, their crude humour and crass lyrics made for a bit of an awkward atmosphere, when songs like “I Will Lick Your Arsehole” had parents covering their children’s ears and older folk shaking their heads in disapproval. Overall, they were pretty fun and sounded fantastic.

Weezer @ Accor Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park

As the sun set and the stadium started to fill up, it was time for indie rock favourites Weezer to begin their set. With a proper stage and lighting setup and a fun intro, it was clear the real show was finally starting. As an avid KISS fan, frontman Rivers Cuomo was visibly excited and honoured to play. Kicking off with “My Name is Jonas”, their set was full of hits that had most of the crowd singing along. Rivers told the crowd how much he’s always loved KISS, and introduced the next song by mentioning that it was the first thing he ever learned to play on guitar, before delving into a beautiful cover of KISS’ “Strutter”. This was just the pick-me-up that the crowd needed, especially after lining up and waiting for hours. Fans cheered and sang along, and Rivers was clearly loving the attention. Next, they played a lesser-known (but personal favourite) track from The Blue Album– “In The Garage”. In the second verse, Rivers mentions his “favourite rock band KISS” which caused the crowd to erupt into cheers. Ending the set with “Buddy Holly”, Weezer certainly got the crowd absolutely hyped for what was to come.

KISS @ Accor Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park

Finally. The moment was here. The lights dimmed, and the music stopped. The crowd went wild. The screens lit up with backstage footage, showing the band making their way to the stage door. The energy in the room was electrifying. This was it- the moment that most of us would hear that famous introduction live for the very last time- “You wanted the best, and you got the best. The hottest band in the world- KISS!” And with that, the banner dropped, fireworks went off and the band descended from the top of the stage on platforms while playing “Detroit Rock City”.

Fireworks, confetti, flying, floating stages, rising platforms, blood spitting, fire spitting, more fireworks, balloons, streamers, fire, fireworks shooting out of guitars, guitars being smashed. This set had it all. Everything that KISS is known and loved for- they absolutely delivered.

The setlist consisted of their major hits and some more niche selections such as “Say Yeah” and “Makin’ Love”. Every song featured pyrotechnics and each member had their own time to shine with a stunning guitar solo from Tommy Thayer (complete with fireworks shooting out of his guitar), and a really fun drum solo from Eric Singer (again, lots of fireworks).

Gene and Paul commanded the crowd, constantly moving, dancing and interacting with fans. The looks on their faces showed the immense joy they had as they shared tales and reminisced about their career and their relationship with Australia. “Petition or no petition, this is the last time we’ll ever be here- we mean it!” Said Paul, referring to the fan petition that got the group to come back for one (more) final show.

One thing that can be said for KISS is that they certainly do not let their age define them. Aging from 62-74, they perform as if they were in their 20s and their talent is no exception. Paul’s vocals were strong, giving each song his absolute all, with no lip syncing required. Tommy’s guitar playing and solos were mesmerising, and Eric commanded the crowd from behind the kit. Gene’s vocals and energy were wonderful, with him doing most of the crowd interaction while staying in character.

KISS @ Accor Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park

After “Black Diamond”, the group took a bow and took time to farewell the crowd, clearly soaking in every bit. After a brief moment, they were back for their encore, with drummer Eric Singer taking to the piano for his rendition of “Beth”. A deeply emotional fan favourite, the moment was unfortunately interrupted by an intoxicated fan running onto the stage, who was quickly tackled by security and taken away, leaving the band visibly in shock and laughing.

The next song was a complete surprise, and, as Paul explained, was a massive hit in Australia in particular. And with that, the group delved into “Shandi” for what is likely to be the last time it’s ever played live, as it’s not one they do often.

Closing out with “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” and “Rock N Roll All Nite” the theatrics were insane. All four members were floating on risen stages, including the drum kit, with fireworks, confetti, streamers and balloons showering the crowd all at once. It was certainly a sight to behold.

And with that, it was over. The tremendously energetic and beautifully performed two hour set was complete, and KISS’ last show in Australia was finished. The crowd didn’t want to leave, with those in the general admission area staying to sing along to “God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll To You” as it played over the speakers. It was clear from the look on everyone’s faces that we had all experienced the same enjoyment and utter joy. We wanted the best, and we got the best, the hottest band in the world- KISS.


All photos: Pete Dovgan – you can see more of Pete’s photos from the night HERE