All photography and content © John Raptis Photography 2020

KISS Live @ Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

After almost 10 years of being a Rock Photographer and after a couple of near opportunities, I finally photographed KISS.

It finally happened. It finally came to pass. The stars aligned. The heavens parted. The Earth shook! Oh boy did it shake!

After almost 10 years of being a Rock Photographer and after a couple of near opportunities, I finally photographed KISS.

As a fan for 40 years, (yes, I can assure you, you heard right!) I found myself in KISS’ photo-pit. As surreal a moment as I have ever experienced.

In all their bombastic glory they were there directly in front of me and I was wondering if my camera’s lens hood would melt from the flames, fire and fury. Or bust from the force of the guitar picks that Paul Stanley was throwing in my general direction.

Whilst some may argue that the current incarnation of the band isn’t the real deal, (and I for one have not been a fan of it!) it is damn hard to argue that point at all when you turn your back from the photo-pit and see Rod Laver Arena full to capacity. It is an incredible sight and one that made the hairs on my neck stand upright. Try telling the massive throng in attendance tonight that this was not the real deal. That this is not KISS. That this is a tribute!

I have witnessed KISS many times over the years. My first concert I ever experienced was KISS in 1980 (with he incredible Eric Carr). I have seen them again in 1997 on the reunion tour numerous times, 2001 (Gene, Paul, Eric Singer and Ace version), and 2004. Yes, they are getting a little long in the tooth so who knows how much longer they can continue. Rest assured, I was and am convinced, this would be one of the last opportunities I ever got to photograph them.

Witnessing them again tonight, I was left astounded at the sheer energy levels that pour forth from the incredible stage. Energy and power that most bands half of KISS’ age can only dream of.

Granted, Paul’s voice is not what it once was, he made up for it by giving every single ounce of his being – to the full house at Rod Laver Arena. Every muscle and sinew of his body, was left up there on that stage.

His prowess as a frontman, a genuine ring-leader has never left him.

Whilst I was in the photo-pit photographing him, he came to the very edge of the stage. Fell to his knees and made sure every single photographer working the pit tonight – got their shot. The consummate professional.

The entire stage seemed to come to life. A gigantic light rig twisted and turned like a futuristic glass spider. Twisting and contorting to the music and providing the best light show I have ever seen.

KISS ploughed through a set of classic tunes inter spread from their vast catalogue. No surprises there but the connection between audience and band was simply electric.

They’ve been doing this long enough and hard enough over the years that they come across as an incredibly rehearsed, bombastic and professional entertainment unit. There’s nothing quite like a KISS show and it is astounding to see just how much of the live music industry they have pioneered.

They’re not kidding when they introduce themselves as the hottest band in the world.

A night with KISS is an unforgettable one.

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5 thoughts on “KISS Live @ Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne”

  1. Hey John,

    What an outstanding collection of photos mate and I’m sure this is the one gig that will bring a smile every time you think about it.

    As always, fantastic work my friend.


  2. Hey John,

    Just wanted to say how absolutely amazing these images are from the gig last night.

    Kudos to you

    Great work


  3. Amazing work JR
    You absolutely nailed it…
    But I expected nothing less.. you are so bloody talented.
    Congratulations on finally realising your lifelong dream!!

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