Seventies rock titans Kiss are old enough to know better - and so were their fans who dressed up in customary face paint and glam-rock getup for last night's show.

Gene Simmons is playing a bass guitar shaped like a giant axe. Stabbing at it so a demonic riff erupts from the speakers, the Kiss icon is eyeballing his Kiwi fans while blood pools in his mouth, drips down his legendary tongue and splashes onto his silver space armour.

Did we mention that Simmons is standing on top of a giant spider rig dangling metres above Vector Arena's stage? Did we also mention that he flew up there? And that he's 66 years old? Sixty flippin' six?

Gene Simmons performs with Kiss at Vector Arena. Photo/Greg Bowker
Gene Simmons performs with Kiss at Vector Arena. Photo/Greg Bowker

Yes, '70s rock troopers Kiss are old enough to know better. So was last night's crowd, many of whom had dressed in customary face paint and glam-rock getup for the occasion.

Some took it even further: three Kiss wannabes who stole the pre-show entertainment with their ridiculous rock star poses sported fake tongues and thigh-high moon boots, strutting their stuff in the bleachers and earning cheers from the lubricated masses below.

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They and the rest of Vector's rabid fans were promised a "night you'll never forget" when the real deal arrived on stage and New York glam-rock veterans Kiss certainly set about delivering exactly that.

Before Simmons' bloody, gravity-defying theatrics provided a gruesome midset highlight at Vector Arena last night, he'd already licked, then fellated, his microphone during their 1976 single Do You Love Me? in a way that probably made those in the front rows wish they'd bought seats a little further back.

Paul Stanley and Tommy Thayer perform with Kiss at Vector Arena. Photo/Greg Bowker
Paul Stanley and Tommy Thayer perform with Kiss at Vector Arena. Photo/Greg Bowker

And during early highlight Psycho Circus, ridiculously fit front man Paul Stanley bent over and played guitar solos between his legs.

Later on, he flew over the crowd to a stage at the back of the arena to perform Love and Black Diamond on a tiny stage, shimmying and shaking in a way that belied his 63 years while paper fountains erupted on fans below him.

Not to be outdone, guitarist Tommy Thayer shot firework cannons across the stage from his guitar while drummer Eric Singer flailed away behind him.

There's no doubting Kiss' prowess at delivering a stadium rock show like no other. They've been doing this for five decades, and last night proved their experience with a well-paced show that contained more pyro than a professional fireworks display and enough camp glam-rock theatrics to outdo a Rocky Horror fan convention.

Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer and Paul Stanley of Kiss perform at Vector Arena. Photo/Greg Bowker
Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer and Paul Stanley of Kiss perform at Vector Arena. Photo/Greg Bowker

Sure, Kiss' '70s anthems are starting to show their age. Try Lick It Up, which is really nothing more than a series of riffs and a really stupid chorus to chant drunkenly with the masses; or the pounding chug of War Machine, which had Simmons leering at the crowd as robotic Cyberman appeared on the big screens behind him.

Kiss' two best songs - I Was Made for Lovin' You and Rock and Roll All Nite - were obviously and predictably delivered last.

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But music criticisms didn't matter. Simmons proved his point when he lit an Olympic torch and blew fire over his bandmates during War Machine. It's not about the music, it's about celebrating a legacy while proving age is no barrier when delivering an over-the-top rock 'n' roll show.

On that front, Kiss still know how to deliver one hell of a good time - with an occasional tongue-lashing to boot.

* What did you think of the show? Post your comments below.