Ahhh the good old internet, the magic box in the corner of the room that not only liberally feeds us with as much porn as our nuts and pleasure buttons can cope with but also allows us access to a plethora of gigs all over the world.
So when you are Kiss fan and they announce a rather attractive US arena jaunt (this time in support of new album 'Sonic Boom') you can't help but start feeling the urge to max that plastic wand of cash. So, after much deliberation (in reality about two seconds), off I go armed with a girth of E-tickets, from Newport to London to New York in the wink of an eye.
What follows are random thoughts/snippets of the trip that followed. So if you will excuse me one slight cliché when I say, "You wanted the best, and you got the best, the hottest band in the world, Kiss"
Rocking in The USA (Über style)
That eyewink I mentioned took about fourteen hours but here I am, sitting in a bar in the so called Big Apple, completely knackered with the toothache to end all toothaches. I am rock!
The immediate plan is drink and sleep, then tomorrow, a swoop around the city prior to a train ride across Long Island to the mighty Nassau Coliseum where I will witness Kiss for the 26th time. It's been a whole year since my last dose of cheesy 70's throw back glam and I'm raring to go. My tooth hurts though.... cocks!!
Though our hotel is a bit of a dump, it is in a great spot - not only is it opposite Penn Station, the hub of our travels, it's also right next to the mighty Madison Square Gardens!
Okay, a quick trip under the Hudson to New Jersey to Newport Shopping Mall to worship at the alter of Spencer Gifts, home to all manner of rock 'n' roll tat. It's shite - we leave. Back to New York, it's grubbier than I remembered and, thanks to the so called 'credit crunch', the exchange rate has tipped idle purchases way out of favour, so everything seems pretty pricey. The temple of rock that was the Virgin Megastore has gone, along with almost every other music emporium in the City. Time to get my waddle on, as Kiss are calling. Off to Penn Station, conveniently positioned opposite our hotel and onto Uniondale, home of the aforementioned venue. About an hour on the train at the bargain price of $13 return and we're there... The middle of fucking nowhere.
Obviously I'd heard of Nassau Coliseum by its reputation, and like every mythical rock 'n' roll venue it get's built up in your mind to something akin to the Disney Castle. Well, back down to earth with a very loud bump as it's a concrete Seventies cavern in the middle of a massive car park surrounded by multi lane freeways. Nothing to do and nowhere to go (in fact 'Nowhere To Run' may have be written here, it would be perfect inspiration) and the doors don't open for four hours. My tooth hurts.
After wandering about the car park for a while we meet up with quite a few familiar European faces - what a bunch of sad bastards we die-hard Kiss fans are eh? - and as if by magic the Americans begin to appear. They pull up in their gigantic cars, find a spot in the slowly filling car park, crack open the beers, light up the barbeque and start to throw around their egg shaped "footballs." Brilliant, it's as clichéd as you can get, and if it wasn't for the bloody pain in my mouth I could be in heaven. It hurts and my heaven is most certainly on fire, bugger.
Okay, on to the show. Everyone has an opinion on Kiss, usually about who should and should not be wearing the make up, but bollocks, I defy anyone not to go ape shit crazy when the lights go down and the familiar "You wanted the best...." intro rings out from the PA. I, along with 20,000 US Kiss Army recruits, go crazy!
The set list itself is largely based on the 'Alive' set that Europe got last year but has been slightly tweaked with the inclusion of a couple more later Seventies tunes. Plus it's rejigged a bit to give it more of a flow.
I think Kiss have given fans pretty much what they've asked for this time around, new costumes, a new stage and a new album. Only 'Modern Day Delilah' is featured in tonight's set from the new album but it does sound great. Performance wise, from the moment they rise up from below the stage to the strains of the killer opening riff of 'Deuce' to the final apocalyptic pyro onslaught of 'Detroit Rock City', they look and sound one hundred percent on their game.
I will concede that Paul holds his voice back a little bit but Eric is easily able to pick up any slack. Tommy's solo spot is a bit too much like Ace's on previous Kiss tours but the effects do look great.
The set list: Deuce - I Stole Your Love - Got To Choose - Modern Day Delilah - Hotter Than Hell - C'mon And Love Me - Parasite - She (Tommy Solo) - Watchin You - 100,000 Years (Eric Solo) - I Love It Loud - Gene's solo - Black Diamond - Rock And Roll All Nite
Encore: Shout It Out Loud - Lick It Up - King Of The Night Time World - Love Gun - Detroit Rock City
I'm merched up to the max and happy, gig number one is over but tomorrow night it's Madison Square Garden, a real rock 'n' roll icon of a venue.
With a day to kill we set off to see the sites, not the typical ones, the sad bastard rock 'n' roll ones. We visit the entrance to the Kiss loft where Kiss auditioned Ace in '73 and the entrance to the Electric Lady Studios where Kiss recorded many times. I even sniffed out Handsome Dick Manitoba's bar, but it was shut! Balls!
We visit a bar next to the hotel where we are treated like conquering heroes by the assembled Kiss throng. They are in semi awe of our quest across the pond to see Kiss and reward us via the medium of free ale. My new best friends are two blokes from New Jersey, Meatloaf and Jerry Only; well, that's who they looked like anyway. Jerry was awesome, after popping to the peep show next door for a tug, he drinks a flaming vodka through his nose then proceeded to tell us how he wants to come to England to shag Billie Piper! His brother Meatloaf, though pissed, is on a mission to cure me of my toothache, so he can feed me with alcohol. He runs off to a pharmacy to get me some US wonder potions to dull my face ache. What a guy!
Anyway back to the show, tonight it's row 8 centre, one row behind last night. The Garden may look nothing from the outside but inside it's steeped in arena rock history and tonight another 20,000 Kiss Army recruits are ready to absorb Kiss in their true spiritual home. The show is pretty much the same as last night, 'King Of The Night Time World' and 'I Stole Your Love' are out and 'Cold Gin' and 'Strutter' are in their place. A bit of variation in the show but a bit close to the last tour for my liking. They're not recording tonight's show either due to union laws, bastards!!
Show over, teeth still throbbing, I stumble out of the show with another bag of merch, and shite, it's Sam Yaffa & Mike Monroe!!! I dive in like a ninja to get photos, though Mike had been spotted and was already posing like a trooper. Sammi meanwhile seemed a touch surprised when I approached him and start chatting about the forthcoming New York Dolls Euro jaunt. I think I spotted Todd Youth also lurking about too; um....that Demolition 23 reunion he mentioned a while back to two of my Über Röck comrades anybody?
Okay, two gigs down, but my bastard teeth are hurting so much I've given up eating, but thanks to the 'Loaf I've now discovered a whole new potion to numb my entire jaw, and it's ecstasy!
It's Monday now so it's off to Philadelphia for gig number three. Surprisingly, it's only an hour on the train from Penn Station to central Philadelphia, then only a short walk to the Hard Rock Cafe. After a quick drink it's off to find a Walmart, in search of the alleged 'Kiss Korner' in every store.
Walmart is a strange beast - somewhere between Lidl and Asda - and, though we didn't find the mythical temple of Kiss, we did manage to pick up a selection of Kiss goodies including t-shirts, all at a measly $5 each. Bargain!!! After walking very gingerly through a ghetto hellhole we finally reach our hotel and then it's just a short walk to the venue. My mouth has stopped hurting and I'm in row 3, dead centre. I'm in Kiss heaven.
Buckcherry, who I've just noticed I'm yet to mention, put in another great performance. I'd forgotten how good this band is; their new live CD looks like it's going to be an essential purchase. Kiss explodes into action again and put in another top night at the office. The set and the show were identical to the previous night but being so close to the stage makes all the difference. Absolute quality.
So, post gig, it's an early night tonight as we've got one hell of a journey tomorrow. Philadelphia to New York to London to Newport to my Buzz Lightyear shaped bed, in a little under twenty hours.
That was certainly one hell of a great week but now it's back to work. Oh well, two days and I'm off to Euro Disney to meet up with my other hero, I am Rock!!!!