KISS - The End Of The Road
with support act Shiraz Lane
Helsinki Ice Hall, 20 June 2022

"The End Of The Road Tour" started in January 2019, and thanks to Covid-19, the band are still on the same road, saying farewell to their fans all around the world. This tour has taken them to Finland already once in 2019, when they headlined the Rockfest in Hyvinkää. We saw that gig, but somehow it didn't feel like "The End", and obviously it wasn't. This time there was a distinct vibe of a final concert in the air, and this just might be it... the original members are well past the retirement age, and the "new guys" are only about ten years behind, so if this is indeed the last tour, so be it.

The venue of this concert changed a few months ago because of restrictions against Russian-owned enterprises. We originally had decent seats, but the new seats assigned to us were very much visually restrictcd, with huge speakers blocking the view to the stage. That was not what I paid for, so I contacted the staff, who replaced our tickets promptly and we got to go down to the floor. No seats, but superb view to the stage! Huge thanks to the organizers!

Young Finnish hard rockers SHIRAZ LANE were given this prestigious support slot, and they made the best of it. Their energetic show warmed up the crowd quite nicely, and I believe they made a lot of new friends. The guys had an old school rock swagger, they threw all the classic rock poses and vocalist Hannes Kett was like whirlwind, bouncing all over the stage.


The band played a tight short set with at least the following songs: "Wake Up", "Disconnect From The Matrix", "Tidal Wave", "Do You", "Harder To Breathe", "Broken Into Pieces" and ended their set with the rocked-up Savage Garden cover "To The Moon And Back".

We listened to Shiraz Lane on our way to Helsinki, and our daughter Alexa, aged 14 didn't really care for their music. But seeing a band perform live can change one's opinion, and her final verdict was that "they were actually pretty good". So there!

When the KISS Kurtain came down from the ceiling to cover the stage, the level of excitement in the crowd visibly rose. Finally, the legendary introduction was heard: "you wanted the best, you got the best, the hottest band in the world...KISS!" and BOOM! The Kurtain fell, the bombs went off and the band was up in the air on their platforms, churning out the opening riffs of "Detroit Rock City".


I didn't have high expectations for this gig. There's been accusations of lip-syncing and whatnot, but what I saw in Helsinki was a really great performance from a legendary band, and out of the four Kiss shows I've seen, I'd rank this as the best one. A proper send-off for an iconic band. Was it note-for-note perfect and flawless? No. Did the band get some off-stage help for the vocals? Maybe. Did it matter? Hell no! Paul Stanley did a lot improvised high-range belting which I don't think was pre-recorded, and he sounded less strained than in 2019. Maybe some of the choruses were given a bit of boost from a backing tape, but isn't that what every other band does these days too? Besides, drummer Eric Singer is a good high-pitched singer (pun intended), he was providing a lot of background vocals. As were Gene and Tommy Thayer of course.


With five songs from ”Destroyer”, four from the debut and four from other 70’s albums, the setlist was very much dominated by the old classics. I liked them, but me being an 80’s kid I enjoyed the material from that era the most: ”I Love It Loud”, ”Lick It Up”, ”Heaven’s On Fire” and a surprise inclusion of ”Tears Are Falling”. Even ”War Machine”, not really one of my favourites, sounded massive and got a real boost from the visuals. The latter-day albums haven’t really delivered Kiss classics, only ”Psycho Circus” and the sing-along friendly ”Say Yeah” were played. I guess there might be someone who would have loved to hear more songs from ”Sonic Boom” or ”Monster”, but they’d be in minority. I did a quick comparison to the setlists of the other Kiss shows I’ve seen and I’d say yeah (yeah yeah!), this setlist was the best one too.


A KISS concert is an experience even for those who don’t know their music, as there’s always something going on. There was the Demon spitting fire and blood, the Spaceman shooting UFOs with his guitar, The Starchild flying over the audience and the Catman playing his drum solo on his elevating drum kit. The video screens were used to full effect and the pyros were massive. The gig ended with several huge explosions of confetti, I’m sure the cleaning staff just loved that...

I’m really glad I got to witness this final Kiss show in Finland with my family, and we had a great time! Thank you KISS!

Review & photos by Kimmo Toivonen

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