Devoted KISS fans gear up for final concert hurrah

KISS has arrived Down Under – and their thousands of Aussie fans are ready to go wild.

KISS has arrived Down Under – and their thousands of Aussie fans are ready to go wild. Photo: Getty

The ultimate glam-rock band has finally arrived Down Under for one last hurrah, after multiple false alarms.

KISS – the band famous for its over-the-top live performances, wild face paint, comic book-like characters and spitting literal blood on stage – kicks off the Australian leg of its End Of The Road World Tour in Melbourne this weekend.

It will be followed over the next couple of weeks with shows in Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Among the fans who can hardly wait is draftsman Errol Steinbeck. The 51-year-old from Brisbane plans to attend no fewer than five performances.

“My best mate and I of 40 years are huge KISS fans and we’re both doing five shows around the country. We fly down to Melbourne for the three shows and then we’ve got hometown gigs in Brisbane and the Gold Coast a week later. For 25 years now we have done the same thing. We’ve always seen multiple shows,” he said.

‘‘We’ll have about 25 to 27 shows each under the belt after this tour.’’

KISS australia tour

Errol Steinbeck (left) dressed as Gene Simmons for a school skit in 1980. Photo: Supplied

Mr Steinbeck, a self-declared ‘‘mad’’ KISS fan since the age of nine, said the band’s music had a life-long impact on him.

“I remember when I was eight or nine, mum and dad bought my first album – Kiss Dynasty – which was just absolutely a hit at that time in Australia,” he said.

“Whether you were eight or 15 years old, it was just KISS-teria – they were everywhere on TV, in the shops, and on the radio.

“It captured me straight away. To this day.”

Mr Steinbeck said music fans could ‘‘never see a KISS concert enough’’.

“It’s an amazing experience. It’s very biblical, to say the least. It’s a show like no other. The songs in your heart and soul become the soundtrack for your life. It’s just amazing every time,” he enthused.

KISS first toured Australia in 1980, and the band has been back many times since – their last performance was in 2015.

They have certainly left a big mark in the hearts of their Aussie fans.

Another Brisbane fan, 60-year-old Brett Bartlett, remembers going to his first KISS concert and says it was big to be a fan of the band in 1980s Australia.

“I don’t think younger fans can really grasp the idea of what it was back then. KISS were always in the media. They were everywhere,” he said.

Mr Bartlett’s connection with the band goes deep – he and his wife of 21 years, Donna, are together because of KISS.

“We met at a KISS convention. I was one of the organisers in Brisbane in late 1995. My wife, Donna, asked one of my friends if she ever met Ace and my friend pointed to me,’’ he said.

“We’re only together because of KISS. We only met because of KISS.

“Now we live in this bizarre KISS world. Our whole home is a KISS shrine – wall to wall.’’

KISS Australia tour

The KISS shrine at the Bartletts’ home. Photo: Supplied

KISS tour Australia

Brett and Donna Bartlett on their wedding night in 2001. Photo: Supplied

Now though, it’s a bitter-sweet feeling for fans as they prepare to enjoy the glam-rock band’s last performances and farewell to Australia.

Even with the goodbye tour under way, the band is yet to put an end date on it – only recently adding another 100 shows.

And even though it’s their last tour, bassist Gene Simmons said KISS would not end with the final concert.

‘‘Don’t kid yourself, KISS will continue. But KISS the touring band, with us on stage, will stop,’’ he told Nine’s 60 Minutes.

He also teased the idea of new members taking over for future dates.

“Could there be a KISS with different KISS members with young 20-year-olds who wanna wear the crown and continue with the tradition? Why not?” he said.

Fans have eagerly waited to paint their faces and rock to the tunes since 2018, when the tour was announced only to be postponed because of COVID-19.

Now, with the KISS army of Australia excited to watch their favourite band in the flesh and blood, it is with mixed feelings for most.

‘‘It’s going to be very emotional in a lot of ways. We know as KISS fans that this is the last time, so it’ll be quite emotional,” Mr Steinbeck said.

“We probably won’t believe that this is the last time [we watch them perform]. We’re just going to savour every second, every minute of every song.”

Topics: Music
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