Paul Stanley - April 13, 2007 - Back
Australian Tour
Wollongong, AUS - WIN Entertainment Centre

As a life long Kiss fan I never imagined it would be so hard to find the words to write a review on Paul's first solo tour visit to our Australian shores. It has been said that the Kiss Army are fans like no other, a member of the army myself over the years I have heard comments used about kiss fans describing them as obsessed, deranged, crazy, dedicated, loyal, stupid and fanatical all of which are true. In my case I took my Kiss obsession too extremes getting the members to sign my back and having it tattooed! In some cases we [the Kiss army] have a love/hate relationship with the band that has in some way shaped our lives. I personally was a little annoyed when Paul first announced his solo tour. Not at the fact that he was returning without the other members of Kiss, but because he had again announced the meet/ greet packages. I have always looked at the platinum package deals as the best deals for Kiss fans who can afford to pay for those front row seats, but not necessarily for the extreme die hard fans who spend their hard-earned money on each and every piece of memorabilia released throughout the year!

Looking past that though I knew that Paul would still put on an amazing show without Gene, Tommy, Ace, Peter or Eric (depending on who is in Kiss this week). I knew we would finally get to hear obscure Kiss songs never played in Australia to date.

In the days leading up to Paul's show at WIN Entertainment Centre my excitement was building just knowing that it wouldn't be long until I seen one of my all-time heroes live onstage once again. What made this show more nerve racking for me was that I was also going to be standing in the photo pit for the first three songs directly under the almighty front-man. Paul would have to be very pleased with the amount of promotion that surrounded this tour. Securing radio spots and television appearances on the Sydney Footy Show where Paul performed Detroit Rock City live as well as an early morning appearance on The Today Show performing 'Shandi' acoustically. Paul then sat for an interview with host Richard Wilkins and answered questions from members of the Australian Kiss Army.

The night was upon us, and I honestly can't think of a better way to spend Friday the 13th than seeing a rockin' band live no matter where you are. Being such a massive Kiss fan and collector I was bound to run into many people over the course of the night that I knew, it is the one thing I always look forward to when it comes to Kiss and Kiss related events.

Opening band for the night was Hell City Glamours. I didn't really bother to make my way inside the venue to see them live, but from what I heard they sounded great. I instead spent my time looking at the merchandise that was for sale and catching up with new & old friends including rockers Andy (bass player from Lord) and Stephen (guitarist from Lycanthia). By 8:30 pm all the photographers were meeting in the foyer to be escorted to the photo pit; we all got along really well and were checking out each others equipment! I want to give a shout out to Keith right here who gave me a 30 second crash course on some of the features on my cam that I hadn't used up to that point!

As I looked around the venue I noticed plenty of empty seats, unlike the Sydney Enmore shows I figured the Wollongong show would only sell about half its capacity, which was one of the reasons I chose to go to Wollongong rather than Sydney. I was hoping to see more of an intimate, impromptu live show and that's exactly what I got. The lights dimmed and Paul walked out onstage backed by the house band from the American T.V. series Rock Star Inxs and Supernova. The crowd went crazy and fans were jumping out of their seats behind me. Paul opened with 'Live To Win' which isn't one of my favorite songs off his latest solo album but live WOW, it blew me away. The band sounded fantastic live, heavy, and clear, their harmonies were awesome and Paul was his usual superstar self!

Following 'Live To Win' was Kiss' first single from 'Hot in the Shade', 'Hide Your Heart' and this has to be the best version I have heard of the song live but I didn't really think too much about the songs as I was too busy clicking away with my camera by this point!

We were only allowed in the pit for the first three songs which is pretty standard to anyone who knows about these things and when the third song announced was 'A Million to One' I was just frozen with surprise! This has always been one of my favorite Kiss songs, and to finally hear it live was just insane! Nate's drumming especially during this song was extremely impressive and Rafael Moreira's guitar work all night long was just superb. I was a little disappointed with Paul's voice during 'A Million to One' but honestly didn't care. I was just so happy to finally hear one of my favorite songs played live. Once the song ended we were escorted out of the pit and I got to enjoy the rest of the show from down on the floor. Throughout the show the lighting and sound was phenomenal and to be honest I really didn't expect anything less. I will say though that it was a little weird hearing songs like Love Gun and Detroit Rock City and not having the massive explosions and pyrotechnics that you would see at any Kiss show, but I think that is one of the things that I loved the most about this show!

It was so stripped back and yet the songs sounded just as good, if not better than ever before. Between songs Paul would say the usual things to the crowd, how much he loves us; we'll be seeing us again soon and so on. On this occasion it just seemed so much more intimate; fans were yelling all kinds of things out from the crowd. One guy said "show us your tits", to which Paul replied "your mums are much better than mine", That had me in hysterics. Another moment that sticks out was during Paul's vocal gymnastics in I Want You, at one point Paul handed the microphone to one of the guys from the Australian Kiss Army to belt out his best Paul Stanley vocal impersonations. Through out the night fans were yelling out for all kinds of requests at one point someone shouted out '2000 Man' and Paul being the guy that he is started playing it backed by Nate Morton on the drums and singing the opening bars. The crowd continued to sing the song up until the chorus where Paul had stopped and said "how about this one", playing and singing the intro and opening lines to 'Beth' which didn't receive such a warm response.

All night long you could tell the guys were onstage just having a fun time. During the show there were a few minor solo errors and a few lyrics that may have been muddled up but it was all in the looks on their faces, the laughs, smiles, and sheer happiness. It made for a great change, seeing a fun down to earth show rather than such a massive spectacle. Paul had made a joke about Paul Mirkovich playing keyboards for Nelson before redeeming himself by working with Whitesnake a joke I found quite amusing. The band introductions were really cool, Paul introduced Nate as Peter Criss which was hilarious. Paul described Sasha as "my favorite bass player with a short tongue"! Unfortunately Jim McGorman never made it to Australia for these shows. Filling in on guitar was Australia's own Brett Garsed. Brett's best known for his work with Nelson and Australia's own John Farnham. The crowd saluted Brett with the Aussie, Aussie, Aussie chant which was cool and well received.

At one point I had actually yelled out "play a Zeppelin cover", which Paul had then repeated in the microphone with a bad English accent. Unfortunately he didn't break into any Zeppelin songs but I was hoping he would do 'Communication Breakdown' or 'Whole Lotta Love' as he had done during his first solo tour shows back in 1989. The Acoustics in WIN Entertainment Center were amazing and were highlighted during songs such as Tonight you belong to me, I Want You and Shandi.

Over the night Paul played four songs in total from his latest solo album Live to Win and the one that really stood out for me was 'Everytime I see you Around', not only is it one of the better songs on his solo album but live it rocked! It was one of the songs where I could really hear Paul Mirkovich's talent shining through. For me the highlight song of the night was 'Magic Touch'. This was another all-time favorite Kiss song that I had always wanted to hear live and Kiss fans… it was well worth the wait. The harmonies, amazing, the song had heavier elements to it which worked well and Paul did a fantastic job vocally.

The band had returned to do an amazing encore which included Kiss' biggest Australian hit 'I Was Made For Loving You', 'Detroit Rock City' and 'Goodbye' taken from Paul's 1978 solo album. 'Goodbye' was a fantastic choice and the most appropriate closing song and showed the band rockin' out under the lights one last time.

Overall Paul's solo show was killer, as I mentioned earlier the stripped down, raw feel that the show had made it that much more special. For a large part of the night I was turning to a friend of mine talking about the way Rafael was playing the solos, bringing his own unique sound and style to Kiss classics and anyone who attended that show has to take their hats off to him for the marvellous job that he did. Nate's powerhouse drum style just reminded me of how heavy some of those kiss songs could sound live. Nate too was extremely impressive to watch throughout the night. I'd love to see Paul do this as a yearly event. After seeing his solo show I'm not too sure if Kiss has any real future. Friday the 13th 2007 will be a night I shall remember forever.

Paul's Complete Set-List was as follows
Live To Win (Opener)
Hide Your Heart
A Million To One
Got To Choose
Wouldn't You Like To Know Me
Bulletproof
Magic Touch
Move On
Strutter
Lick It Up
Tonight You Belong To Me
Do You Love Me
2000 Man(60 Seconds or So)
Beth (Intro)
Shandi
I Still Love You
Everytime I See You Around
I Want You
Love Gun
Encores
I Was Made For Lovin You
Detroit Rock City
Goodbye


Rating:
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Reviewed By: Cameron Edney