As we rolled the winding backstreets of West Chester, PA in my brothers “Shaguar,” he handed me this magazine. It reminded me that today is an anniversary worthy of celebration, or at least a blog post…
At this very moment thirty years ago, I was eighteen and in a room on the 7th floor of the Holiday Inn in Providence, RI applying makeup. Dillard was there. I usually had to help him with his makeup. He could never seem to get the Stanley star right. Mike Boyages and Julio “Down by the Schoolyard” Encanarceo were there. They were rookies, but would give it their best shot as Peter Criss and Ace Frehley.
The anticipation was building. We had 7th row floor seats to see KISS. We stared out the window at the Providence Civic Center below. We’d been there since about noon, watching bowl games and listening to KISS. Suddenly, there was commotion outside our door and then knocking. I peered out the fishbowl peephole and saw some people our age, then I heard, “I swear the band is in this room. I saw them from the street.” They thought we were the band! We let them in and shared some beers and a joint.
[Rose Bowl note: Brent Musburger loves saying “John David Booty.”]
The walk across the street was like a parade with people staring, smiling and slapping us “five.” (I don’t think the “high-five” had been invented yet.) We triumphantly entered the arena like victorious gladiators and made our was to the seats, directly in front of the “God of Thunder” himself, Gene Simmons.
[Rose Bowl note: USC has hot cheerleaders.]
The crowd chanted “WE WANT KISS” in short, loud bursts. The lights went out. The crowd went wild… Yesterday I relived the moment, sans makeup, with my brother as we watched an April ’77 show from Budokan Hall in Tokyo. It’s on my rockin Christmas present from Jeffro. Thanks, pal. The “hottest band in the land” opened by cranking “Detroit Rock City” (natch), as they descended 20’ lit stairs, starting aside the giant KISS logo and curving down around Peter Criss’ ridiculously large drum kit.
[Rose Bowl note: USC coach Pete Carroll is pumped and jacked.]
They did all the hits… Gene blew fire at the end of “Firehouse” and spewed blood to open “God of Thunder.” Classic KISS theater. We were unfortunately subjected to the lameness of “Beth,” but the band redeemed themselves with their final encore, “Black Diamond.” Unfortunately, that’s when things went horribly wrong for my pal Dillard.
About halfway through the song, tons of confetti rained down over the first twenty or so rows on the floor. As I later learned, old Mr. Star Eye got a piece of confetti caught in his throat and began choking on it. Lest I remind you how we spent our day? Yeah, it was dry mouth maximus by this time and when he finally whacked me on the arm for help, his eyes were all watery and the makeup that I had so painstakingly applied was smeared all over his face. He looked like a crazed, evil clown as he gagged, coughed and pointed to his throat. Sadly, he did it all as a messed-up mime as I couldn’t hear a damn thing he was saying above the din of the mountainous stacks of Marshall amps, only 25 feet away. Now I’m all about helping a brother out, but Black fucking Diamond was playing and they were about to set off all kinds of pyrotechnic shit on stage. What was I supposed to do, Heimlich the confetti out?
Well, Dillard survived and wet his whistle with a cold Coke at McDonalds as we watched in horror as Julio ate a disgusting amount of McFood… I mean, like 4 Big Mac’s, 4 fries, apple pies, Cokes… It was the most excessive satiating of the munchies I have ever witnessed.
And that’s the way it was. January 1, 1977.
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