A Night With KISS

There are very few rock concerts that I have attended in the past couple years that really stand out in my mind as an amazing experience. Earlier this year I was able to see Guns N Roses for the first time. Yes I know it wasn’t the entire band, but GNR was the first big rock band that I listened to in a pseudo-rebellious stage during my teen years. What I experienced this weekend would have to top my much loved GNR. This Saturday I had the opportunity to not only attend a KISS concert for the very first time, I got to do it in style.

Before I describe this kick-ass show, I have to admit that I haven’t really been a KISS fan. It isn’t that I don’t like their music; I just never really listened to them. Sure I recognize the oft-played titles that are common on the rock airwaves, and I have caught glimpses of Gene Simmons’ television show, but I can’t say I could name a single song.

Before all you rock and roll super fans get all pissy with me, and yes I can hear your future disgusted gasps, I will tell you that this weekend I became a really big fan. Saturday afternoon I arrived at the venue of the KISS and Mötley Crüe show in Tampa Bay Florida. Inside I was able to go back stage and meet some really cool roadies as well as Gene Simmons when he arrived with Paul, Tommy, and Eric.

Now there are probably some grumpy folks out there who would bitch to me about this not being the true band with the two missing original members. Well I have to tell you as a new fan, I was really impressed by the band as it is today. Before the show and getting into costume and makeup, KISS met with a few select fans in a tent behind the stage. Most of the people were old school hard core fans. Gene, along with Paul and the guys, sat down behind rigged up guitars and a single snare drum and proceeded to chit chat with each other and the group. They then began to play a few select tunes that fans would shout out and then give Gene a hard time about forgetting the words. All four band members were great as they riffed and sang.

After about an hour the guys walked around in the group of people and signed whatever was put in front of them and stopped to take pictures with all who asked. While this was going on, I heard one guy tell Paul thank you. Paul stopped, turned back to the man and in the most heartfelt voice I’d ever heard from a rock and roll star thank him for being there. “We love you guys,” he said, and I could see in his eyes that he really meant it.

Another thing that really impressed me was when an older guy near the back mentioned to Tommy Thayer that his son was serving in the military and that he really appreciated what KISS did for the men and women in uniform. Tommy told one of the stage hands to make sure Gene knew about this guy’s son. Gene, who was last around the room due to taking so much time with each fan, spent several minutes with this guy talking to him about his son and made a special effort to make him feel welcome. I didn’t hear what Gene said to him, but I could see the emotion on the man’s face as he talked about his boy in uniform.

Later, when the Crüe show was wrapping up, the same group of fans was ushered back to the tent and was able to take pictures with the band in full makeup and costume. Once again they were great with everyone.

As a new fan the only thing I can say about the actual KISS show is that it ROCKED! Every band out there on tour today could learn something from what I witnessed. It was the best concert I have seen to date, (Sorry GNR) and it brought to mind all the stories I have heard from people who went to rock shows back in the golden age of hair bands and metal. I was mesmerized and loved every second of it. Knowing how gracious these guys are in person, and seeing the way they treat their fans, combined with the artistry and sheer rock and roll awesomeness that they exude on stage, solidifies my membership into the KISS Army.

Long live rock and roll!

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2 Responses to “A Night With KISS”

  1. I’ve been a KISS fan since 1977, and I love every era and lineup, including this one. Welcome to the club.

    The only member I’ve met was Ace Frehley, and he was kind of a dick.

    • Chris, I know what you mean. I have had heard a lot of horror stories about differant famous people, and I suppose everyone has an off day with fan bombardment, but these guys were a class act.

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