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Gene Simmons explains how Download Festival goers are different to US crowds

KISS's Gene Simmons at Download Festival 2015 © Getty

KISS bassist Gene Simmons has praised Download Festival audiences, saying they’re up for a party whatever Mother Nature throws at them.

Having made their Donington Park debut in 1988, KISS co-headlined Monsters of Rock with Ozzy Osbourne in 1996 before headlining Download Festival twice; in 2008 and 2015.

Speaking to The Telegraph about his 46-year touring career, The Demon heaped praise on the Donington Park faithful saying he’s “continually astonished” by their reaction whatever the weather.


KISS at Monsters of Rock 1996 © Getty

He explained: “We’ve headlined at Donington a few times and I’m continually astonished by the fact that, even when it’s raining cats and dogs, 70,000 or 80,000 people are getting drenched, covered in mud, but they’re still jumping up and down like locusts and having the time of their lives.

“At a Californian festival, rain would be a major disaster – but I guess the English are pretty used to it.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Simmons explained what makes a “magical” concert: “They’re about the people.

“The Cavern Club in Liverpool is an iconic space but if you see a bad band perform there, it will be horrible regardless. Ed Sheeran managed to rock Wembley Stadium with just an acoustic guitar – but stadiums aren’t the best places for intimate gigs.”

He also revealed that his most memorable KISS gig ever was in Japan in 1977, saying: German Shepherds and armed police were on call to monitor the audience when we first played at the Budokan in Tokyo.

“They were out en masse to ensure that none of the audience made any noise or moved from their seats while the artist was on stage. At the end, the audience had to clap very politely.

“Obviously, we assumed the show was going terribly, but it was explained to us later. The culture’s changed there but our Japanese and Chinese fans are generally more reserved.”

KISS’s multi-year End of the Road World Tour hits the UK this July for five arena shows. Select tickets are on sale from Planet Rock Tickets now.

See KISS at the following shows:

JULY 2019
Birmingham Arena- Tue 9th
London The O2 – Thu 11th
Manchester Arena – Fri 12th
Newcastle Metro Radio Arena – Sun 14th
Glasgow The SSE Hydro – Tue 16th

>> Click here to buy tickets <<

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