MY TOP WEEK AS A ARMY SOLDIER!
December 20, 2009
Help...I've been ruined by KISS. I had the most amazing, KISS filled week last week and now I can't get back to normal. It all started a week ago Sunday when I traveled nearly 4 hours down to Dallas with my buddy to see KISS. We went to a friends house to apply our makeup before the concert (I'm the Spaceman). Stopped at TGI Friday's for dinner in full makeup, then headed to the concert.

We were immediately bombarded by literally hundreds of people wanting to take photos of us and with us. I had to keep asking Randall (The Demon) if people realized we weren't actually in KISS. After spending over an hour posing, we finally made our way to our seats. I knew by the seating chart we would be close, but I couldn't believe it when we walked down and were within a few feet of the stage...and even better, it was the side that I refer to as the Demon's Lair since Gene spends so much time there.

Between Buckcherry and KISS we posed for a few more photos, then Led Zeppelin's Rock and Roll kicked in and I could feel the excitement building that can only be felt at a KISS concert. The lights went down, the first few chords of Deuce kicked in and down came the curtains with the explosion. My senses were bombarded over the next hour and a half, and I was screaming like a little school girl through the whole concert. There were several times throughout the night that Gene, Tommy and Paul came over and pointed at us, and although they threw several guitar picks our way, I was never lucky enough to catch one, although it seemed like EVERYONE around me ended up with one...grrrr.

After the last explosion, we made our way back to the car (posing for several more pics), then ended up driving back home after the concert (in full makeup - good thing I didn't get pulled over). I spent the next day in a haze since it was nearly 4 am before I made it home, but I knew I would need to rest up because I was going to experience it all over again in Tulsa.

Tuesday rolls around and I go back to work excitedly telling everyone how incredible the concert was, showing off the amazing pictures that I was lucky enough to take, then bragging to everyone that I was going to see them again that night. It is funny how people that have never seen KISS just don't get it, but the people that have been lucky enough to see them even once are envious and jealous if they aren't able to go.

Immediately after work I met up with my brother and we headed back up to the show. I had my camera, so I was able to show off my pictures to the people all around us, and it felt a lot better sharing them with the KISS Army because they just understood how important it was. After what seemed like forever, the guys hit the stage, and that same excitement started all over again for me. I was a little sad that I wasn't as close as I was for the Dallas show, but it didn't matter, because I was there to see my heroes once again (that was my 9th time to see them live).

They were with a family filming a segment of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Paul handed the family what was left of his broken guitar from the end of Rock and Roll All Nite, then came back and introduced them during the encore. It was exciting to know that we were all there witnessing such a cool part of KISStory, and I can't wait for the episode to air.

So after the show, I was starting to feel the depression of knowing that I had been lucky enough to see KISS twice in three days, but that it was all over. I went home and crawled in bed dreading the alarm clock to go off for work the next morning. The alarm buzzed after what seemed like only an hour and I trudged off to work.

Shortly after showing up, I got an e-mail from one of my sites asking me if I was going to the Hard Rock Hotel in Tulsa. I said I wasn't, that I was working. Then I asked why I would go up there. They said, "Apparently KISS is doing some kind of press conference there and fans are encouraged to attend." I frantically started looking up any bit of information I could find, then I found what I was looking for and saw that it was at 4:00 p.m. I immediately called my boss and told him that I was going to need to leave work early and told him what the deal was. He was cool enough to let me leave early, and I headed up to the hotel/casino.

The whole way there my mind was racing like crazy. "How crowded will it be? How close can I get? Will I finally get to meet them? Will they be signing autographs?" I couldn't get to the place fast enough, and as I pulled into the parking lot I couldn't help but think, "I'm here 3 1/2 hours early, but I'll bet it is going to be packed." I was so happy when I walked in to find that there were only about 20 people ahead of me. We all lined up at the ropes and took our spots where we would not move from for the next 4 hours. We all became acquainted and shared our individual KISS stories. How many times we had seen them, how long we had been fans, did we all go to the Tulsa show. I figured the time would crawl by, but surprisingly the time flew by from all the KISS conversations.

About an hour and a half before the event, the place filled up fast, then they started blasting KISS hits through the loud speakers. We were all jamming, singing out loud and grinning like we were all back at the concert. A few people came up and made some announcements, then a radio DJ came up to tell us that KISS had been at a Wilson Grade School to help donate some instruments to the school. I never wanted to be back in school so bad in my life. I imagined how those kids must have been so excited when KISS came through their doors. Once again I found myself so proud to be a member of the KISS Army.

Finally, they came and told us that KISS would be there in just a few minutes, and I could feel that same excitement in the air that I had felt the last couple of nights I had seen them in concert. I couldn't believe that I was going to be a few feet from them. Suddenly I could hear the roar of the crowd, even though I couldn't see KISS, I knew they were there and coming in the doors. I kept looking around the side of the crowd, then BOOM, I saw Tommy, Paul, Gene and Eric come around the front. We were all going crazy once again, and then there they were, within inches of me. I was going nuts. I snapped several photos in just a few minutes. They appeared, signed a few things for donation for the Tulsa Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, answered a few media questions, then said they had to go. They did grab a few things from the crowd to sign on their way out but I wasn't lucky enough to get an autograph.

As quickly as they appeared, they were gone. I immediately started feeling that sadness again, but reminded myself how lucky I was to experience them not once, not twice, but three times live in 4 days. I have been a fan for a long, long time now, but that week has been the tops for me as a soldier of the KISS Army. I will be keeping my fingers crossed that they come back for another round on the Sonic Boom tour. Perhaps they will come to Oklahoma City and I will only have to drive 35 miles next time, but no amount of mileage is too far to go to Rock and Roll All Nite and Party Every Day.

Thanks to Gene, Paul, Eric and Tommy for the best week ever.

Shane Loudon

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