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The Bend Magazine

Fire, Blood & Unity for All

02/21/2019 12:33PM ● By Kylie Cooper
By: Kylie Cooper  Photos by: Carlos Cooper

I’ll start by saying I really only know one song by the legendary, boundary-breaking, American rock band, KISS. When I think about KISS, I think about the scene in “Dazed and Confused,” when all the kids start arriving to the moon tower kegger. Needless to say, ending up at a KISS concert on a Tuesday night wasn’t in my calendar when the week started. However, when duty calls, you go – and boy was my husband excited about it. 

The show, which took place at the American Bank Center this past Tuesday night, was the 13th stop on the band’s world tour, consisting of 105 shows throughout North America, Europe, and Oceania. The tour, entitled “One Last KISS: End of the Road World Tour,” will be the bands’ last hoorah. The entire arena was packed, floor to ceiling. The people in attendance were of vast variety. However, all there for the same reason: the undeniable fact that if anyone can put on a show, it is KISS.

There was a small seat debacle as I walked through the isle to find row FLE, seat 8. A nice man in full Gene Simmons makeup, painted blue jeans, and a tight leather vest helped me find the place where I belonged and kindly informed the people who were in my seat that they were not in the right place. I thanked the Gene lookalike for his help and sat – waiting for the sure to be theatrical performance to begin.

The lights went out, the screams roared, and four men, in their ever-recognizable studded leather uniforms, descended from the ceiling to the song “Detroit Rock City,” with fire and all. Videos of past concerts played on the screen behind them as they performed hit after hit – a real time portfolio of the band’s most classic and beloved works.

Fire spiting, blood running out of mouths, face makeup, and more. Everything you would hope or dream of a KISS show consisting of was present in the American Bank Center that night. However, the aspect of the show, in its entirety, that stuck with me the most once leaving, was the underlying theme of unity, and the fact that for tonight, we were all there as one.

Throughout the show, Paul Stanley, said various things like, “tonight is the night we forget about all the bad news in the world,” and “look at yourself, you are all beautiful.” Positivity flowed out of each member as they reminded us that, although we are all different, we were gathered there together as family – KISS’ family.

The feeling I got when panning the crowd was almost peaceful. That sounds weird to say considering the music is anything but tranquil. Yet the joy seen in people’s faces when yelling the every single word to each song was refreshing. This band, these songs, they mean something to everyone. While I only think of high school kids in Austin, TX drinking beer at the moon tower, others may think of owning their first record or painting their face with black and white makeup for Halloween. They allowed people to feel known and appreciated. And, while KISS might be extra in the most rock ‘n roll way, they gifted everyone in attendance that night with something very special – a chance to feel both welcomed and belonged.