It's hard not to like KISS.
In fact, for me, it's hard not to love KISS. I spent a handful of my mid-teen years bouncing around my bedroom listening to "Alive," and I'd be dishonest not to admit that one of the very first things I did once I had an iTunes account was to make sure I had a digital version of "Strutter."
But the unfortunate reality is that it's also nearly impossible not to loathe KISS. The band's output through the 80's is beyond embarrassing; in fact, were there such a thing as art crimes against humanity, Paul Stanley would certainly be at the Hague at this very instant for crafting the lyrics to "Let's Put the X in Sex."
On top of that, these guys have embraced consumerism in a way that makes even Mick Jagger wince. Simply put: Gene Simmons is in a league of his own when it comes to whoring himself, selling out, and generally fleecing his fans for every penny they have.
And I suppose that's where my little ticket stub comes in.
My college roommate of three years was a huge KISS nerd. Totally obsessive, completely apologetic for the band, and boundless (infectious, in fact) in his enthusiasm in seeing the tour behind the completely awful "Revenge" album.
I have no excuse. He totally convinced me to go to this with him and his old high school buddy.
(True story, these two guys were totally stereotypical North Philly Italian-American mulletted, unshaven, hockey-enthusiast hobbits. They stood maybe 5'4" a piece, they dressed in sweatpants 24-7 and they were possibly the two most homophobic kids I had ever met.
Together, these two fellers had formed a band in high school, and named it after a KISS song entitled - no shit - "Flaming Youth."
Sweardagod. You can't make this shit up).
I think this was the last (or one of the last) KISS tours before they put the makeup back on.
It was not a memorable show by any stretch. Actually, it was totally weak. Gene looked as though his thighs and ass had been coated in Crisco to get him in the XXXL leather pants, but that didn't stop him from attempting a handful of clumsy dropkicks that made Elvis look like Mr. Miagi.
On top of that, the whole damned band were all doing that really lame choreographed hand motion during the chorus of "Tears are Falling". (Well, obviously, except whatever substitute teacher was playing drums for them in that era).
I missed the first half of this concert because the college jazz band had a show that evening that I had to play. Not only did I miss them playing my favorite KISS song ("Parasite"), but I think that I also missed Faster Pussycat opening up for them.
I never thought I'd find myself regretting missing Faster Pussycat, but weird things happen as you get older...