A NIGHT IN THE CAR TO SEE KISS
I will always remember this KISS concert for a number of reasons, including that it is one of my favorite shows that I have ever attended, the circumstances leading up to the show and my sleeping arrangements after the concert that night.
The adventure began when a buddy and I went to Toronto to play an indoor tennis tournament that first weekend of October, 1992. Unfortunately, my buddy lost in the first round and was stuck waiting for me to get eliminated before we would both make our way back home to Ottawa, which was about five hours away. We grabbed and split the costs of a hotel room in Toronto on the Friday night, however I kept doing well in the tennis tournament and eventually qualified for the semi-finals to be played on the Sunday morning.
Sometime on the Saturday of that weekend, I found out that KISS was playing that evening at the iconic Maple Leafs Garden for their ‘Revenge’ tour. This was an opportunity that I simply could not pass up! Unfortunately, when my buddy found out about my plan to go see KISS play live, he immediately elected to make his way back to Ottawa via public transportation. This meant that I now had to pay the entire hotel fee for the Saturday night on my own! With a limited budget, my options essentially dwindled down to staying in a hotel by myself and skipping the KISS concert OR going to the show and sleeping in my car — a beat up Ford Escort with a non-functioning heating system. Of course, the latter option prevailed.
I was pleased when I got to the Maple Leafs Garden box office since I was able to secure a ticket in the seated general admission area about 20 rows from the stage — not bad for a last minute purchase! I got to my seat just before KISS hit the stage opening with the song “Creatures Of The Night” and one of my all-time favorite KISS tunes “Deuce”. Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons were bundles of energy throughout the evening, jumping around and moving a lot on stage. The stage set-up itself was a tad odd with a giant replica of the Statue Of Liberty with the statue’s face eventually crumbling to reveal a skull sometime during the show. While the Statue Of Liberty replica was cool to see, I did not really see the connection with the ‘Revenge’ CD or tour.
This was the tour when KISS really started delving into their back catalog of songs to play some more obscure early KISS songs such as “Parasite”, “Watchin’ You” and “Hotter Than Hell”. Given that I had no idea what the set list was going to be and as a long-time KISS fan, I was very pleased when I heard the first few riffs for each of those classics — especially for “Watchin’ You”. KISS played a healthy dose of new songs from their latest release ‘Revenge’ including the gritty “Unholy”, the catchy “I Just Wanna”, the crowd pleaser “Domino”, and the stripper homage “Take It Off”.
What struck me at this concert compared to previous ones that I had attended was there was a wide range of people of various ages and backgrounds attending the show. This was not the usual heavy metal crowd filled with young testosterone fueled males and scantily clad women. For instance, standing beside me was a short-haired balding middle aged man with glasses and army pants. It seemed that this gentleman was pulling out those army pants especially for the show and would have normally been wearing a suit or something like that on a daily basis. Given that KISS had been around for 20 years by the time of their 1992 ‘Revenge’ tour, it was not surprising that the band would attract such a diverse crowd. Nevertheless, I found it interesting and revealing on how KISS had now reached a number of generations for their fan base.
In addition to the usual KISS staples such as “Shout It Out Loud” and “Detroit Rock City”, the band played at least one song from each of its releases from ‘Creatures Of The Night’ onwards, except for no songs stemming from ‘Crazy Nights’ — which I did not have a problem with. One nice thing about KISS‘ show in 1992 was the plethora of songs that the band played — with over 20 songs in the band’s regular set. KISS closed off their show with the encores “God Gave Rock ‘N’ Roll To You II”, which was surprisingly very good and made for an easy sing along type song, and “Love Gun”, one of the all-time classic KISS songs.
Once the show ended and my euphoria dissipated, I had to face the reality that I had a likely uncomfortable night to look forward to sleeping in my car. Now, this was not my first time sleeping in a car but it was probably my second time doing so with absolutely nothing comfortable to sleep on or in (no pillows and/or blankets) in rather cold weather. However, this was a small price to pay to have been able to see my favorite band in concert once again. I would love to say that I had a great evening sleeping in my car but the reality is that it felt like a very long night. Eventually I elected to switch parking lots in the middle of the night to a “safer” one, and I got little sleep. For those of you wondering how I fared in the tennis tournament on the Sunday morning, I did have a (to be expected) very slow and sluggish start in my semi-final match but I ended up playing quite well in what turned out to be a losing effort but that went the distance to a third set tiebreaker.
At the end of the day, the whole weekend was a memorable experience and I am happy that I got to see KISS on their ‘Revenge’ tour. I still consider that KISS concert as one of my all-time favorite shows that I have ever attended.