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Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar

I Wanna Rock and Roll All Night with KISS

Image064.jpg Just got home from the KISS concert, and it was even more awesome than I’d anticipated. Seattle’s Key Arena was pretty packed with rock fans (where but a KISS concert would I overhear in passing a conversation starting with, “So the old lady and me were on the way to the Tacoma Dome to see AC/DC, and then the cops pulled us over and we’d been working through a couple 12-packs of PBR on the way down …”). When my daughter Neve and I arrived at the Key there was a long line waiting to get through security, and a stern recorded female voice was lecturing us about the Key’s security rules (no cameras, no weapons, no outside food or drink, we might, perhaps, be cavity searched if we looked suspicious).

When we got to the front of the line, though, “security” proved to be a tiny blond chick who looked just like Hillary Duff — hell, maybe it was Hillary Duff, have you seen her doing anything lately? — who asked me in a little-girl voice to open my bag, which she gave a cursory, bored peek before waving us through. She missed, among other things, the Swiss Army knife buried in its depths. If I’d known security would be so lax, I would have let Neve bring her camera like she wanted to. Security inside the smoke-free Key apparently wasn’t much tighter; the heady smell of pot smoke kept wafting toward us, which reminded me of the first time my brother and I saw KISS way back in 1979 in Oklahoma City.
buckcherry.jpgThe opener was Grammy-nommed Los Angeles hard rock band Buckcherry (you may be familiar with their love song in praise of the fairer sex, “Crazy Bitch”) and they actually weren’t bad. My brother kind of hated them, but I thought they were very bouncy and enthusiastic, and the lead singer, once you got past the indisputable fact that he kinda looks like the lovechild of Willem Dafoe and Malachi from Children of the Corn, was pretty hot. Or at least, his decorated skin was hot, and I his tight black rocker pants were … very rock star. I think they have those exact pants in the store on Guitar Hero World Tour. Fortunately, the frontman could sing quite well and played the tambourine most enthusiastically, although my musician brother wasn’t impressed with his dance moves (“He didn’t even execute an air kick like David Lee Roth would!”).
As for KISS — holy geez, I can’t believe those guys are still rockin’ it as hard as they are. Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, the only two original members, are still all over the place and man, do they know how to work a crowd. All Simmons had to do was stalk across the stage and wiggle that long, wickedly pointed tongue and the crowd went wild. Stanley, who’s 57 now, still looks damn good wearing a spangly rocker vest with no shirt underneath, and I want the awesome fringed boots he was wearing; if I had boots like that I would absolutely strut as much as he does, all the time. I’d wear them to around Seattle, to film fests, even just to run to the store.
Newer band members Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer, who replaced Peter Chriss and Ace Frehley, respectively, held their own next to the old guard; Simmons and Stanley were always, in my mind, the more important members of KISS anyhow, with Chriss and Frehley satellites orbiting their awesomeness.
I was really impressed by the size of the crowd, at a show where tickets were pretty spendy. The crowd was very loud and enthusiastic, and KISS played an long and enthusiastic set that lasted nearly two full hours, with many pyrotechnics and both Simmons and Stanley, by turns, swooping up in the air over the crowd. We were up on the upper level, and we could feel the heat from the flames shooting up on the set on our faces, and there were more explosions than the Seattle Fourth of July bash.
All in all, a fun, nostalgic evening of rocking out. The best part, though, was sneaking peeks at my brother and his best friend and bandmate as they cut loose and sang along; KISS is the band that made my brother want to be a musician, and watching his face light up as he watched his childhood heroes perform again was the best part of the night for me.

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