How I’ll Remember KISS, The Hottest Band in the World
KISS closes out their “End of the Road” farewell tour on Dec. 2 in front of a sold-out crowd at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The show will be filled with their massive hits and their equally massive stage show. Fire will burn, fireworks will be lit and, most importantly, blood will be spat.
Inside MSG will be multiple generations, from baby boomers to even Gen Z. In fact, that final show will likely have some actual families in attendance together. That’s what I first experienced when I saw KISS for the first time on Sept. 7, 2003 at Comerica Park in Detroit when I was 17.
I didn’t go to many concerts as a young child. Money was often tied up in the various sports and other activities my older brother and I were involved in. However, as an older teen, I started going to more shows thanks to being able to work and have my own money.
In 2003, KISS toured with Aerosmith. When the tour was announced, I was dying to go. But even with my own money, ticket prices were a bit steep for a teen. Somehow, they weren’t too steep for my then-21-year-old brother, who bought a pair of tickets for my 17th birthday. We went to the show together with a couple of his friends.
This stop on the tour was originally scheduled for Aug. 15, 2003, which would’ve meant a Friday night bash in Detroit Rock City. Unfortunately, the Northeast blackout of 2003 caused the show to be postponed to Sept. 7, which was a Sunday (ick!) and the night before a big test I had in my psychology class (double ick!). Even though our group was annoyed about the new Sunday night date, we were all still super pumped for the show.
Walking around the concourse of Comerica Park provided for some epic people-watching, but what caught my eye immediately was a father and a young son walking hand-in-hand. Dad was dressed as Paul Stanley, and the son was dressed as Gene Simmons. Their outfits and makeup were flawless. The only people that looked better than them were the actual Starchild and Demon.
After seeing faux Paul and faux Gene, I began to notice more family groupings walking around together. There were plenty of parents with their children, but the best groups were grandparents with their children and grandchildren. Parents have long shared their favorite music with their children for generations, but there’s something truly special about literally seeing that shared bond at a concert.
KISS may be one of the most fun bands to pass down through the generations. Just look at them! A black and silver gang of comic book characters come to life is a pretty easy sell to a child. Plus, they had fun, catchy songs that are undeniable.
It’s my firm belief that most teens who have gotten into rock music in the past three or four decades have undoubtedly gone through a “KISS phase,” regardless of whether their introduction to the band was from a previous generation. I sure as hell went through a “KISS phase.” If you say you didn’t, you’re either lying to look “cool,” or you just don’t like having fun. (I said what I said. Feel free to come at me. Then again, if you take issue with my statement and don’t even like KISS, why are you even reading this, you absolute weirdo? Again, I said what I said.)
So, with the “End of the Road” finally here for KISS and my brief rant aside, I can’t help but think of the generations of fans who loved their music. Those generations will continue to do so and will also continue to pass down those epic albums.
And I can’t help but be transported to that warm Sunday evening in Detroit in 2003 with my brother. I fondly remember standing to his right and us screaming the “Hey hey hey hey yeah!” hook to “I Love It Loud.” That night is one of my favorite memories of us together, and it’s one I cherish deeply since his untimely passing in 2020.
Here’s to the members of KISS: Enjoy your final show as the hottest band in the world. May you cherish it with the same energy that has fueled the KISS Army for generations and will continue to do so for future generations.