Nine months after I first saw KISS, I had an opportunity to see them again when they played in Louisville, KY, on the Alive II tour. The album current when I saw them in March was Rock and Roll Over; that summer, KISS released Love Gun, and then that fall, Alive II was released. I actually got to hear Alive II before its release date because my mom worked at a radio station at the time (WSAC, Radcliff/Ft. Knox), and when they received a promo copy of the album, she brought it to me. KISS was definitely not the kind of music WSAC played (not that anybody played much KISS music on the radio back then anyway).
Once again, when I found the ad in the paper for the concert, I talked my mom into letting me go, further getting her to agree this time to drive two of my friends and me to Louisville to see the show. Once again, we mailed off for the tickets ($7.50 this time, $.25 cheaper than the March show), and we waited anxiously for December 12 to arrive.
We knew the opening act was a band called AC/DC, but we'd never heard of them. During a visit to the radio station, I asked the program director if he'd heard of AC/DC. He took me to the station library and found a 45 promo single for AC/DC's "Problem Child" and, again, gave it to me because WSAC would never play it. The next few weeks were spent listening to Alive! and Alive II repeatedly, with "Problem Child" thrown into the mix quite often.
On the day of the show, my mom drove the three of us (me, Jim Becker, and another classmate---the word "friend" really doesn't apply) to Louisville and dropped us off at the entrance to the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center, home of Freedom Hall. We were to meet her after the show at the nearby Executive Inn parking lot.
Once again, I chose a tourbook for my concert memoribilia, and we proceeded to our seats. They were on the right-hand side of the stage, fairly high up---and my Kodak Instamatic was useless. I took a whole roll of pictures, but we were so far away, none of them came out at all.
The concert, of course, was great---the stage had stairs and risers and cherry-pickers, and Gene breathed fire and spat blood, and Paul danced around like a madman, jumping what seemed to be several feet in the air to land perfectly on his 7-inch platform shoes. At the end of the show, the drums rose into the air to reveal a mural with two giant cats on it. If you've ever seen the inside gatefold cover of Alive II, then you've seen the stage.
I enjoyed AC/DC, but since the only song I knew was "Problem Child," we were mostly bored until they played that song. The guitarist, Angus Young, was a madman, moving non-stop. At one point during their set, while Angus was playing guitar, he got on lead singer Bon Scott's shoulders, and Bon carried Angus around the floor of Freedom Hall, with Angus continuing to play. Awfully cool stuff to a 13-year-old just discovering that there were other good bands besides KISS.
After the show, we made our way back to the Executive Inn for the rendezvous with my mom for the ride home. And once again, my popularity at school soared for one day as I showed the tourbook to anyone who showed a glimmer of interest.
|On February 19, 2006, Miles Reucroft sent me this review of the show from the December 16, 1977, issue of The Lexington Leader newspaper. Thanks, Miles!|
Miles also sent me a few clippings from Lexington papers related to the January 18, 1978, KISS concert at Rupp Arena. I didn't get to attend that show, but you can read the clippings by clicking here.
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