"The Spaghetti Incident?"

Set lists and a little bit of Rock

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Rock 2 Wellington First Night Review

The ever critical (but sharp) Simon Sweetman's review of the first night of Rock 2 Wellington gets it fairly right..

Where: Westpac Stadium
When: March 22 and 23

The first night of Rock2Wgtn featured three bands that have all drawn heavily from the horror movie genre and cartoon/comic book ideals for their overall look and inspiration.

Headlining the show, Kiss; the business-franchise/band featuring Gene Simmons (bass, vocals) and Paul Stanley (rhythm guitar, vocals) and a better guitarist and drummer wearing the spaceman and cat-man makeup, replacing original members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss.

The Kiss stage shows were legendary in the 1970s - and the band, now celebrating 35 years, played a set that had faithful members of "the Kiss army" chanting along, arms in the air. Shots of fire and a flashing neon logo in the background all made for a great show.

It is a pity that Kiss songs are close to terrible. Rudimentary riffing and basic rhythms are their stock in trade; the band members' make-up and personas cannot mask the lack of hooks in the songs.

Still, as a show, it was full of spectacle. In Gene Simmons' one-note bass solo, bathed in green lights and coughing up stage blood, he was elevated (barely) by wires. The cheap trick might have been amazing 30 years ago, but now seems sad.

Fans applauded - perhaps for the trip down memory lane?

Current guitarist Tommy Thayer sang Ace Frehley's Shock Me (from 1977's Love Gun), Stanley and Simmons went back to 1974's eponymous debut for 100,000 Years and Firehouse, and from 1976's Rock and Roll Over Simmons gave the rather embarrassing plodder Calling Dr Love.

Alice Cooper would have blown Kiss off the stage, given the chance to headline. The ageing rocker - leading a band of the same name - ran through early 1970s classic hits (No More Mr Nice Guy, Billion Dollar Babies) to his late 1980s comeback (Poison from the Trash album).

In a stage show that featured harmony guitar lines - evoking the classic twin-guitar attack from his mid-70s heyday - and plenty of Cooper's signature horror-show theatre (culminating in a fake hanging) there were constant gems (Only Women Bleed, Elected, School's Out, Welcome to My Nightmare). A class act.

Lordi, from Finland, were the opening night's curtain-raisers. Their monster costumes (a direct nod to the influence of Kiss) were close to hysterical.

The drummer looked like a Gamorrean Guard from Return of the Jedi; the lead singer (known as Mr Lordi) appears to have snapped up John Travolta's Battlefield Earth suit in an eBay bargain.

The band played Dungeons & Dragons-metal songs like Hard Rock Hallelujah (from their third album, The Arockalypse) and fireworks erupted in front of the group.

It was like 1987 all over again (despite the song being written and released in 2006).

Rock2Wgtn is a lot of fun, the audience is there for the right reason - a stroll down memory lane.

As one of 14 people (I counted) not wearing a black T-shirt or face-paint it was not as intimidating as it seemed waiting for the gates to open.


Agreed, it was a pretty well behaved crowd, bogans just wanna hear their riffs and smoke their spliffs! The fighting came after the gig and in the street.

And despite the suggestion, this fellow below did not play drums for Lordi...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

man i have only come across this post now and I think it isn't accurate at all. many fans I actually spoke with were fans of every band and did not have a bad thing to say about anyone... KISS did have problems with Gene flying up above to sing God of Thunder (which also occurred in Brisbane the week before) but who cares, we all knew the songs and sang our tits off

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