THRILLS DALLAS
September 19, 2010
By Mario Tarradell
Photo by Keith Leroux for KISSonline

FRISCO - The demon onstage was Gene Simmons, the blood-spewing, tongue-wagging bassist for iconic classic rock band KISS. Simmons and fellow KISS mates Paul Stanley (the Starchild), Eric Singer (the Catman) and Tommy Thayer (Space Ace) headlined Saturday's Rock'N the Park at Pizza Hut Park. The daylong festival attracted more than 12,000 fans.

Simmons had some competition from another demon, this one with a bleacher seat. Chris Hardt, 26, of Fort Worth was decked out in demon regalia - full makeup, 7-inch platform shoes, spiked-sleeve cape, everything. He posed for picture after picture.

"I've been a fan since I was 15," Hardt said before seeing KISS in concert a third time. "I love their music. The stage show is awesome. I haven't met them yet. But I want to."

It took Hardt an hour to put on the get-up, which he purchased from an official KISS costume website.

The original demon had his biggest moment before the audience, many of which were standing on the stadium's field, during his signature blood-spitting introduction to "I Love It Loud." That should've been the theme of the two-hour-plus show, which throbbed with relentless pyrotechnic explosions, billowing smoke, the sparkling black-and-platinum wardrobe, risers, hydraulics and a high cable that transported Stanley from the main stage to a small platform above the floor throng.

He sang "I Was Made for Lovin' You," one of six encore tunes, on that mini-platform before gliding back to join his buddies.

Fans ate up the spectacle. One overzealous guy hopped onto the stage, and before security could cart him off, he dived into the crowd. It was all perfectly synchronized as if rehearsed.

A couple of KISS songs deserve special mention: "Crazy Crazy Nights," a rarity in concert, and "Shock Me," a 1977 Ace Frehley track so identified with the former band guitarist that it was jarring to hear Thayer sing it.

But nobody flinched, especially not the array of families in attendance. Everywhere you looked, there were 40-something parents with their 10-something children.

Every style of rock 'n' roll still bridges the generations... Now that's acceptance.