Tuesday, June 21, 2005

KISStory 9.1.77(The First Night)

Any child of the seventies, who was worth their weight in salt, grew up with an unhealthy fascination with KISS. If not, you must be retarded or have been living in the back woods of Retardedville. They were everywhere; lunchboxes, trading cards, posters, vinyl, comic books, television(who remembers the travesty that was 'The Phantom of the Park'?). They took every marketing device the Beatles had used and turned it on itself. Where the Beatles had signed away virtually every penny that was to be collected in the marketing process, KISS(with the devil/genius that is Gene Simmons) kept every dollar for themselves. I saw him a few years ago on the Howard Stern show promoting the new KISS MasterCard and something called the KISS Casket. That's right, if you have the money and desire, you can send your corpse straight in to Hell riding atop this satin-lined travesty. And make Gene & Paul a little bit richer in the process.
KISS rolled in to my hometown back in September of '77 during their "legendary"(as the opening remarks of the dvd state) Love Gun/Alive II era. My mother would have never let me go to this show at The Summit(now Oasis of Jebus) at the age of 7, so I had to wait until I searched out this gem of a video 25 years later. It's all here. From Gene's fire blowing finale to 'Firehouse' to Paul's glitter-lapelled and bedazzled tuxedo. There's Paul's double necked guitar(eat your heart out Eagles) and Space Aces' brilliant gold top Les Paul.
Bizarre moments included, Paul sporting a red fireman's cap for the length of 'Firehouse' and his 'sing-speak' between song banter(name dropping "Hooo-ston" in his best falsetto at every given opportunity).
Highlights included a raging 'Shock Me' performed by Ace that is so hot that his Les Paul smolders before finally bursting in to flames as he sets it on his guitar stand mid-stage. Other songs of note are, 'I Want You'(a personal fav), 'Dr. Love', 'Shout It Out Loud'. Even the famous side by side front line rockin' left and right move is here(YES!)
Ugly moments include, Paul's near shag-like chest hair that is on prominent display from his navel cut vest. ick! And Gene's black spandex outfit that's split up the side revealing his fish belly white thighs. Double ick!
From the 15ft. high illuminated KISS letters above the stage to the green smoke-filled-blood-spewing bass solo by Gene, it's all spectacle and all good. They had their day and got very rich. Ace and Peter blew it all on drugs, while Paul and Gene sleep atop their mountain of cash each night. They probably all(except for Ace) should have been shot after their disastrous "concept" album of the early 80's, 'Music From The Elder'. Although, I guess Peter had already been kicked out by that point, they should have shot him anyway.
The main part of the show concludes with Paul smashing his "stock" shiny black Ibanez mid stage before tossing the remains to the clamoring fans below. For the encore they plop Peter center stage to sing a mostly off-key version of 'Beth', along with a violin filled backing track. And finally, in a head scratching choice, they finish the show by giving Peter Chris the last word with a, nevertheless, rocking version of 'Black Diamond'. How generous of Gene & Paul. They keep the money and toss him a bone. VIVA SPACE ACE!

iPod Song of the Day: Sleepy Time Time(live) by Cream


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