Last minute decisions are often the
best ones and last nightís was no exception, except maybe that last
beer; Iím sure it was rotten. Heads I go, tails I donít. The coin spins
up into the air, lands in my palm and I flip it over. Heads! Yes! Rock
and Roll! I settle my bar tab, say some quick goodbyes and jog to the
station, just in time to catch the next intercity to Amsterdam-Zuid.
Jogging, of course, is no fun in 32c (equals fucking stupid, actually),
necessitating a quick stop at the Appie to buy some emergency
refrigeration in the form of a can of Hoegaarden... well three
actually... two to drink, one to plant on forehead like icepack (ended
up drinking that one too, very naughty). I load up my transport card,
crash through the gates, sprint up the escalator, dive through the
trainís closing doors and plonk myself down on a folding seat... and
then the sweat starts pouring out. In fact Iím still sweating by the
time I get to Bijlmer-Arena station, even after a detour to Duivendrecht
and a couple of stops on the metro, courtesy of NS fuck-ups. Whatís new.
By the time I have speed-walked the
fourteen kilometers from the station to the Ziggodome, flipping a finger
at Ajax on the way, I look like Iím suffering from a terminal bout of
dengue fever. I was late, again and sweatier than a ball-bag in an
Ace-suit. I wipe my brow on my shirt sleeves (yuk), open Ticketswap,
search for a standing ticket, procure one for 45 euros and, realising
that I have finally managed to financially outfox Gene Simmons, do a lap
of victory around my now discarded (third) can of Hoegaarden. Of course
he got his full quota of bucks from the other guy but, hey, celebrate
victories where you can, folks. I can hear Detroit Rock City booming in
the background so I flash my ticket at the door-dude and jog some
more... more exercise, itís thirsty work, so I had to buy another
beer... well first I had to jog back to the drink tokens counter (ffs,
ever heard of bank card payment, Mr Ziggodome?), buy some extortionately
priced tokens (capitalist uber cunts!), and then jog back to the bar,
making a quick pitstop at the merch stand... where Gene of course
manages, once again, to financially outfox me. Ah well, been there, got
the t-shirt! Beer and mega-priced but very cool t-shirt in hand, I enter
the hall... itís packed. How the hell am I going to find my two buddies,
aka Metal Experience paparazzi? I canít see them and I try to shout out
their names, loudly, but am drowned out by Shout It Out Loud banging out
of the PA. Kiss are in town, kids, and they mean business, both
musically and in the more usual sense of the word. I decide to send them
a text (my buddies, not Kiss) and they kindly pick me up and escort me
to where they are standing. Thanks
Kiss, for me, was the band of my
childhood. I bought Love Gun from a school friend about two weeks after
it came out... he hated it (fucking weirdo!) and I just dug it,
instantly. Within no time my walls were plastered with pictures of the
Starchild, Demon, Catman and Spaceman (I preferred the Space-Ace tag)
and I used to hassle my father to get me Kiss crap (albums, dolls,
comics, tapes, hats, shirts, toilet paper, wigs etc) whenever he went to
the States on business... he often came good and my memories of Kiss are
somehow intertwined with memories of him. Iím sure God is still giving
rock and roll to him, in the big stadium in the sky, God rock his soul.
I quite rapidly got hold of their back catalogue... Kiss, Hotter Than
Hell, Dressed to Kill, Destroyer and Rock And Roll Over... loved it all.
Then came Dynasty with two tracks that propelled them into the
mainstream in Europe... loved that too. Then Unmasked... finally I
thought weíd get to see what they looked like, but no joy, kids. Music
From The Elder was really the Kiss album that marked the end of my Kiss
Army years. I loved that album (WWH may actually be my third fave Kiss
song) but I was slowly starting to veer towards heavier, punkier,
thrashier stuff. I didnít really follow them after that, that is unless
they were playing live... Kiss live is usually something else and is
really not to be missed, especially since they re-donned the suits and
makeup. Last night I almost did miss it (silly, stupid boy).
Last nightís show had everything...
enough pyro to blow up Geneís bank vault, Paul Stanley flying across
the stadium at a height almost nearing that of Geneís ego, a rising
drum-riser, two huge ascending platforms for The Demon and Ace (fake
Ace, folks), lasers, lights, blood spitting (I will conveniently forget
the image of Gene wiping the blood from his face with a nice, clean
white towel), big black and white Kiss balloons, fire-breathing,
revolving gantries that moved out over the crowd, more solos than you
could count (or indeed want), and the most giantest, biggest, massivest
ticker tape/paper cumshot which totally covered the crowd and filled
every beer in the house with red and white paper (glad it was paper)...
Oh and songs, quite a few actually. Iím not going to list the whole set
(canít be arsed) but we got, among others, Detroit Rock City, Deuce, I
Love It Loud, Dr Love, 100,000 Years (my all time fave Kiss song...
yipppppeeeee), Cold Gin, God Of Thunder, Love Gun (with the Starchild
flying across the crowd)), Black Diamond (my second all time fave Kiss
song.... double yipppppleeeeee, I Was Made For Loviní You, Beth... and
the grand finale, Rock And Roll All Nite.
It was worth it. I had been somewhat
hesitant to go as had heard quite a few negative reports on recent
shows. All bollocks. This was Kiss, the greatest rock and roll band this
sweet, mother earth of ours will ever see. I really, really, really,
really hope that this isnít the end of the road for my childhood heroes.
If it is then for me, at least, they went out with a bang. Thanks guys,
yes even Gene, for the years of fun, but please come back! A world
without Kiss will sort of feel like my childhood finally ebbing away....
Noooooooo, please God help me! The way home was suitably shite, as
always, but made better by a Whopper Cheese and by my towering strength
of will that convinced me not to grab one last ale (itís never just
one!) at Rock Cafť Lazaruís. As I write this Iím both happy that I went
and sad that it may have been the last time.
Kiss still rule, kids! (AJ)