Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A KISS Conversion?

Some of my favorite moments in life are the ones you never see coming. Not that they are particularly great or wonderful, just that they are so far from anything you expected when you woke up that morning.

I have a new moment for the list.

Last Wednesday night, about 10:30PM, I was standing with my buddy Chidsey on the west end of Rio Tinto Stadium in section 17 under a full moon as KISS blasted out the chords to "God Gave Rock and Roll to You" on a brilliantly-lit stage fifty yards away.

This moment is improbable for several reasons, including:

1. I am not a KISS fan.
2. As recently as 4:37PM that afternoon, I had no knowledge of KISS's plans to play a concert in Sandy, Utah that evening (let alone any intention of attending).

Yet, the moment came together. Somebody gave Chidsey a couple of extra tickets to the concert, and Chidsey gave me a call at the precise moment when spending an evening watching four middle-aged men in stage makeup rock out to a collection of innuendo-driven 1970's anthems like "Love Gun" sounded like a perfect idea.

So after two hours and 20 tracks of exposure to the full KISS experience, I still can't quite call myself a fan, much less a full-fledged member of the KISS Army. But I have a much better idea of why the Army digs them so much. Why they get dressed up to go to their concerts. Why they go crazy when the automated stage lifts the drummer's kit forty feet in the air and shoots steam out the bottom to make it look like it's about to blast off into the stratosphere.

Something about those old guys in eight-inch platform boots is pretty fun. Something about them bringing some veterans on stage to present an oversized donation check, then leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance while guitarist Tommy Thayer waves a fifteen-foot American flag is kind of cool. And something about lead singer and "Star Child" Paul Stanley repeatedly referencing the band's new album "Sonic Boom" and how you can get it exclusively at Walmart reminds me that even though we all like to take rock and roll seriously, we really shouldn't.  Especially when a harness lifts 61-year-old Gene Simmons to the top of the stage scaffolding so he can spit blood and play his axe-shaped bass guitar at us from fifty feet in the air.

Almost, thou persuadest me to be a KISS fan...

I'm still not much of a fan of KISS's music. But last night I became a big fan of the KISS Experience.