Allentown’s Farewell KISS
On February 4 I attended my fourth KISS concert during the band’s End of the Road tour. It was the second date of this leg of the tour, and one of only two times that KISS is coming anywhere near Philadelphia this year. I already got a ticket for the other show, which takes place in Atlantic City in August. While seeing them in Philadelphia last March was spectacular, this concert may have surpassed it. The band was on fire in Allentown, and David Lee Roth’s killer opening set made the night even more fun.
When I arrived at the arena, I was delighted to see that I received an All Access Pass and meet and greet with the band. I don’t take these kinds of opportunities for granted. I’m eternally thankful for the generosity and hospitality I’ve received from KISS over the years, and especially during this tour. They’ve gone above and beyond to make me feel like I’m part of the KISS family, and I can’t thank them enough for doing so.
What makes an All Access Pass amazing is that it gives you the ability to go wherever you like in the arena. Knowing this, I made it a point to head backstage. On my way back, I saw Keith Leroux providing fans who paid for the Ultimate KISS Army Experience with the opportunity to hold Paul Stanley’s guitars. I didn’t want to interrupt him and I didn’t pay for that experience, so I kept on walking by. Based on what I’ve heard, the Ultimate KISS Army Experience is incredible. If you’re interested in learning more about it, or any of the other meet and greet packages that KISS is offering on this tour, read all about them on the band’s website here.
Later on, Keith spotted me and called me over. We chatted about our mutual love for Barry Manilow, among other things, and shared a few laughs. He’s a wonderful person, and I highly recommend getting to know him if you have the opportunity to do so.Because of my credentials, I was able to visit the dressing room area and see the famous Superman curtain that has adorned KISS’ dressing room door since the 1970s. I couldn’t believe it! It was really cool to finally see this iconic curtain in person, and on the band’s final tour no less. I didn’t dare touch it, but I did get a photo with it.
While backstage, I had the opportunity to shake hands and take a photo with KISS’ manager, Doc McGhee, who is always nice as can be. I even saw a dog trot by wearing the same All Access Pass that I had, which made me laugh out loud. This pet had more access than most humans in the building, and he didn’t even know it!
David Lee Roth is opening for KISS this year, and he sounds and looks amazing! Ignore the haters, DLR delivers the goods. Everyone in attendance was having a good time with Diamond Dave. As his set came to a close, I lined up with the rest of the KISS Army for the meet and greet with our face-painted heroes.Since I don’t know whether or not I’m going to meet KISS backstage again I made it a point to say to them, “Thank you for the music and the memories” when I went in for my photo. I gave them all a fist bump, Eric mentioned how much I look like Tommy’s brother—which is something he’s said before, but it always makes everyone laugh—and we posed for our photo. I felt my left arm start to elevate during the shot, and I realized it was because Paul was kicking out his right leg for the photo, which I thought was really cool. I quickly realized that it would look great if I cupped his leg with my left hand, which I did. Unfortunately, KISS’ photographer was done taking my photo at that moment. Thankfully, a very gifted photographer, Christopher Lane, snapped a candid shot of this moment, which you can see below.
Afterward, I worked my way out into the crowd so I’d be ready for KISS to hit the stage. The lights dimmed and that familiar voice yelled, “You wanted the best, you got the best! The hottest band in the world, KISS!” The opening notes of “Detroit Rock City” blared, the KISS curtain dropped, and the band descended as if they were rock gods sent from another world. Amid a pyrotechnics display unlike any I’ve ever seen, Paul, Gene, Tommy, and Eric laid down a rock and roll gauntlet that no other band can match.
As you can see from my photos and videos, KISS puts on an incredible show that’s an assault on the senses. The unique nature of the band’s performance is why fans attend so many shows. While some of the KISS faithful have attended hundreds or thousands of concerts, this was show number 17 for me. Considering I only first saw the band live in 2003, I think that’s pretty good. I’ve never seen anyone as many times as I’ve seen KISS, and I don’t think I ever will.The band’s setlist this time around is slightly different than what they played in 2019. Frankly, I didn’t care if they switched things up or not but it’s nice to see that they’re putting in the extra effort during year two of the tour to keep things fresh. I was thrilled to see that “Crazy Crazy Nights” is still part of the set because that’s one of my favorite tracks from KISS’ diverse and substantial catalog of music.As noted above, Gene did his fire-breathing at the end of “War Machine.” From my point of view, all I could see was a ball of fire fly up above the massive amount of smoke permeating the stage. It was quite the sight.
Tommy Thayer is an amazing guitarist and his talents were on full display throughout the concert, especially during “Cold Gin.”
I particularly love the photo I took of him (below) firing off a rocket during his guitar solo.It’s no secret that Paul is my favorite member of KISS, and he was in full Starchild mode in Allentown. Whether Paul is flicking guitar picks, flying over the audience, or dancing across the stage, he knows how to whip the crowd into a frenzy.Eric Singer is no slouch either. His drumming is a sight to behold. With hands that move at a feverish pace and sticks that hit the skins with lethal precision, he’s easily my all-time favorite drummer.
Whether he’s pounding away while singing “Black Diamond” or tickling the ivories and belting out “Beth,” Eric is a consummate professional and a fan favorite.Happiness is being amidst a swirling cyclone of confetti while KISS caps off another stellar show with the rock and roll national anthem: “Rock and Roll All Nite.I’m thankful that I was able to have this experience one more time in Allentown, and I can’t wait to see them again in Atlantic City.