Saturday, February 7, 2009

Kiss - June 27, 2000

Please allow me to preempt this concert memory by stating two things. The first is that Kiss is my all time favorite rock group ever. They have been since high school, and I expect that they will be until I pass. Second, when I attended this concert, I honestly believed it was the farewell tour and that Kiss was done. I didn’t know how long the tour would last, but I really believed they would tour no more. Hence, I thought I was attending what would be my last Kiss concert ever.

A warm early summer night in New Jersey was the setting for this concert. The night before, I had attended a Bruce Springsteen concert at Madison Square Garden, and now I would be seeing my favorite band of all time for what could be the last time ever. Kiss was in the midst of their infamous farewell tour with all four original members, and the evening was setting up to be a classic, filled with blood, exploding bombs, fireworks, and plenty of theatrical makeup.

The opening acts for the night were Skid Row, without Sebastian Bach, and The Motor City Madman, Ted Nugent. I had never seen either of them live before, and although my interest in Skid Row without Bas was low, my interest in seeing Ted Nugent was very high. I had never been a big Nugent fan growing up, but I appreciated what he did, and I loved his time in Damn Yankees.

Skid Row took the stage first and without Sebastian, they were pretty awful. I know I was biased. I know that I wanted to hear the original vocalist and I may not have given them a fair shot, but 18 and Life, I Remember You, and Youth Gone Wild, just sounded like a cover band. I was happy when they ended their set, which is a shame.

Ted Nugent came out next and as mentioned, I never saw him in concert before, and to tell the truth, really didn’t know a lot of his songs. I never got into Ted. I knew the hits, but that was all.

Nugent was insane in concert, and I mean that in a good way! He was wild and full of energy. Extremely entertaining!

Ted owned the stage for the 45 minutes that he was on it. He took control of the crowd and command of the venue. Well known hits were performed alongside songs that I did not know, but that didn’t matter. I was thoroughly entertained by Mr. Nugent whether I knew the song or not. He was fun to watch.

His big closer was Great White Buffalo for which Ted dressed in a large Indian Head Dress and produced a bow and arrow. We all know that Uncle Ted is the great big hunter and apparently very good at what he does. Well, for his big finale, he produced a buffalo skin target and placed it at one end of the stage. Then he stood at the other end with a flaming arrow. Let her rip! Whap! Great White Buffalo indeed. Ted was pretty amazing for the short amount of time that he was onstage.

When the house lights went dark again, we all knew what time it was. The crowd erupted in anticipation. The announcer’s voice came in loud and clear, “All right New Jersey…! You wanted the best! You got the best! The hottest band in the land! KISS!!!”

Cue the opening notes of Detroit Rock City and we were off and running. Fireworks, explosions, clashing guitars, ripping drums, and lots of theatrics…Kiss had definitely taken the stage.
Their sound was strong and Paul’s voice was in top form. For the next two hours Kiss was going to rock our world and entertain us like no one else could. All the classics were played for the farewell tour. Detroit, led into Shout It Out Loud, which was followed by Deuce, I Love It Loud, and Shock Me which came much earlier in the set compared to previous Kiss concerts.

Just before Do You Love Me Paul addressed the crowd. He told us how wonderful we were and how amazing Kiss fans are in general. He told us that this was the end. He told us that there would be no more Kiss after this tour. He thanked us for the years of memories and opportunity. It was a rousing speech, and again, I believed him when he said this was the end.

The band launched into Do You Love Me complete with a video montage of the classic moments in Kisstory, and I have a confession to make-I got choked up. I wasn’t bawling like a baby, but a few tears sneaked out of my eyes. Perhaps I was tired from the late night I spent at the Garden the evening before, but I don’t think so. I think it was true emotion. Paul and the rest of the band had struck a nerve and I was truly going to miss them and the experiences they had been a part of my life for. It was a sad moment of remembrance and I was grieving.

I quickly rebounded, as did the rest of the band, playing an onslaught of hit after hit after hit. No deep cuts allowed. Ace’s rocket guitar solo was there. Paul’s trip to the center of the audience was there. Gene’s blood dripping bass solo? Check. And least we forget, yes, there was fire breathing.

An amazing rendition of Black Diamond closed out the main set and proved to be a perfect song to end it. Going back to where it all began, having all four members of the group sing on the song. It was a true Kiss moment, especially with the extended jam at the end of the song. Thank you goodnight!

But it was not the last song. The encore came a few minutes later, as we knew it would, and the final song of the evening was Rock and Roll All Night which was a kick ass, party performance by the band, at the end of a long, two-hour set. Confetti flew, bombs exploded, everyone was on their feet, screaming, singing, dancing, and enjoying the night for what it was, a rock and roll extravaganza.

When the song ended the boys came together to take their bow, and we gave them a deafening ovation. This was the end, or so I thought at the time. However, it would be the last time that I would see the four original members together, so it was the end of an era at the very least. I clapped my hands and screamed as loud as I could along with the rest of the crowd. Thank you very much for the music and the memories.

Detroit Rock City
Shout It Out Loud
I Love It Loud
Shock Me
Do You Love Me
Calling Dr. Love
Psycho Circus
Heaven’s On Fire
Let Me Go Rock And Roll
2000 Man
Lick It Up
God Of Thunder
Cold Gin
100,000 Years
Love Gun
Black Diamond

Rock And Roll All Night

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