KISS and Taking Dawn live at LG Arena, Birmingham

Almost 200 miles and almost heading to the wrong venue* I’d made it to the LG Arena. This was to be my first time seeing KISS and as a pretty new member of the KISS army I had no idea what to expect.

After waiting outside the stage area for a while the clear sound of drums indicated that Taking Dawn (http://www.myspace.com/takingdawn) had started so the logical thing to do was to head in. Arriving to a half full areana midway through Taking Dawn’s first song there was nothing overly catchy from the LA four piece.

Unfortunately, they didn’t manage to improve upon this first impression over the course of the set either, with it seeming very bland and one paced.  That said, frontman Chris Babbitt made a lot of effort to engage the crowd and get them warmed up, to reasonable effect as well.  Although the stadium was half empty he managed to get a fair few chants going and even fists pumping at some point. Overall, they seemed to get a good reception from the audience. There were no bottles thrown at the band either, which is always a good thing. It is slightly disappointing though, that there wasn’t a British support act on this tour especially when there are bands like Heaven’s Basement doing what Taking Dawn do, only better. It feels that Taking Dawn were put here simply because they are one of Roadrunners new babies and although they weren’t musically poor they seem like a band condemned to remain an opening act.

Upon their departure a KISS branded stage curtain obscured the stage as the roadies set up for the headliners. During the 30 minute changeover classic songs by bands including AC/DC and The Who were played and some even got sung along to.

After 30 minutes the intro video began playing, with the audience providing a soundtrack of cheering and chants.

As the curtain dropped and the crowd began cheering, we were greeted by a platform carrying the Demon, Starchild and Spaceman over the drum riser and to the ground, whilst playing Modern Day Delilah. From this alone it was obvious that the night would be unforgettable. After ending the first song, Paul Stanley introduced the next one and said that as well as playing the classics, they would be playing a number of songs from the ‘New Testament of Rock & Roll’ [Sonic Boom]. The way the band interacted with the crowd was good too, some of it was clearly unique to the show, particularly when Stanley explained why he was pronouncing Birmingham correctly, rather than in the US way. It is small things like that, which really make shows seem less like a case of going through the motions and add that much more to it. There were other amazing points throughout the night too, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer using various jetpack esque contraptions, a bazooka blowing up parts of the lighting rig, a floating guitar and lots of pyrotechnics [of course]. One of the theatrical highlights of the show was Gene Simmons flying up above one of the lights, as well as spewing blood however, the bass solo he played whilst doing this left much to be desired. My personal highlights of the night were Say Yeah which featured the audience adding lots by singing along with the chorus and Love Gun, one of my favorite KISS songs.

Overall the setlist was brilliant, the stage presence was of course, superb and the crowd themselves were astounding too. Despite it being really packed it didn’t feel at all claustrophobic and there were no pits breaking out at every opportunity. If you’ve not seen KISS before, go see them! If you have seen them before then you don’t need telling.

Setlist available HERE

Josh

*To explain, in Birmingham there are two big arena places the NEC [newly renamed the LG Arena] and the NIA. These are a walk and train ride away from each other, searching for LG Arena on Google maps gives directions to the NIA.

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2 Responses to “KISS and Taking Dawn live at LG Arena, Birmingham”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by John Harper. John Harper said: KISS and Taking Dawn live at LG Arena, Birmingham: Almost 200 miles and almost heading to the wrong ve… http://bit.ly/dDmqod #rock #metal [...]

  2. Adam says:

    What a shit review for Taking Dawn! This was the first time I saw them and they were bloody brilliant! Great set and great response. Pretty hard to do for a young new band opening for KISS!

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