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A Sucker Born Every Minute?

Posted on Sunday, August 1, 2010 at 12:01AM by Registered CommenterBrian Carvell | Comments9 Comments

Have you ever made one of those decisions that is so completely opposite of every common sense instinct your body is telling you? I just made one of those the other day and I am still not totally able to justify my choice.

Here's the deal...I watched the recent KISSteria special on A&E, and I was appalled at what I saw. What was advertised as essentially being a one hour documentary of the KISS tour of Australia was nothing more than a scripted performance based on a concept so ridiculous that any notion of reality was lost. The premise of the show was that Gene and Paul were talking one night in Paul's kitchen, and they made a spur of the moment decision that KISS should perform in Australia the next week, and then it showed them working with their manager to pull it all together and make it happen. The very notion was so unbelievable and poorly scripted that I was almost embarrassed for the band as I was watching it. It was an insult to the intelligence of the viewing audience.

Please know that I am a huge fan of KISS. I have been for 22 years. I actually stood in line for 9 hours (in on-again-off-again rain) in New York City to get a picture with the band in full make-up (see picture above which they took before I turned to look forward, but just before it was taken, Gene and I were nose-to-nose with our tongues out...a surreal moment for me). However, lately, it has become more difficult to be fan. The television shows, the obscene amounts of merchandise, the Dr. Pepper commercials are all so cheesy, that even I have to look away. But, then they will redeem themselves with a quality album (Sonic Boom) and the amazing KISSology dvds that they have released. So, as a fan, I am constantly torn between loving them and hating them.

Now, to the inexplicable decision. I finished watching the KISSteria special and was repulsed at what I had just seen, but then I went online and bought a pair of tickets to their August 7th show in Massachusetts. The bottom line was, even as hokey as the show was, the clips of the live performance sold me on going to see them once again. I just could not pass on the opportunity to see their live show again.

So who watched the KISSteria special, and who liked it or hated it? Would it influence your decision to go see KISS live? And more importantly, who was a fan, but has backed off of the band in recent years due to the over exposure and merchandising of the name?

Reader Comments (9)

I've decided that I'm a huge fan of KISS' *music* but little else. Gene Simmons makes me sick, but he is a great songwriter. "Sonic Boom" was a fantastic album. I'd love to see them in concert again, but they don't play enough of the new material to make it worth it to me.

To the question at hand, I watched about 2 minutes of the KISS special, the part where Gene got stuck mid-air and he was supposedly screaming, "Get me down from here!" It was so stupid I turned it off.
August 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJT
This is the same band that brought us "Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park", remember? ;) I've loved Kiss since I was 8 years old. For all the products and promotion, I still do. When AC/DC toured to support "Black Ice", every single ticket at my local arena, from the front row to the nosebleeds cost over $100 a piece. No price differential at all. We saw Kiss two summers ago at Summerfest. The price of a lawn ticket was less than the fees. This year, they're playing amphitheaters and letting people bring up to 4 kids with them on the lawn for free. 4 kids for FREE. Say what you will about shamelss promotion, but Gene Simmons seems to respect the fact that I work quite hard for my money. For that, I remain loyal. And yeah, that special kind of sucked.
August 1, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermom2ross
Great take on Kissteria. I too was embarrassed for the band watching it. It made me feel great in my decision never to watch a single second of the Gene "scripted reality" tv show. It seems he talked the band into doing an hour version of it for the network, prob for big bucks. It was horrible.

Live on the other hand is different story. I saw them last year @ MSG and it was a great show. They are playing in NJ in 3 weeks with a set list that includes 5 songs off the new record and $20 lawn seats. If I didn't already have Queensryche tix, I would be there. They still are a great live band.
August 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSparkyDR99
As mom2ross said, Kiss has always been promoting their image like this. I remember hanging out with my 9-year old friends in the late 70's, and their rooms were PACKED with Kiss merchandise, and we all loved it. We thought the make-up was the coolest, we loved the movie (remember, we were 9!), among over things. And that was 30 years ago! What they are doing now is exactly what they've been doing forever.

That said, who really cares?! If you like their music and will have a good time at the show, go, and don't feel bad about it!
August 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBryon
It doesnt really matter what they do, they have been and will continue to be successful. Kiss is entertainment. Their music is fun and truly, that's all I care about. I've bought their stuff, and it makes me smile, when I look at it down in my gameroom. Brings me back to years gone by. I took my 9 yr old to his first rock concert last winter, and it was KISS. He'll never forget it, for Kiss did a wonderful show geared towards all ages. Thanks Kiss for continuing to kick butt for all these yrs.
August 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian L
Brian C., you hit the nail on the head about that horrible "Kissteria" TV show. The 1998 Kiss documentary "The Second Coming" genuinely showed how the band really was on the reunion tour and nothing was scripted. It just shows you how "reality TV" has changed the band to the point of ridiculousness.

I was a huge Kiss fan until recently because the band refuses to lower their ticket prices during these poor economic times. Kiss played nearby in Cincinnati last Friday but I had no desire to see them partly because of "Kissteria" and partly because of the $151 ticket price. I still enjoy the band's music but I refuse to see them live if they continue charging more than $100 per ticket.
August 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDustin
Thanks all for your comments.

Dustin - part of the reason I decided to go was, due to poor ticket sales in MA, prices were lowered to $25 per ticket, and I scored two in center section of the middle of the pavilion. Couldn't turn those down at that price!!
August 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrian C.
the first concert I ever saw was KISS back in 1979 with Judas priest as the opening act. KISS has been all about the merch since the beginning. Back in the 70s there were KISS radios, KISS dolls and KISS makeup. I'm sure there was more stuff, but that's about all my brain can conjure up from 35 years ago. My point is that, for KISS, the brand has always been as important as the band so what they are doing today is nothing new so I don't have a problem with it. I bought their albums in the 70s, and I still buy them now. I didn't buy their merch in the 70s and I don't buy it now. I refuse to buy tickets to their concerts now, not because I have a problem with KISS, but because ticket prices for major bands in general are way out of line, and that is something I do have a problem with.
August 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBob
I have to be honest - I actually enjoyed it as cheesy as it was. The thing you have to remember is that KISS has always done things a little differently. I ask you this: Did you see Bon Jovi's "When We Were Beautiful" ??? That was a piece of egomaniacal SHIT, and boring as hell. At the very least KISS attempted to make an almost goofy Beatle-esque sort of concert tour movie. Was it silly, yes, but after 30 years of doing the KISS thing, you've got to commend them for at least trying to keep things FUN. I didn't think it was that different from Family Jewels, it was a nice companion to that show. I try to see them every time they come around because they still sound so damn good! I'll be at the Holmdel, NJ show and I was at the MSG show in the first leg of the Sonic Boom tour.
August 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterThe Sexy Armpit

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