July 13, 2011
Thanks to Dale Kemp for sharing his wonderful KISS story with KISSOnline!

Where: Ft McMurray, AB, Canada
When: July 2, 2011
What: KISS

I have to share one of the Greatest Weekends of my Life!!

A few months ago, I heard KISS were planning a LOST CITIES TOUR. and it was stopping in Ft McMurray, AB much to my surprise! Thought this would be a great chance to ask my two boys (Alex 9 & Dylan 5) if they would like to go to a KISS show. They both said “sure”!

Next step, ask them if they would like to dress up! Dylan thought it would be great to go as Gene while Alex opted for no dress up whatsoever (at 9 apparently its “embarrassing” lol). It was all fine by me…go with the flow!

Then I saw the chance to take home Paul’s Smashed Guitar! I have been front and center hoping to take that guitar home from every KISS show I have been to including Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Auckland N.Z., and several shows in Australia. Add the chance to sit down with the Starchild one on one and it was the opportunity of a lifetime!

I debated the cost versus the experience I’d get – for about five minutes – then the Universe said “DO IT !!”

So, I locked it up and spent the next month brimming with anticipation!

Finally, the day of the show came. Not only did my boys come along on the 5 hour drive north from Edmonton…but I convinced a total of 12 family & friends to make the trek with me!

We arrived to the Hotel and started getting everyone ready….running around putting make-up on 4 people can get hectic. Once everyone was dressed and made up, we walked the 1.1km to the MacDonald Island Park (A large Outdoor park with a new Recreation Complex). Once there and the rest of our group were in line and ready to secure some nice spots up front…was time for us to go meet Dean for the M&G passes.

First we decided to go for a walk as the Boys really wanted to see The GENE AXE/FAMILY JEWELS Tour Bus. The KISS Sound Check begun as we got there and the great group from RECKLESS (Pub Here in Ft Mac) wanted some pictures with Dylan…then we were invited onto the Bus by Paul Hayeland to take some pics with the Axe Bass that was auctioned off for charity that night. A very cool experience and Paul even had a chance to try and sell me a Punisher! THANKS PAUL! Look forward to seeing you again soon!

Then, off to meet Dean Snowden for the M&G Gear…and hopefully catch up with Francis (Paul’s Guitar Tech). All went well…Dylan was a trooper, stopped for about 300 Photos without complaining (And Alex came up with the idea of charging $1 per photo, that they could split! LOL).

Finally at about 8:30pm, Francis called and we met him backstage. We whisked through the Band M&G area and straight to the dressing room area. I could not believe I was standing right near the “Superman” curtain, behind which the Make-Up Ritual happens!! Francis took us into the band hospitality room and presented us with the guitar while he went to see if Paul was ready.
About 2 minutes later…in walks PAUL STANLEY in full costume and standing 7’ Tall. My boys were speechless. Paul pulled up a chair and started talking to Dylan first. Asking him what he wanted to be when he grows up (a vet) and asking him where he got his costume. I think Dylan convinced Paul to get his next costume online as well…! Then it was Alex’s turn, Paul complemented him on his KISS ARMY shirt and made him feel quite proud of his attire! Paul and the boys then made bets with each other about how many pieces the guitar would break into. It was agreed that 3 pieces would be the best! We then all took some pictures with Paul and the Guitar! A highly recommended experience!!

Dylan could not wait to see that thing gets SMASHED at the end of the show….he sat up on my shoulders for two solid hours! When “Rock n Roll All Nite” started…we knew it wasn’t far away. Francis handed the Washburn to Paul…and to center stage he went. When the time came to sacrifice that instrument, Paul gave it one final kiss…and with a wall of fire as a background…down in came! Paul picked up the 3 PIECES and turned to us and pointed the neck at us “THAT’S FOR YOU”.

After the show Francis brought over the Guitar signed “To Dale, Alex & Dylan”, Paul’s stage used set-list and some picks thrown in for good measure! A BIG THANKS to FRANCIS for making the occasion so comfortable, I hope you get to share something like this with your Boys!

At the end of the evening we went home with: 2 Personally Band signed Drumheads, 2 Sets of “Drumsticks” (Thanks Eric), 22 Guitar Picks, 500 Pictures and 1 Broken Guitar !!!

But to see your Boys enjoy themselves at their first KISS Show and pumping the Simmons Fingers into the air for every song and tell you “THAT WAS THE MOST AMAZING EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE DAD!!!”
THAT…makes it all worthwhile. I would do it again in a heartbeat…..