Best Gigs The Rockbrat’s Seen ? Kiss – Philadelphia (1996)

Who: Kiss
When: Philadelphia PA, USA – Tue October 8, 1996

1996 – the Kiss re-union. Was there a bigger rock event that year ? It had been talked about and often dissed.  The non-make-up line-up were doing quite nicely thankyou very much. ‘Revenge’ was a solid outing and they were now delving into the grind-metal type sound, as evidenced by the ‘Carnival Of Souls’ release. But then, drummer Eric Singer had the bright idea of inviting original Kiss drummer Peter Criss to one of the Kiss Conventions in LA and the wheels were set in motion. The Rockbrat was determined to fly to the U.S to see this killer reformation and what better place than on home soil – Madison Square Garden. Unfortunately the Rockbrat was not quick enough to nab tickets for that, but settled on the Corestates Spectrum in Philadelphia a shirt time later. This venue has a great rock history. For a start Dio filmed their ‘Special From The Spectrum’ video there and The Doors ‘Live in Philadelphia ’70 snore-fest was recorded there as well. Of particular interest to this Lennon fan, was that on December 9, 1980 Springsteen played here – and it was on that occasion where – upon learning of Lennon’s death, said “It’s a hard thing to come out and play but there’s just nothing else you can do.” So the Rockbrat had been bunkered down in a Bank Street Hostel – overdosing on local ale and the city’s famous Cheese Steaks in preparation for the Kiss re-union. Support act came by way of  ‘Mars Needs Women’ ? who were very, very forgettable. Fortunately I’d visited the bar and they were less of a distraction. So after imagining that the original four would never re-unite – here I was – in the zone of the Rock gods. Kudo’s to Kiss for selecting The Who’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ as part of their intro tape – cos having the sound guy rip the volume as Daltry screms mid-song was a smart move – effectively getting the adrenalin pumping of all anticipated punters in whatever venue they were performing. Funnily enough – after ceasing to spend hard-earned Rockbrat-dollars on this band, it is a thought I often utter nowadays ! The houselights dim – the crowd roars – the curtain rises and bam ! ‘Deuce’ – followed by ‘King Of The Night Time World’, ‘Do You Love Me’, ‘Calling Dr. Love’.  You probably know this set-list down pat, so I will not spell it out again. I had nose-bleed seats, but that didn’t matter – I was in the presence of my rock-heroes. Not Vinnie Vincent, not Eric Singer – not the current imposter on guitar – but Ace and Pete – back with $immons and Stanley. The whole show was a highlight and I think I screamed myself hoarse.  Stanley under the purple lights doing the Black Diamond into was magic as was 100’000 Years. What a shame that behind closed doors things were not as rosy between the four band members as they made out.  A great night and a very happy rockbrat indeed ! Time for another Cheese Steak…

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