Twelve years ago today
stlkiss on 07/02/2008
Twelve years ago today, my life changed, forever. Twelve years ago I was a confused, misunderstood, and lost 16-year-old boy. I was diagnosed with biological depression, and could not find a way to pull myself out of the hole in which found myself. My girlfriend whom I took to the junior prom dumped me. In fact the prom was our last date. The pain of loosing the first girl I ever cared about brought many sleepless nights. The unbearable heartbreak combined with the already constant depression was killing me. I desperately wanted a girlfriend so I could free myself of the loneliness, but for a timid 16-year-old boy who attends an all male Catholic High School, finding a girlfriend was never easy. The majority of my time I spent in my room alone, sulking and feeling sorry for myself.
However, my life was about to get struck by a jolt of lighting. Back in April, my brother and I bought tickets to see our favorite band, KISS. KISS just reunited and was embarking on the first tour in 17 years to feature all four original members Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley, and Peter Criss in full makeup and costumes. The day tickets went on sale for the show I was nervous. The KISS reunion tour was already a great success, and shows were selling out in a matter of minutes. We were one of the fortunate ones, and got tickets. We ended up the upper bowl on Ace’s side of the stage, section 303. When the day of the show arrived, and I was excited, more so than I had been to see any other band, because I was about to see KISS for the first time, the band I grew up listening to and idolizing. I still could not believe I was going to see the original four members in their trademark makeup. Upon arriving at the venue, the excitement could be felt in the air. Alice in Chains opened the show, and when they finished their set, the excitement began to mount. The St. Louis crowd was ready for KISS, I was ready, but I was nowhere near prepared for the bombastic assault KISS was about to unleash. As the lights went out, and the hum of Gene Simmon’s Punisher Bass began, I heard the worlds I waited my whole life to hear, “Alright St. Louis!!! You wanted the best, you got the best, the hottest band in the world…KISS!!!” The first notes of “Deuce” began to play, and with a bang, the curtain fell and displayed KISS in all of their glory. They charged through their set list, filled with nothing but their classics including, “King of the Nighttime World,” “Do You Love Me,” “Shout it out Loud,” and “Strutter.” At the end of “Firehouse,” Gene appeared on stage with a flaming torch, and with violent force, breathed the flame into a giant fireball. During Ace Frehley’s guitar solo, I was expecting the smoking guitar effect, but the rockets shooting out of the guitar’s neck blew my mind. Before the band played “God of Thunder,” Gene preformed his signature blood drooling and was then hoisted fifty feet in the air to a platform amongst the stage lights to sing his trademark song. To finish the set, KISS played the rock n’ roll national anthem, “Rock N’ Roll All Nite,” as Paul Stanley smashed his guitar, the last blast of confetti poured on the crowd, and the set came to an end. The St. Louis crowd begged for more, and KISS delivered, with three of their best: “Detroit Rock City,” “Beth,” and “Black Diamond,” which finished with cherry pickers lifting Gene, Paul, and Ace up and over the adoring fans. Peter’s drum kit rose in the air, and with a final blast of pyro, the night came to an end.
The show was like nothing I had ever seen. In fact, the show inspired me, and made me realize some very important truths about life. If a concert and a band can be that spectacular, then why can’t life be spectacular? KISS helped me understand that life is what you make it. Life is not easy, and happiness is not handed to you on a silver platter. Happiness is something you have to go out and find, and sometimes fight for. In their songs, KISS sing about going for what you want in life and refusing to be held back by others. KISS followed this way of thinking their whole career, and became one of the greatest rock bands of all time. KISS taught me to hold my head up, and never take “no” for an answer. Success and happiness do not come easy; they are things everyone has to work hard to achieve. KISS is the perfect example of this, because they are the hardest working band in rock. KISS changed my life twelve years ago today, and I thank them.