The Metal Files

My Life. My Music. Your Voyeurism.

KISS Review, Raleigh, NC, May 17, 2022

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This is a story about many things, but mostly of friends, KISS and how small of a world we live in.

Let’s just start with me being a huge fan of 70s KISS. I’ve told the story often about how my older brother Robert (RIP) stole a copy of Dressed To Kill from Montgomery Ward when I was a kid and that got me hooked on KISS immediately. Forever thankful that my brother was a thief I guess. Haha. I do prefer the 70s and some of the 80s stuff, but mainly the makeup era for sure.

But let’s get on with this story. I play poker…A LOT…and a couple of weeks prior to this show I was playing at a friend’s house where we play about every other month with fellow friends in our industry as well as some other friends of Steve’s (the host). That night a friend of a friend came to play and was seated next to me. He is in his early 60s and we got to talking about music and we connected pretty quickly. He tells me that he manages Earth Wind and Fire, Smokey Robinson and works with Doc McGhee (KISS). I tell him about how big of a KISS fan I am and show him some info about “The Book” and how much I’d love to get those guys in there. “I can make that happen.” Oh? He gives me his card and says to contact him over the weekend and he would see what he could do for the upcoming Raleigh show. He left mid-poker game to take care of some band business and that was that.

The next morning I send him a text with my contact info and he said he’d get back to me. I didn’t book my flight yet because you never know how real stuff like this is. I didn’t hear back from him until the following Wednesday and he said, “You’re all set up. I couldn’t get the meet and greet as it was filled up and still very limited, but I have you +1 and you’re gonna love your seats.” WHAAAAAAT? Sweet! I thanked him about 20 times then went and booked my flight. My best friend Chris lives in Raleigh so he was going to be my +1, mainly because he was available and I needed a place to sleep while I was there, not because I wanted to see him again so soon after Hell’s Heroes. Ha.

So I get to Raleigh on Monday afternoon and we go and grab dinner and a couple drinks before heading to his place. We get there, hang out with his wife and then crash out.

We get up Tuesday and he’s got to get his boys ready for school and work and I also had work to do, so we took care of business as we needed to and then got ready to head to the Walnut Creek Amphitheater for the show. We hit a record store, found nothing of interest and went across the street to a little bar and grabbed dinner and a couple of drinks and made our way through the show traffic to get parked. I was a little nervous since I didn’t have tickets in hand that maybe we didn’t get hooked up so I went to will call and gave her my ID and she handed me an envelope. Whew. We were prepared to buy cheap seats just in case we didn’t get tix. I opened the envelope and I saw that we were in section 2, row N. Ooooooh, those sound close.

Once inside, we bought an overpriced drink and meet up with some friends for a bit. After that we go to our seats and WHOA…we’re close. We’re dead center in the front section and only about 10-12 rows back. I was shocked to be honest. These are not cheap seats, especially at a KISS show.

As we’re sitting down, I have a woman and her kid next to me and we get into a conversation. She was in visiting from Corpus Christi, TX and I tell her I was in from Austin. Come to find out, she got hooked up through the same guy I did. Her best friend is this guy’s neighbor and her friend got them hooked up for the show. Oddly enough, I know her friend as well. Her daughter is 11 or 12 and is a massive KISS fan. I sent a message to the guy and their picture and he was ecstatic that we had connected. What a small world! Just a crazy connection.

So there we were, all anticipating KISS hitting the stage. Chris isn’t a fan, but that was only because he didn’t get that exposure in his younger years like many of us did, but he was also looking forward to seeing it live. And then boom, the curtain drops and there they are opening with Detroit Rock City and I got an instant boost of energy. They rolled through the same set that they have been playing for a while but it was a solid list overall minus Say Yeah and Psycho Circus. Of course I would have loved more from Rock and Roll Over but oh well. They were solid and both Gene and Paul’s voices sounded good. There was only one spot in one song that I think Paul used something canned, but the rest of the night sounded natural to my ears. The show was absolutely fun and I had only seen KISS one other time and that was within the last 10 years. One of the things I loved the most was watching Jeanette’s kid have such a great time seeing her favorite band. KISS knows how to put on a show. Towards the end they dropped large KISS balloons and I caught one to give to her kid. She was excited about it. I had such a great time and getting to see my best friend enjoy a band he wasn’t all that into and meeting new friends made it a wonderful night all around.

The show ends and as we’re walking out covered in confetti and Jeanette mentioned that she was going to try and get an Uber to get back to their hotel. I told her she’d likely be waiting forever and that we could give her a ride. So we get back to Chris’ vehicle, throw the large balloon in the back and head to their hotel. Quick hugs and goodbyes at the hotel and we were off to find a late night snack and drink. We found it, but it wasn’t that great. Whatever. Back to the house and we crashed out pretty quickly.

The next morning, we both do some work, catch his wife up on how the show went and the “small world” story. Once we both got caught up on work, I packed and showered and we headed off to hit a BBQ restaurant to get my belly filled with some eastern NC style pork BBQ since I can’t get that style here in Texas. Off to the airport from there. I had a connection through Atlanta and ran into a poker buddy there who was headed back to Austin.

What a great time. No matter that KISS is still Gene, Paul and “those other guys”, they still kill it live. They’re obviously not young guys anymore but can still put on as good of a show as anyone.

KISS FOREVER. And a million thanks to Mike for the hookup.

Written by The Metal Files

May 19, 2022 at 12:39 pm

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