Mar 01, 2003 | Posted in News & Updates

01mar03Herald Sun News Australia

ON paper, the Kiss Symphony looked potentially disastrous.

How would Kiss's bombastic party rock work with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra as their very large backing band?

Would the 60-piece orchestra get lost in the mix or would Kiss mellow and turn out slightly feral chamber music?

The answer: neither.

The Kiss Symphony was simply Kiss turned up to 11: classics with class.

While Kiss havealways strived forbigger and better with their stage show, it's hard to imagine them topping the sheer jaw-dropping, ear-bleeding, eye-burning spectacle of last night's Kiss Symphony.

It started simply enough: the four members banging out back-to-basics Kiss classics: Deuce, Strutter and Calling Dr Love among them.

An acoustic set followed with a handful of orchestra members helping to breathe life into 20-year-old favourites including Shandi and Sure Know Something.

Drummer Peter Criss even got to perform his signature ballad Beth with strings attached.

Then came the thunder: Kiss with the full orchestra (all wearing Kiss make-up) between them and two speaker stacks taller than the average house.

Musical arranger David Campbell was the real hero of the day, orchestrating Kiss hits with the mandatory aggression, testosterone and drama – making the MSO rock, quite literally.

The symphonic punch sent Kiss standards Detroit Rock City, Shout it Out Loud, I Was Made for Lovin' You, God of Thunder, Love Gun, Black Diamond and Rock and Roll all Nite into a new league; one that somehow suited them at this point in their 30-year career.

"This is our kind of classical music," singer Paul Stanley remarked at rehearsals the night before. At one point the band were so engrossed in the MSO they seemed reluctant to join in.

Naturally, being Kiss, there were enough pyrotechnics for a million New Year's Eves, and for rabid fans reliving their youth.

Guitarist Tommy Thayer may not have been Ace Frehley, but the general consensus was he's a much better player, while his bandmates wrote the book on rock god poses.

And how can you argue with any concert where the frontman flies?