something wicked this way comes

On Wednesday May 20th, 1992, something happened in Wales that may never be repeated again. Wales has had its moments in British history, from the stern resistance but ultimate defeat to the Romans in AD 60, to the conquest of Wales by England in 1282, to the Owain Glyndwr rebellion against English control in 1400, to the Acts of Union in 1536 when Wales became part of the English Empire. But what happened in 1992 gave Wales its own unique moment in British KISStory - a concert at the National Ice Rink in our fair capital of Cardiff. This is what happened in pictures and words...

the advert

KISS had been in the studio some time throughout the Autumn of 1991 recording what would eventually become 'Revenge'. Eric Carr had died suddenly that November, and most wondered if KISS would carry on or not. Of course they would. Bizarrely, the dark mood that had fallen over KISS fans during the Autumn/Winter of '91/'92 was unexpectedely lifted when EastWest released (in various formats!) a single from the 'Bill & Ted Bogus Journey Soundtrack' album. That single was 'God Gave Rock 'n' Roll To You II'. I'd heard this track sometime before during 1991 and didn't think much of it. The single saw the light of day because the 'Bill & Ted' movie was showing all over the country, and these singles are a great way to promote a movie. Unbelievably, KISS had a hit on their hands. Radio was playing the track almost constantly, and coupled with the interest in the 'B&T' movie (and not a few KISS fans also!), the song crashed into the UK Top 10 at a UK chart-equalling KISS performance at a staggering Number 4!!

the ticket

4 years after the last time KISS were 'hip' in the UK ('Crazy, Crazy Nights' had also got to Number 4 in October 1987), KISS were back in the newspapers and gossip columns, particularly memorable was the tabloid 'The Sun's headline "Ten Lip-Smacking Facts A-pout KISS". Before a KISS tour was even beginning to be rumoured a mate of mine declared that KISS were due to play the Cardiff National Ice Rink that following May. 'KISS in Wales? Piss off mate!", I told him as I had him by the lapels "Don't even joke about it!". He told me he'd heard an advert on local radio. I listened out for it the next day, and it wasn't too long before 'God Gave..' came on the radio with a voice-over saying 'America's most outrageous band are here, and are playing at the Cardiff Ice Rink this May. KISS are bringing their full-set; (cue Paul) "This is a show we feel that we owe". Tickets on sale now." This was bloody incredible. KISS usually tour every 4 years in the UK which usually means a long coach trip to England, usually Birmingham or London. Cardiff was virtually my home town!

On 'phoning the Ice-Rink later that day, hearts sank as it was declared that nothing had been confirmed as yet. Will they come? A few short days later it was confirmed and I was lucky enough to get a ticket as the Ice-Rink show would be smallest of the tour - about 3,500 capacity. I think it sold out that day. Just as KISS in Wales was beginning to sink in, yet more shocks were instore - literally 'instore'. KISS were to attend a record-signing session at Cardiff's branch of HMV the day of the gig. This was dreamworld. May 20th just couldn't come around quickly enough! As it was, it was a glorious day with temperatures well in the 20s and we had much fun in spotting all the hundreds of KISS fans in lurid KISS t-shirts lurking on every corner in Cardiff.

Bruce in Wales!

The band themselves were very cool. Paul in particular made a lot of effort to sign everything and anything people had brought in with them (we were supposed to be restricted to one item), and even left his station to go down the line of fans who would not get to see the band because of the sheer amount of people waiting in front of them. It was over too quickly, and after being interviewed outside the store by BBC Wales News on why we liked the band so much (no KISS clips ever aired on BBC Wales), we decided to look after the stuff we'd had signed and headed home before coming back in that evening for the gig.

Eric in Wales!

The show itself was jsut about the greatest gig I've seen (KISS or otherwise), and Eric Singer is on the record as saying that the Cardiff show was the most enjoybale and intense of the tour. It was quite funny to see the size of Leon, he was barely visible most of the time as the place was so small with such a low ceiling. As it turned out, the low ceiling would cost the band dear. Despite selling a few suitcases worth of KISS knickers and t-shirts, any profit made went up in smoke the moment Paul warbled his usual intro to 'Heaven's On Fire'. The resulting pyro (pictured below!!) caused 30,000 worth of damage to the ceiling, and it even made the papers the next day!

Paul introduces Heavens On Fire!!

The Revenge tour was excellent, far better than when KISS came over in 1988 to support 'Crazy Nights' and promote 'Smashes'. KISS had gone for the full monty, and we were impressed! I particularly remember one Spinal Tap moment when Leon the Sphinx was supposed to speak during 'God of Thunder' (pictured below). If he was saying 'I am the lord of the wastelands' it wasn't in English!

Leon speaks!  God of Thunder

My parents were with me (well, at the back, watching from afar!) and it was with some pride that I saw KISS reel off their hits, knowing all too well that my folks at the back would know each and every one of them! If these photos aren't enough to whet your appetite of Cardiff May 20th, there is a bootleg video doing the rounds - the guy waving his t-shirt over his head during 'Rock And Roll All Nite' is me having fun.

Enjoy the rest of my Welsh KISS photos

Gene does his bit for ozone depletion

..and Bruce goes wild

This page is under construction - more photos still to be posted