December 11, 2009

words by Jason Wells with additional reporting by JHS
images by JHS - Janet Hudson Schroeder

CLICK HERE to view more great photos from KISS' Tulsa show.

It's 1978 and the Christian Right has focused on KISS. KNIGHTS IN SATAN'S SERVICE, they declare! Parents worried about backward satanic messages embedded in records, ill morals, and a depreciation in family values rally to save their innocent children from the evil that was deemed KISS.

Fast forward to 2009 and my how times have changed. KISS is prime family entertainment. Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles gather their children by their hands and lead them into an arena that has been transformed into the Kiss Army's home base of operations..... and all are welcome.

Face painting stations line the main concourse so adult and child alike can be transformed into their favorite band member.
The atmosphere is electric. The mood is joyful. KISS has come to town.

"I saw my first KISS concert when I was fourteen. I had to sneak out to see them and risked a beating of a lifetime from my father if he ever found out." John Edwards smiles down as his eight year old daughter as he recalls his fond memories of childhood rebellion. "And now I am bringing my daughter to her first KISS show."

Edwards is not alone. KISS has turned into a cross generational celebration of ROCK . Grandparents in their 60's enjoy KISS as much as they did in their teens. "My grandpa brought me to tonight!" beam 12 year old Tyler Henson as he puts on his new KISS t-shirt just purchased at the merch stand, by none other than his grandfather.

Thomas Hanson recalls the 1970's when KISS was under fire for their wild concert performances. "It is all so laughable now. KISS is exactly as they were back then. I guess it just took some people longer get it."

As the lights go down, the massive black KISS curtain drops. The arena surges to life as thousand leap to their feet. Strobe lights of white, red, blue and green bath a stage now swirling with thick coils of smoke as Paul Stanly and Gene Simmons first appear.

The crowd rewards them as their voices reach deafening levels. KISS has just taken stage for their first arena show in Tulsa.

"I WANT TO ROCK AND ROLL ALL NIGHT!!!!!! AND PARTY EVERYDAY!!!!!!!" Close to 15,000 fans screamed out the lyrics in unison as the KISS ARMY infiltrated the once peaceful void of Tulsa's BOK CENTER.

"TULSA!!!! WE HEAR OKLAHOMA CITY HAS THE REP FOR BEING THE CITY THAT ROCKS IN OKLAHOMA," Paul Stanly shouted before the ravenous crowd which replies with a chorus of boo's. Stanly smiles, "But NOT tonight. Tonight it is all you!" And the crowd goes wild in agreement and appreciation......

KISS will have a 10 page photographic feature in ROCKVILLE MAGAZINES 2010 March anthology.