KISS in Context

A few weeks ago we caught KISS. The last time I saw them I was covering up my pimpled face with make up back in the 80’s. My teenage friends and I caught a youthful rock group playing out a comic book fantasy perfect for our age group. And boy, were our ears ringing as we made our way home.

Our seats were far from the stage, but the atmosphere was electric!
Our seats were far from the stage, but the atmosphere was electric!

Today, they’re ageing rock stars. And although Baby Boomers have been used to seeing their pop idols reach what to them is retirement age, our generation are starting to see our heroes also reach their sixties and kinda slow down.

KISS are great businessmen, and I was reminded of this when images of their career flashed behind them on stage during one song. Back in the day they lost their make up, and I began to wonder what their image would be like if they continued down that path. They learned quickly that it didn’t work for them. They already had a winning formula, so why change it.

Madonna has been busy trying to be relevant to a younger audience. For those of us who worshipped her in the past, we’ve wondered why would this be an avenue an artist would take. George Michael, on the other hand, has grown old with his audience. He performs the classics on stage but at no time does he try to recapture his youth. He’s us. And he knows a younger audience isn’t impressed with someone trying to impress them.

A rare selfie
A rare selfie

But there’s something to be said about make up and keeping that youth. KISS are cleverly in a time capsule that we all love to relive. Many of the songs are from the compilation album, ‘Double Platinum’. We know these songs. We can sing along. Gene Simmons plays his character on stage, albeit a little older, managing to breathe one breath of fire while still keeping his horror aspect. Paul Stanley is himself, a welcoming front man in all regards. Even my partner who bought me the tickets for my birthday became impressed with this band. He now understands their charm.

A couple at the train station on our way to the concert.
A couple at the train station on our way to the concert.

I heard that they played without make up. The VIP tickets included an unplugged set allowing the inner artists to be seen and heard. As an older audience member, that would have been a concert I would have loved to have been at.

Regardless, I revisited my youth with a band who know how to play to the inner teenager in us all. They still have the light in their eyes, and the look of champions.


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