Congratulations to Craig Johnson of Billings, Mont., for winning our KISS 40th Anniversary Tour VIP Sweepstakes. Craig won an all-expenses-paid trip to catch the legendary band’s tour stop on Aug. 31 at The Woodlands, outside of Houston.

Chideo sends its thanks to everyone who entered. Your donations support Augusta Warrior Project, which collaborates, connects, educates and advocates for both serving and veteran military of all eras, wounded or not.

“It was a fun time but went by way, way too fast,” Craig told us by email after the show. “I’ve been a big fan for over 25 years. In fact, all my close friends use to refer to me as ‘that guy who loves KISS.’

“This summer I saw KISS in Irvine, Calif. I went to their website the next day to see if they had any pictures of the show. While there, I saw a banner ad for the Chideo KISS 40th Anniversary Sweepstakes. Not expecting to win, I entered anyway because I thought it (would) be funny if I won a trip not only to see KISS but to also meet them as well.

“When I got the call telling me I won – I didn’t believe it. I thought someone was playing a joke on me.”

Craig said the day of the show started with an unplugged KISS concert in front a small crowd of die-hard fans. The band played several classic songs such as “Christine Sixteen,” “Beth,” “Hard Luck Woman” and “Coming Home” — all while telling jokes and taking pictures with the crowd during songs. Then the band members came around one by one and signed autographs and talked to the crowd.

“Then five of us took a backstage tour. We got to see up close all the stage props, equipment, drum sets, guitars, machines and everything else it takes to put on a KISS concert,” Craig said. “I knew it took quite a bit of work, but I had no idea how much. Backstage, we also met the drum, bass, and guitar techs for the band. They were all friendly and answered any questions we had. In fact, not only were the techs nice, EVERYONE on this trip was great.”

Later, Craig had his picture taken with the band in full makeup and gear.

“Even though it was right before the show — KISS was still having fun with everyone and not making anyone feel rushed,” he said. “The actual concert itself was AMAZING — this was my 9th concert and they’ve never sounded better. I want to thank Chideo, KISS, and the Augusta Warrior Project for making this trip possible. HAD A BLAST — THANK YOU!!!”

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