February 02, 2011

My trip to the US started off with a quick visit to Myrtle Beach and that was no accident as I went there to visit the famous KISS Coffee House. A wonderful place with great staff!

Anyhow, my first M&G was in Virginia Beach;

Virginia Beach

I had done two M&G’s (Meet & Greet's) before so I felt fairly prepared for tonight, but I was still bubbling with nervous excitement like a child when I collected my ticket from the Will Call window. I had traveled from Ireland specially to see the guy’s in Virginia Beach, Charlotte and Raleigh. It was not my first time to cross the Atlantic to see them but this trip to the US was going to be extra special as it was going to be a KISS weekend for me with three M&G’s!

The M&G is very well organized and worked like clock work for all. First you meet Dean the M&G coordinator and photographer. He gives everyone an outline of how the M&G will go. Where to go, at what time etc. Then its time to line up by the ticket office, hand over a signed special e-mail (sent to all M&G attendees basically agreeing to common sense terms and conditions for the M&G), you receive your laminate, and wrist band and a set of picks (four).

You then enter the concert grounds like everyone else and show up at the appointed time close to the stage.

I found my seat and took in some of the support act. While I was there I spotted a family of four. Both children were painted up in the Gene and Eric paint, but the girl in Eric’s face paint was also in full Catman makeup and costume (I would say she was about 10 years old), and I mean she was in full costume. She looked fantastic! So when the appointed hour came and all of us M&G attendees were queuing up to go back stage, this same family passed close to the line. I could not help myself. I stopped the parents and told them that we were queuing up to go back stage and do a M&G with the guy’s. I explained to them that I thought that their daughter who was so fantastically kitted out as Eric, looked truly awesome and that I would tell Eric where she was sitting and hopefully he would be able to see her when he came towards the front of the stage (she was in row two). They were delighted and thanked me and went on their way.

We were then all admitted back stage and waited close to a large white tent that was marked with the web site address on the outside. This was where we would do the M&G! The sight was enough to get the heart racing. Then we all could hear Sonic Boom playing and lots of laughter coming from the tent.

It was interesting watching everyone before the M&G. Some would fidget, some would adjust clothing, some would laugh and joke, some would stand quietly getting ready for the monumental moment about to unfold in their lives.

While I was waiting here I kept thinking of the young girl in Eric’s face paint. I really wanted her to have something from him. I knew from previous M&G’s that they are pretty strict on only signing two personal items, but I decided I would ask Eric to sign something for her. But the problem was I had very little with me. I frantically thought what can I ask him to sign, but all I had with me was a Wal-Mart envelope that I had my Dublin M&G photos developed in just before the concert (yes, I forgot to bring them with me to the USA)! Well it would have to do. I turned it inside out as the outside had different colors and a pattern on it. So that was set and ready for when I had Eric’s attention.

After a short wait some people came out from the tent. Some of these guys were in uniform. One was on crutches, another was in a wheelchair. These were obviously some of the “Wounded”. It was great to see KISS giving these guys their time. I am not American, but it really warmed my heart. God bless them all.

We got the all clear and entered the tent and there they were. The guys were at one end of the tent and everyone queued up behind one of those nylon barriers that ran around the tent in a U-shape. We entered behind the barrier and queued up for the photo shoot.

When you came to the front of the line a member of security would take your personal items and hand them to a second member of security that returned them to you once the M&G shoot was done.

Each of the guy’s greeted everyone as they came forward and made you feel right at home with them.

Two shots with the guy’s and your back in line. Once everyone was photographed then KISS would go to the line and sign two items for you. This was your chance to engage them and ask questions etc. When Eric came to me I told him about the girl in row two. He signed up the envelope once I showed it to him. I hardly asked him and it was done!

Paul was his usual very polite self and in great spirits. Tommy gives out a really warm feeling when you meet him. The kinda guy you could never imagine being angry in his whole life.

Gene, was last. It’s a very strange feeling walking up to the God of Thunder,,,, and he is standing there,,,,waiting for you. I asked him how he was and he replied “delirious”. That just cracked me up and he smiled down at me. We had a brief chat and I wished him a good show. What a moment to remember the rest of my life!

I was out of the tent then and back to my seat, but found that girl in row two and gave her Eric’s signature. She was totally overjoyed.


This was pretty much the same, except a bit busier. KISS really do try to get quite a few people into the meet and greet tent. They were all very polite and had time for everyone there. One of the things I have noticed about meeting with them is that they really are a bunch of jokers. There are constantly at it. I told Eric about the girl and he was really pleased that she got his signature. He said he saw her there right where I said she would be.

One guy from Florida brought with him some of his art he had drawn/painted himself. It was stunning. All of the guy's loved it, especially Paul. I believe he asked the guy for his contact details.


Not as busy as Charlotte but just as good as my two other nights. Paul recognized me and said “there was worse a guy could do than do three M&G’s in one weekend”. I was chuffed to bits. Gene seemed very taken back as well (and even signed up a third item for me).

A woman at the M&G was telling Paul how much she loved Love Gun. During the show as Paul hooked his boot into the loop to transport him over to the revolving stage at the back, he looked over at her and mouthed “this is for you”. She was ecstatic! You should of seen her after the concert, she was actually crying see was so happy.

Now, one of the truly fantastic things about these M&G’s on this part of the Hottest Show on Earth tour is that you are guaranteed a seat within the first five rows of the stage. There are some of you out there who are hardcore concert fans who love nothing better than getting up close to the stage on the floor where there are no seats. This is how I was brought up, in the “mosh pit” sweating it out with everyone up front. Ok, I am 42 now and like things a little bit more comfy, but nothing could of prepared me for the up front experience of these shows. When you are down there in those front rows it’s a whole new experience. I have imagined being up close for a show with KISS before (like we all have) but this was truly amazing. One of the comical things you will see is Gene doing some crotch adjustments when the lights would go down. That just cracked me up!

The picks were cool as well. I got one from Virginia Beach. One of a kind for the show and thrown to me,,,,,,,,,,,,,, from Gene!

I am going on a bit here so I will finish with a few thoughts (and dangers) on the M&G’s and front row experience at KISS concerts;

-You will be very nervous before the M&G
-You will spend hours thinking “what will I ask them” and what to get signed
-You are in danger of babbling on like a loony when you meet them
-You will be grinning like you just won the lottery when you step up for your photos with the guy’s
-You will be totally awed when each of them welcomes you individually and then drapes an arm around you or places a hand on your shoulder like your best friend and then thanks you for coming when the shots are done
-During the concert you will have a total disregard for your own safety if you see a pick on the ground and you think you can dive for it (this could result in groin discomfort or injury, I speak from experience)
-When the show is over a prevailing sense of bewilderment will remain with you (more so than when you are in row 20 or on the lawn)
-If you do a series of M&G’s such as three in one weekend you will suffer a strong sense of unrealism as life will consist of get up, drive/fly to M&G concert venue, meet with KISS, rock the house down, sleep and repeat
-You will become obsessive over where you will hang your prized signed items in your home
-But above all, you are in serious danger of becoming a serial KISS M&G’er,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, as it is very addictive!!


Aidan Meenaghan
KISS Army Ireland