From Elvis to KISS in 9 months. My mom never understood that one. I started getting into KISS in 1976, when a classmate of mine bought KISS Alive! and brought it to my house to listen to on my stereo. We were 12 years old, and while we listened to the music blasting through the cheap speakers on the no-name-brand stereo, we gazed in awe at the booklet that came with the album. Look! He's breathing fire! Oh, there! What is that? Is he spitting blood? Cool!! So started an obsession that would last 20 years, ending with the pathetic grab for money known as the KISS Reunion Tour in 1996.
Anyway, in 1976, I was discovering hard rock. I had always liked Elvis's rock songs more than any others, and when I heard songs like "Deuce" and "Firehouse," I knew I'd found the music to which I'd listen the rest of my life.
In early 1977, I opened the Sunday morning newspaper and discovered an ad for a KISS concert to be held March 5, 1977, in Lexington, KY. Lexington was about a 75-minute drive from my hometown, and my friends and I feverishly tried to figure out how we might get to go to see KISS. After a day or two of negotiations with parents, one of my friends' parents agreed to take a group of us to Lexington to see the show, but they weren't shelling out the money for the tickets. I discussed it with my mom, and---after much cajoling, I'm sure---she agreed to mail a check in to purchase 4 tickets at $7.75 each, with my friends paying her back for their tickets.
In those days, tickets were purchased at the ticket office or by mail. No phone numbers you could call, no local ticket sales in a nearby grocery store, no web sites (of course)---in fact, no Ticketmaster! It was Ticketron at the time, and we mailed off a check for 4 tickets. About a week later, the tickets arrived---and they were too cool. There were embossed with the KISS logo in raised lettering.
On the day of the show, my friend's parents took us to Lexington---but no one knew how to get to the then-new Rupp Arena. I ended up spotting the building by matching the logo printed on the tickets with the sign on the building. We were dropped off at the door and made our way inside, where we were astounded at the merchandise that was for sale. I ended up buying a KISS tour book and a metallic-print poster reproducing the Destroyer cover.
KISS didn't disappoint---the show was incredible, the bombs shook the building, Gene breathed fire, and we were all in awe. Our seats were on the left-hand side of the stage, near the back of the arena, but we thought they were great. And I was exposed for the first time to people smoking pot---and I never could figure out what the point was of paying to go see KISS and then passing out before KISS even took the stage, as happened with a couple of guys sitting in front of us.
The next day at school was wonderful. I was extremely popular for that one day, because I took my KISS tourbook to school, and everyone wanted to look at it. I was more than happy to let the 8th-grade girls look at it all they wanted!
On July 12, 2002, I received a CD-R containing an audience recording of this very show! Too cool.
On February 19, 2006, Miles Reucroft sent me this review of the show from the March 6, 1977, issue of the Lexington Herald newspaper. Thanks, Miles!
Miles also sent this clipping from the March 5, 1977, issue of the Lexington Herald newspaper on how to prepare for the show. Click on the image or click here to read the article.
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