‘We’re bringing fire and brimstone’: Will Kissteria take over the MCG?

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At the height of Kissteria in 1980, Paul Stanley and his Kiss bandmates were holed up in the plush surrounds of their Melbourne hotel as news helicopters circled overhead, fans lined the streets below, and glam rock reached fever pitch.

Their first Australian tour featured a stadium performance at Waverley Park, where more than 40,000 fans crowded into the VFL venue. On Saturday, some of those fans will likely be in the house when the MCG hosts up to 100,000 people for the AFL Grand Final – featuring Kiss as pre-game entertainment.

Kiss (from left) Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer, Paul Stanley, and Eric Singer, are promising an FL pre-match show unlike any other.Credit: Paul Jeffers

“It’s an honour for us to be here,” Stanley said on Thursday at the AFL’s traditional pre-match press conference. “Aussies are passionate, and certainly about this game. It’s going to be a challenge for us to be louder than the crowd, but we’re going to do our best.”

Founding member and bass player Gene Simmons recalled “hiding our faces” on that first visit to Melbourne, and taping the curtains closed at their hotel.

“We took over the top floor, and we were stuck up there because people were trying to get photos of us,” Simmons said from behind dark sunglasses, a baseball cap perched on his head.

Paul Stanley said Kiss were honoured to be playing at Saturday’s AFL Grand Final.Credit: Paul Jeffers

“Melbourne has always been special to us,” Stanley said, ahead of their pre-match gig and what will be the band’s farewell show. Stanley, Simmons, drummer Eric Singer and guitarist Tommy Thayer return home to an American tour, and two final shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden in December, bringing the curtain down on five decades of live shows.

“We plan on blowing things up … and we promise you there’s no meatloaf on the menu,” Stanley said, in a thinly veiled reference to Meatloaf’s underwhelming 2011 pre-match show.

Simmons said the group’s pre-show routine sometimes features groundbreaking Australian band the Easybeats on their stereo, as well as Rose Tattoo, and John Farnham.

“We’re really ramping it up,” he said. “We’re bringing fire and brimstone, everything but the kitchen sink. And we’re sending out a warning to low-flying planes over the stadium …. because we really are going to shake the heavens.”

Veteran singer, songwriter and AFL Grand Final performer Mike Brady has tweaked his classic football anthem Up There Cazaly to honour Ron Barassi, who died aged 87, the day after Barassi’s former clubs Melbourne and Carlton played a thrilling semi-final.

“Because of the passing of the great Ronald Dale Barassi … I thought it would be nice to put him in there, so without pre-empting the line … I’ve added just a little bit about Barassi,” Brady said.

Mark Seymour will be part of the half-time entertainment, and said his sixth AFL Grand Final appearance is just as exciting as his first.

“I’m never more nervous than playing on the turf here,” he said about the MCG. “It’s a massive event, an incredibly powerful feeling … and whoever’s winning at half-time, you have to absorb that as part of your pre-gig psyche.”

Kate Miller-Heidke, whose regional Australian tour begins in January, said she’s thrilled to be singing the national anthem.

“It’s a beautiful moment of togetherness,” she said. “It’s a really gorgeous moment when we can realise that what unites us is so much greater than what divides us.”

Originally from Queensland, Miller-Heidke is also confident about the Lions’ chances of winning a third Grand Final against Collingwood.

“I’m looking forward to the Lions giving the Pies a massive shellacking,” she said.

Composer, didgeridoo player and Queensland’s recent Australian of the Year nominee, William Barton, will also feature in the match day entertainment, along with singer and songwriter Jess Hitchcock.

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