Paul Stanley literally flies through Donington crowd

Kiss concluded the first night (June 13) of the 2008 Download Festival with an eye-popping stage show.

With pyrotechnics, fireworks and Paul Stanley leaving the stage via a zip wire mid-song, the finale of the band’s set proved impressive.

Taking to the stage at 8.45pm (BST), the group appeared from behind a black and silver Kiss banner while a voice announced over the speakers: “Alright Download you want the best, you got the best, the hottest band in the world Kiss.”

Lowered down on platforms to stage level and surrounded by pyrotechnics, the four-piece, dressed in full costume and make-up, launched into the opening track ‘Deuce’.

Before launching into ‘Strutter’, Paul Stanley told the audience: “Man it seems like tradition every ten years we come to Donnington. We couldn’t have made it this far without you – we salute you Kiss army!”

Playing their classic ‘Alive’ album in its entirety, with synchronised dancing, fireworks and frontman Gene Simmons sticking out his tongue in signature style, the band did not disappoint their faithful.

In the early part of the show, they elongated ‘She’ with a bluesy solo which saw Tommy Thayer playing his guitar held over his head.

Thayer did not stop there though, leaving his guitar to feeback in front of an amp while a roadie handed him another one to continue the song.

That guitar’s neck then proceeded to let off fireworks before the rest of the band returned to the stage.

Throughout the set Paul Stanley kept asking the crowd to scream louder and participate.

At one point he said: “I want you to help us, I want you to sing with us.”

When the crowd were not loud enough for Stanley, he goaded them by saying: “We played in Stockholm to half as many people and they were twice as loud!” The crowd then responded with an even louder cheer.

The band then continued with the set which saw Gene Simmons stalking the stage.

Then, during ‘Cold Gin’, Paul Stanley teased the crowd again by playing the opening riff of Led Zeppelin‘s ‘Stairway To Heaven.

The crowd squealed in delight while Stanley joked: “Nah. Not tonight – but it’d be great if 50,000 people could sing with us.”

After a few more songs and plenty more pyrotechnics and synchronised dancing, Stanley said: “Things change all over the years, politicians come, politicians go, but no matter how many things are going bad take a little time to rock n roll and have a party.”

The band then launched into ‘Rock N Roll All Night’, which saw Stanley swirling his guitar round pretending to hit the stage to the sound of fireworks.

He finally relented and on the third firework smashed his guitar much to the crowd’s joy.

The showmanship didn’t end there though.

For the band’s encore, which saw Simmons return to the stage with a bass guitar in the shape of an axe and for one track get lifted up to the stage’s roof by strings while swilling fake blood in his mouth, Stanley travelled through the crowd on a zip wire.

Before launching into the mass of bodies Stanley declared: “I wouldn’t mind coming out all the way to see you.”

He then asked the crowd to chant his name before launching off the main stage down a zip wire all the way to a mini stage in the centre of the crowd to perform ‘Love Gun’.

Shaking his hips and holding his guitar over his head Stanley was clearly enjoying himself.

After returning to the stage the foursome, surrounded by more exploding fireworks and pyrotechnics, the band concluded with ‘Detroit Rock City’ before bowing and leaving the stage.

After the band had exited TV screens on either side of stage said: “Kiss thanks you.”

Although the band did not play their iconic hit ‘God Gave Rock N Roll To You’ it was blasted over the speakers as roadies cleared up the stage.

Kiss played:

‘Deuce’

‘Strutter’

‘Got To Choose’

‘Hotter Than Hell’

‘Firehouse’

‘Nothing To Loose’

‘C’Mon And Love Me’

‘Parasite’

‘She’

‘Watchin’ You’

‘Rock Bottom’

‘100,000 years’

‘Cold Gin’

‘Let Me Go Rock N Roll’

‘Black Diamond’

‘Rock N Roll All Nite’

‘Shout It Out Loud’

‘Lick It Up’

‘I Love It Loud’

‘I Was Made For Loving You’

‘Love Gun’

‘Detroit Rock City’

Keep up with this weekend’s (June 13-15) festival action as it happens on NME.COM. For news, pictures and blogs keep checking the NME.COM’s Isle Of Wight Festival page and NME.COM’s Download Festival page for live coverage from both sites.

Watch video footage of Kiss in the press conference from earlier in the day, below.