My First KISS Concert: 25th Anniversary


KISS/Ted Nugent
Richfield Coliseum

I need to provide some backstory here in order to properly convey the importance of this show for me. You need to understand, I love KISS. Always have, always will. My KISS connection started somewhere between age 2-3. My sister had a copy of the Destroyer record, and I was infatuated with the cover. The infatuation grew stronger when I actually played the record, connecting the sound to the visuals. My family fully supported this by taking me to buy more records, dolls, posters, etc. I’m certain they thought this was a fad I would outgrow, but as I write this, I am 39, and still love KISS.

Unfortunately, I never had the opportunity to see KISS as a young kid when they rolled through town. My family probably drew the line there. But I was fully aware every time they came, and was sad that I was not going. So when they announced the tour for the Crazy Nights record, I knew my time had come. I had an acquaintance who knew someone that had a connection to get good seats for shows. We made the plans, I gave him my money, and I got the word that we got the tickets. The seats were right next to the stage, 10 rows up in the lower concourse. Words cannot express my excitement for the night to arrive.

I went with three other people who were all high school seniors, and I had just turned 14. They were all really nice to me, and treated me just like I was one of them, which I appreciated. The only part of the night that made me incredibly nervous was when we parked and got out of the car, and I was quickly appointed to be the one to sneak the camera in. Now within a split second, I had an image in my mind of being caught with the camera by security, then being completely kicked out of the arena before the show started. I pleaded my case to no avail, as my companions were convinced that because I was a kid, security would not even think about me hiding a camera down my pants. So I did as I was told, shoved the camera down my pants and walked awkwardly through the parking lot in the bitter cold towards the entrance. I’m sure the fact that I was shaking as I got up to the ticket taker probably did not draw much attention to my fear, right?

When we got down to our seats and I unloaded the camera from my pants and handed it to some lucky soul, I was finally able to start to relax and let it sink in that I was about to see my heroes in the flesh. Ted Nugent opened the show, and I did not know much at all about him at the time. The one thing I will never forget about his set was the fact that he jumped off a platform down to the stage, seemingly at least a 15 foot drop. Nugent finished, and then it was time for my dream to come true.

The boys hit the stage, steamrolling through the classic “Love Gun,” and I jumped up and down and screamed like a maniac. I didn’t know which band member to watch, as I did not want to miss a second of any of their individual performances. At one point during the set, Gene Simmons got up on the speaker stack right in front of our seats, I made an ass out of myself screaming and pointing, and I swear to this day he looked at me and pointed. An unbelievable shot of adrenaline pumped through my body. Whether it was me he pointed to, or some woman behind me with her shirt up over her head, does not matter. That memory can never be taken away from me. This show was the first of what would be many Kiss shows in my lifetime, and I could not have asked for a better experience.