11 May 2010
Hestia worships the Rock Gods
I saw KISS the last time they played Glasgow (Glasgow Apollo anyone?) in 1984. When I think back to that Glasgow Apollo gig, I remember being a frizzy-haired girl in a red leather bike jacket, slender of waist and big on ambition. Where did she go I wonder?
Back then, KISS had abandoned the face paint and the theatricals and were touring as a proper heavy rock band. It was a great gig (today my hearing still whines from the noise excess of that concert!) but we felt, in our heart of hearts, that we had been cheated of KISS the big, camp, theatrical experience.
Sunday night arrived and KISS delivered Big, Camp and Theatrical in spades!
In the very back row (all the better to dance uninhibitedly in), standing next to two kids, both about 12, I realised that they hadn’t even been born the last time I saw KISS. A quick glance at their dad suggested that HE hadn’t even been born the last time I saw KISS.
I suddenly felt old. …my throat caught and my eyes grew blurry with tears. How could it have been over twenty years since I last saw this band? Twenty years ago when I walked home along Sauchiehall St to my student digs with my younger brother, excitedly dissecting the gig. My time at Uni was ending, my adult life lay before me like the plains of Africa – uncharted, exotic, full of promise., there for the taking.
Did I take it? Am I taking it? My red bike jacket got stolen at a party. I wasn't even at the bloody party. I never bought a replacement. 'Deuce' filled the air, so heavy you could cut it and eat it like cake.
I clapped. I shouted. I punched the air. I danced in my seat. I sang along to EVERY song. I loved it. I decided to buy a replacement jacket at the earliest opportunity.
The disco ball twirled, the fire cannons shot huge plumes of fire into the rafters, the glow from a thousand of iphone cameras flickered in the darkness, guitars soared, lead singers flew over the audience, ticker-tape blizzarded down and 20 years just melted away.
When Paul Stanley uttered the opening line of ‘Love Gun’, a song that I have not heard or sung in two decades, I found myself singing back the rest of the verse. Like a catechism. The Kiss army is like a religion - once you're in, you're never really out again. How did I still know these words when I can’t remember the password to my bank account?
Paul’s regular face paint touch ups kept him looking fresh, but Gene’s face slowly descended to a Bad Day at Boots’ Make Up Counter. Granted, the spewing blood didn’t help the look any, but man, he DID look sweaty by the end –studded leather in close proximity to fire and stage lights must challenge any antiperspirant.
Gene Simmon’s tongue is unbelievable. He can touch the end of his nose with it. Hell, he could touch the end of MY nose with it – and I was in the very back row!
As I watched them swelter their way towards the break, I wondered what age they were now. KISS was formed in 1973…so they must be getting on. A quick internet check in the interval (crackberry anyone?) confirmed that my Rock Gods were indeed aged and crumbling, mainly in the hip area.
Thirty odd years in high heels had left Paul Stanley, at 58, with two new relacement hips. Gene Simmons, the fire breathing dark lord of several fantasies of my formative years, is 61. My mother is only 10 years older than the God of Thunder.
So, in review? A sterner and more critical eye might have just focused on the sweating make up and the no-longer-taut stomach muscles. But for me, they will always be Rock Gods.
And for them, I’ll always try to be the girl in the red leather jacket.
Tickets still available for Wembley. I recommend it :-)