In 24 hours’ time I will be re-living a major experience from my teenage years. I find it hard to believe even as I write but I’m going to see KISS tomorrow night at Wembley Arena in London, THIRTY-TWO YEARS after seeing them last, playing the same venue (although in those days it was called The Empire Pool Wembley).
You’ve got to hand it to original founders Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons. Despite several different lead guitarists and drummers, and a few years without the makeup and costumes in the 80’s they’ve pretty much stuck to a winning formula, even if it is starting to look more than a bit jaded.
The last time I saw them — I think it was in ’77 when I was 16 — The Destroyer album had just been released. This, their fifth album, was the first I’d heard of their music and I loved it. Shortly thereafter I signed up to The Kiss Army (fan club), and I even had a black PVC faux biker jacket with “KISS” in silver studs on the back. I think the maverick in me refused to conform to the Genesis/Status Quo/Black Sabbath/Pink Floyd herd that were my classmates at school, and I suffered endless piss-taking for my choice. But I didn’t care. I bought the back catalogue of early albums, both live albums Kiss Alive and Kiss Alive II, and absolutely loved their followup to Destroyer: Rock ‘n’ Roll Over.
I still have the LPs on vinyl somewhere — at my Dad’s house I think — but of course I have since re-bought them all digitally and as I write their glam rock beats are thumping out of my iPad.
Anyway, before I get too nostalgic, here, just for fun, are Kiss performing Detroit Rock City then (1976) and now (2006). The latter is a bit less athletic but I think we can forgive them that. I’ll let you know how the concert goes.
Detroit Rock City: 1976
Detroit Rock City: 2006