July 21, 2007
By Slackhopper Photo by Donna Hopper Since releasing their first record in 1973, KISS has been worshiped, emulated, mocked, spoofed and followed the world over. Their influence is undeniable and an entire generation was born and raised listening to the driving beats and screaming guitars that launched them into a state of infamy of God-like proportions. After the cancellation of a Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan appearance a couple of years ago, KISS made the Sault one of only three stops they're making this year. Mayor Tony Bosbous felt this in addition to the band's devotion to the industry, their country and massive fan base just cause to award KISS with the Key to the City of Sault Ste. Marie. "This may be the biggest event in the history of Sault Ste. Marie," Mayor Bosbous told the Soo Evening News. Amid huge canisters of carbon dioxide (used for pyro), a long line of local media and a few lucky fans witnessed Commissioner Ray Bauer present the key to Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer. I bet other media members Simmons would lick the key. He didn't. As the ceremony wrapped up and the sun set over the mighty stage, the 10,000 fans who ranged from two to 60 years of age, began chanting, "We want KISS!" After waiting an hour in line to buy t-shirts and spending $110 for cases of Bud Light, the stage exploded with the familiar sound of Detroit Rock City. Mayhem ensued. "I know we're in Michigan because I can smell Detroit," said Stanley. Professionals to the end, Simmons continuously engaged the fans in the front while Stanley played to the back row and everyone else in between. From this performance, you'd never guess they're pushing 60. Thayer's close working relationship with Ace Frehley in the mid-90's paid off as he stepped in to fill the mile-high space boots as lead guitarist. Singer's experience playing with Lita Ford, Black Sabbath, Alice Cooper, Queen and KISS during the make-up free years make him a more than apt replacement for Peter Criss on drums. The Sault asked for the best, and they got the best. The hottest band in the world.