Re: EOTR 2020 - Mar. 10, Lubbock, TX
Posted: Sun Mar 15, 2020 2:38 pm
Okay, people, here it is, my review of the Lubbock show from this last Tuesday night.
My first Kiss concert happened roughly around the sameish time of year, on the Lick It Up tour, Berkley, California, in early 1984. My first should've been in Lubbock, ironically, which is where I'm originally from.
In 1979, I was 6 years old, and my parents gave me the option of either going trick or treating in my Gene Simmons costume, or going to see Kiss in concert on Halloween night. I had no idea what a concert was, and my parents probably knew this, so it made it easy for them to expect what my answer would be: I wanted to be Gene and collect candy all night! What 6 year old in the 70's wouldn't? So I made perhaps one of the biggest regretful decisions of my entire life, which I still kick myself to this day for. So, technically, my first Kiss concert would have taken place in Lubbock on the Dynasty Tour; it didn't, but for the sake of closure in seeing Kiss live on their final tour, it should have been Lubbock. Fitting, then, that my very last time seeing Kiss, happened last week in Lubbock, Texas. Not to be morbid here, but being the huge KISS nut that I've been my whole life, I find some solace and comfort in the idea that this could very well be the last KISS concert EVER, anywhere, and I was there to witness and be a part of it...that's only wishful thinking, and selfish, really, but, worry not, KISS Army---as soon as this Coronavirus thing blows over, you can bet your bottom dollar that KISS will shake their bottoms for your every dollar once again.
I had purchased my tickets just as soon as they were announced or perhaps a day later, and when I went online to do so, many of the tickets were snatched up. Kiss really had not played Lubbock in decades. They used to stop there regularly during the 70's and 80's, but, with the exception of maybe once in the late 90's or so, they hadn't played there since the 80's. The last time I had seen them was in 2012 in Dallas. Dallas is a good 5 or 6 hours driving time from where I live now, so when they had announced that they were playing Lubbock, I jumped. I was perfectly fine with the KISS/Motley Crue tour being my last time seeing them. It was a great show, and with a bill like that, that was a perfect way to go out for me. But, being that it was in Lubbock, and my wife and son had never seen them, I had to get tix. My little boy just turned 4 a mere 6 days before the concert this month, and in his early age he'd already seen Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper live. Seeing Kiss was going to be another major feather in his cap, bragging rights for a lifetime as he gets older, etc. Plus, he just loves Kiss! He's a big Ace fan, and "Rockin' With The Boys" is his fave song, but he also loves Kiss, and his current fave song to sing is "Shout It Out Loud".... My wife is quite a bit younger than me, so it took a while convincing her how cool Kiss is, but after Lubbock's show, it sealed the deal with her. She's seen her fair share of great live bands too, everything from U2 to Slayer to King Diamond, and Kiss was by far the best show she's ever seen.
So, anyway, our tickets were purchased, and the were about $150 each. 3 tickets, and it adds up. And our seats were to be all the way in the back, at the very top. These were close to being the cheapest ones we could get, and being that we aren't rich and covered in cash like a lot of Kiss fans are, I was perfectly fine with that. Kiss has such a big show and spectacle, that, quite frankly, there's not a bad seat in the house. Paul flies out to the back, Gene and Tommy are on extended cranes that reach around the whole arena, and they have enough lights, explosions and back screens that no matter where you are, you're gonna feel KISS.
So anyway, I had to take a couple days off from work, because the show was on a Tuesday, and I work on the weekdays, off on weekends. Luckily, my wife is a teacher and was already going to be on Spring Break. So, we had booked the Overton hotel, because I'd seen Paul McCartney at the same arena Kiss would be playing (United Supermarkets Arena) a few years back, and was lucky to meet his entire band back at the hotel....didn't meet Paul, but he was staying there; his band couldn't have been nicer, and I got photos with them all. SO--I figured if it was good enough for Paul McCartney, Kiss and David Lee Roth could very well end up staying there to hang their boots for the night. They ended up not staying there, and that's probably due to the very recent panic outbreak of Covid19. Probably a smart choice, considering how quickly this panic has ensued.
On to the show!
We get to the arena, and my little boy (his name is Sebastian, named after one of the biggest Kiss fans in the world, you know who) is wearing his Kiss hat. Me and my wife and the boy stand in line for some drinks and beers, and once we get them, we start heading to the section where our stairway is to get to our far back upper seats (section 225 to be exact, for those of you counting blue dots while looking at arena layouts), there stood a young lady who worked for the arena, with a gigantic stack of concert tickets in her hand, that she was counting. We pulled out our printed online tickets to show her as we were approaching the stairs behind her, and then she said, "hold on....do you guys want floor tickets, like 10 rows back from the stage?" My jaw dropped....I couldn't believe the words that I'd just heard coming out of her mouth...so, when I'd gained my composure, I said excitedly, "of course we do! We'd love to have them!" So she dug out 3 tickets, that were for Section C, Row 10, seats 16, 17, and 18, which were perfect, because they were the very first 3 seats of the row, and we were right near stairs, convenient for bathroom breaks. As she was handing them to us, David Lee Roth had started his set, rocking out downstairs, so I hurried up my wife and boy, both of us with multiple drinks in hand and trying to keep our boy near us, making our way down the stairs to the floor, as Diamond Dave was whipping the crowd into a rock and roll frenzy. I'm a huge old Van Halen fan, and never got to see them live, so this was probably going to be the best chance of that, and quite honestly, he was the perfect choice for KISS, despite some of the current reviews of his voice, he sounded great, and his band was stellar. He was a bit humpy with the mic stand, as my wife had said, so as soon as we got to the floor, my boy needed to pee, haha, which was perfect, because Pam (my wife's name) didn't really want Sebastian to see his sexual antics up close...so, I got to enjoy DLR unfettered, in all of his humpy glory, haha. Dave looked and sounded great, but I would've liked to have heard Yankee Rose. That aside, he delivered the goods, and was the perfect opener for Kiss on their last tour. Me and my buddy Mike have joked about it being the SHOT VOICE TOUR, because DLR and Paul Stanley both have been under intense scrutiny for years now, and not without reason, LOL.
After Seb and Pam made it back, DLR's set wound down, and the lights went up. I was hyping everything up to them both, because they really had no idea what they were in store for. Even if Kiss is a thousand years old, they still have one of the flashiest, loudest and most visual stage shows around, being masters of the trade, and innovators on many levels. I warned my boy to keep his ear silencers on, because there's gonna be a lotta big, loud "fire pops", as he calls them. I had shown him some recent clips of this tour on YouTube about a week before our show just to give him an idea of what to expect, and to not be scared, because when you're 4 years old, things appear much larger than they perhaps really are. He was very excited, and on the night of the show, waiting for the KISS logo curtain to drop, our anticipation levels were so high, that there was magic in there air!
So, as soon as Zeppelin's "Rock & Roll" hit the speakers, I told my wife and boy to get ready--it's about to go down! The song stops, the lights go out, and that familiar low synth buzz starts filling the arena...within moments, the ever familiar intro, begins, and me and all the other hardcores in the audience start screaming along, "Alright Lubbock! You wanted the best, you got the best! The hottest band in the world, KIIIIISSSS!" And with that, the curtains drop, bombs go off in unison, fire, smoke and flame spitters go off everywhere, as the gods of rock begin descending down on their individual octagonal floating stages. Those opening riffs of "Detroit Rock City" never sounded more glorious, and in that moment I'd realized that I had not been this close to the stage for a KISS concert since 1992, and I began to shed some tears--there's my band. My band in front of me, onstage, after all these years, delivering their sonic magic to the masses in their twilight years, and still looking and sounding as fierce as ever. They're in their Merlin years--old rock and roll wizards with a story to tell and some spells yet to cast. Kicking the shit out of my ass, I look at my wife and boy who's faces were in awe at what they were witnessing; now they finally were seeing what the man of the house had been fussing about his whole life, all those posters and records and magazines and books that take up most of the house were finally coming to life in 3D glory, and they were mesmerized, much like I was, when I first saw KISS on the LICK IT UP tour fir the first time. Yeah, they weren't wearing makeup for my first KISS show, but KISS has always been bigger than life, makeup or not.
I'm not going to get into every little detail about the setlist, or mistakes, or whether Paul was lip syncing or not, except to say this, about that subject: in my little circles, I've been the most critical of the whole lip syncing thing, and never was supportive of them doing that. I'd even planned on skipping this tour altogether for that reason, but because it was Lubbock, and because I knew my family would love it, I went against my own biases and wishes about that. However, I can honestly, without reservation say that I didn't notice it at all. If Paul was indeed lip syncing, he has gotten it down to such a science that it was unnoticeable. Either that, or, his voice has healed considerably, and he's working well and functioning improvedly and markedly, within his set of limitations to the point where nothing is lost. The energy was high, the sound was great, the visuals still top notch, and the stage raps, and this is most important to note, were kept to a bare minimum for maximum effect. This was the greatest improvement I think overall, that his stage raps were very limited, which has got to be hard for Paul, because we all know how much he loves to fucking scream at us in between every damn song. That was fixed, and he now was a proper master of ceremonies that was working hard at preserving his voice for when it was really needed. I noticed that, and really appreciated it.
All of the cornerstones of a classic KISS show were all there, all but the other half of classic members, but, I'm still a fan of this lineup, though it took me a while to be one. It was when this lineup actually released new albums that I became a bonafide supporter, makeup issues aside. I've come to really appreciate Tommy as a guitarist too. Sure, he's no Ace, but he's a solid, powerhouse player with all the great Kiss licks in his arsenal, and pulls them off with enough testosterone and finesse to make it feel like the classic lineup. I dig him. Love that he played his guitar solo spot with a flying V--that was a neat touch, different from the usual. I missed Eric's drum solo, because I used that time to pee, but it sounded great from the urinal. Eric has always been great live. Didn't much dig his stab at "Beth", but damn if it still didn't make me a little weepy. My wife laughed and commented "rose petals? Really?"....
Tons of pyro and bombs, and Paul and Gene flying, then Tommy and Gene lifted around the arena, all came off great, especially at our specially acquired seats. Oh, and I heard through someone else that went to the show that they were giving floor tickets for the first 5 rows to all kids who were wearing KISS makeup, so I'm wondering if because my little 4 year old was wearing his KISS hat that that was the reason for us getting 10th row floor seats....probably. Strange though, because it seems that if they had that many tickets on the floor to give away, how many tickets did they actually sell overall? The place was packed, regardless, and the crowd was totally into it. I've lived in both Texas and California, and California crowds are by far the more sedate, whereas Texas crowds make you feel like you were still in the 70's at a KISS show; PANDEMONIUM.
It was a wonderful evening, although I'm surprised we got no shout out from Paul Stanley on his Twitter, who generally gives praise to whatever town they are playing in. Lubbock got nothing. Not a mention on the night of, nor any day since. I wonder why? Was this the last KISS show to ever occur? And maybe he knows that, and is silently pissed about it? If it is, I need to remind him that Lubbock is the hometown of Buddy Holly, man. Arguably the first white rock and roller ever. Come on, Paul. You were in holy land. Paul McCartney spent the day at Buddy's grave and taking in all the sites before he played that night at the same arena in 2014. Paul could've at least shouted out loud via Twitter for giving Lubbock, and my little family, a night to remember. But, nothing. Were they reluctant to play in the first place, due to the widespread panic occurring, and the recent several outbreaks in Houston? I don't get it. But a positive mention of our show would've been icing on the cake. At any rate, I hope that deep down, he loved the show he gave us. Lubbock, West Texas in general, and my little family were all better for it, and got a magical night of rock and roll frenzy to share memories about for years and years to come.
Anyone on the fence about going, including jaded naysayers, just shut up and go. Tickets are cheap day of show, and chances are you'll end up with a better seat than you bargained for. Bands like KISS won't be around for much longer. This really is the end of the road, not only for KISS, but for all the old school larger than life legendary arena giants. Bands like that don't exist anymore. Is rock dead? No. Are larger than life bands like KISS in rock and roll dead? Almost. Go see them before its too late. You will regret it if you don't. I promise you.