DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Thursday’s KISS “End of the Road World Tour” had been cancelled not once, not twice, but three times for those wanting to attend the concert at Wright State University’s Nutter Center.
But finally, the wait was over.
More than an hour before doors opened, dozens of fans waited in the sun for a chance to see considered one of the most influential rock bands of all time, KISS.
The band has been around since it was formed in 1973 in New York City. Since then, they’ve sold over 100 million records and played in most venues around the world.
Over the course of nearly 50 years, the band members have been touring the world together, and on Thursday, they made one final stop in the Buckeye state for the KISS Army.
“This is probably the last time I’ll get to see them,” DeLong said. “I always paint my face up as a different member each time. First time was Gene, then Paul, Ace, and now Peter.”
Jeremy DeLong, of Eminence, Kentucky, made the two-and-a-half-hour drive to the Gem City to see the band his father showed him years ago.
“My daddy was a die-hard KISS fan, I got him with me,” DeLong pulled out an urn from his pocket containing his father’s ashes. “I always bring him to the concerts with me.”
It’s a relationship that Mark Napier, of Ashley, Ohio, wanted to start with his children at their first-ever concert.
Mark and his wife, Kendra, have seen Slayer together, which can be much more intense than KISS, but they couldn’t miss the chance to see KISS one time before they retire from touring, especially when this can be their kids’ first concert.
“I do prefer to be around the older folks and there’s a lot carried through the years,” Napier said. “(Slayer) can be a little rowdy, so we brought it down. This was a nice trip for us.”
Prior to getting in line, the Napiers stopped by the First Heavy Metal Church of Christ of Dayton’s RV where Senior Pastor Brian Smith and his team were giving out KISS makeovers to get the crowd ready for a night to remember.
“We here to offer free KISS makeup to paint their faces and to have a good time with the people where they are at,” Pastor Smith said. “But when the show starts, I’m gonna be in there rocking.”
Smith saw KISS for the first time when the hall of fame band did not wear makeup during the Lick It Up World Tour in 1983. Thursday’s show was the first time Smith saw KISS in their full makeup and outfits.
“Since we have parked, we have had a continues flow of people come over here to get their face painted,” Smith said.
The newest additions, guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer have been members of KISS on and off since the early 2000’s when Ace Frehley (The Spaceman) and Peter Criss (The Catman) retired from the band.
Paul Stanley (The Starchild) and Gene Simmons (The Demon) made their way back to Dayton for the 15th time, according to Stanley.
A line of fans wrapped around the Wright State University Nutter Center, down the back stairs, and to the farthest parking lot as time ticked away. Hundreds of fans waited to get in and the band wouldn’t start playing until everyone was there.
But then, the lights went down and the crowd roared.
Over the speakers you could hear, “You wanted the best. You got the best. The hottest band in the world: KISS!”
Next, an explosion of fire as the KISS banner fell to show the legendary band, and the crowd never sat back down. From young children to elders rocking out in their wheelchairs, the band kept the show rocking from start to finish.
The “End of the World World Tour” has been reported to be KISS’ last, but many legendary bands have said the same. If it’s true, then it was a wild night in the Miami Valley that no one who attended will ever forget.
— Until they return for one more show.