I LOVED KISS. I had a KISS black light poster on my bedroom door (although I had no idea what a black light was). And while most girls my age were fawning over Scott Baio, Shaun Cassidy, and The Bee Gees, my crushes were Paul Stanley, Peter Criss, and Gene Simmons.
I've been to my share of concerts: Hank Williams, Jr., The Black Crowes, Def Leppard, Melissa Etheridge, Robert Plant, Van Halen, Blink 182, Dave Matthews Band to name a few... Though I'm not really one for big crowds (I can pretty much guarantee you will not find me anywhere near a mall November through December).
But back in 2003, when my favorite local foreigners, Karl and Thorsten, invited me along to the KISS / Aerosmith concert... How could I possibly say no?!!
Nearly three decades later, KISS went on tour with Aerosmith. I can't even begin to describe the nostalgia! What a crazy déjà vu standing there with my two German counterparts, memorable worlds colliding in untouchable, unspeakable ways. And then, there they were, smoke rising as "Detroit Rock City" sounded off and throngs of seventies survivors, many sporting clueless grand-kids upon their has-been shoulders, cheered and raised lit cigarette lighters of tribute into the air while the sweet fetid stench of marijuana wafted through the night. I felt the rippling chill of "once upon a time" wash through us all, like a big magic wave, wistful. And then, as quickly as it came, dissipated into the present moment, when I saw them - my childhood rock stars, jamming fast and furious, as grand as they ever had been in their glory days - larger than life... even as their flabby beer guts hung over too tight leather chaps, even as Gene's heavy caked-on stage make-up and fake blood oozed into the cracks and wrinkles of his forlorn face, even as the guitar didn't break apart on the first slam upon the stage or even the second, even as the crowd absent of screaming, half-naked, sexually-liberated hippy girls - stood hollering, mesmerized and lost in time, wanting more, just a little more, to return, for just one more song, to their lost bittersweet youth, where ever they were. --Something about the near-geriatric rock-n-rollers parading around in their leather and studs, 'shouting it out loud,' wasn't quite the kinder-euphoria I remembered, however, I had to smile in spite of myself, returning, if only for an instant, to simple happy days past.
Though it seems that no concert is complete without an annoying drunk or two hundred and of course, one lone inebriated fellow found us. --Karl, never one to be impolite, befriended the poor soul while Thorsten, ever the gentleman, claimed me as his "wife" when the guy began beer-goggling me. All in all though, me, Karl, and my "concert husband" had a blast. That was the last concert I attended to date and I'm cool with that... it was a perfect note to end on.
And it was an incredible show!
"Flaming youth will set the world on fire"... and they always do... then you grow up, like it or not, and hopefully learn something useful and good and maybe have some interesting tales to tell.
Oh yeah, and Aerosmith kicked ass too. ;-)
"Nostalgia keeps dissolving the ironic narratives in which I have contained my past."
...Mason Cooley, City Aphorisms, Twelfth Selection, New York (1993)