Part 8: You Wanted the Best

DISCLAIMER:  To properly get myself in the mood, I have Kiss Alive II on as I type. 

Some of the guilty parties

When Kiss announced their reunion tour in 1996, I knew I’d be going.  Obviously, there would be no question.  I’d never even seen Kiss before!  Original lineup for my first time?  Score! However just to be different from the crowd, I wore my Kiss Revenge shirt that day.

One of  Tom’s buddies that worked at Sunrise scored us the tickets.  The seats were decent, nothing special, we were way up, but it hardly mattered with the giant screens that Kiss had started to use.  Transportation was also included, for a few bucks of gas money, this same buddy of  Tom’s was driving us in his 1988 Shitmobile.

I remember it was a Wednesday night, but I don’t remember the opening act.  We missed them, thanks to Tom.

Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. I remember in the stop-and-go of the 401, we got rear-ended.  Tom’s bud got out, looked at his car, gave the thumbs up to the other driver, and we were back on our merry way.  The only reason I remember this now is because with hindsight, it was an omen.

We got to Toronto, and we had to check out the record stores before the show as well.  I wish I could remember what I bought that night but I want to say it was the the Japanese import version of Quaternary, by Motley Crue.

The rest of us were done long before Tom (please see back to Part 6, Re: Tom’s record shopping habits) and we were waiting, and waiting…

“I just have to check blues.”

…and waiting and…

“Almost done, just need to see if they have that Louis Armstrong that I need.”

…waiting and waiting…

“They didn’t have Louie.  But they did have a pretty awesome live Coltrane I’ve never seen before!  OK, country…I swear I’ll be quick.”

We entered the venew to the strains of “King of the Night Time World”, which of course meant we had already missed “Detroit Rock City!”  Fucking Tom!

On the bright side, I was being rocked by Kiss, in the flesh!  Four giant inflatable Kiss statues adorned the arena.  The pyro was so hot we culd feel it where we were, in the nosebleeds.

Paul flew to his platform in the middle of the floor for “Love Gun”.  Gene spat blood, breathed fire, and flew during “God of Thunder”.  Peter elevated during his solo spot.  Ace fired fireballs out of his guitar during his.

The setlist was pretty pedestrian, which is pretty much the only negative thing I have to say about the reunion-era Kiss.  They played nothing outside of the first 6  studio albums (Kiss to Love Gun).  They did play two “Kisco” songs overseas, but here we only got the basics.  It was obvious that, as fans, we’d get no rarely heard original lineup tunes such as “Rocket Ride” or “Mainline”.

However, we were rocked deaf.  We exited the venue into the still warm June air.  It was 11:30.

Tom’s buddy parked a fair hike away, so he was going to go get the car while we waited.  Fair enough.  Record stores were still open in downtown Toronto, so we hit  Tower.

I was disappointed in Tower, we were hearing they were the next big store that was going to put us all out of business, but they never did.  Tom bought some obscure country (Jerry Jeff Walker, perhaps?) and we waited for buddy.

And we waited.

And we waited.

Half an hour.  45 minutes.  An hour.  Something’s not right.  Something’s…fucky.   None of us carried cell phones back then.

Suddenly I noticed buddy walking towards us.

Walking. This ain’t good.

“The transmission’s fucked,” he helpfully informed us.

I was opening the store at 10:00 the following morning, by the way.

Now, the rest of the night is a blur of misadventures jumbled in my memory.  What I don’t remember is why we didn’t just call a cab or two so we could all just get home, while buddy called a tow truck?  I guess my buddies were all just broke.  Yet, I had a credit card!

Now, I do remember raising this issue.  I offered to pay for everybody to get home.  I know I raised that .  I can’t explain why we didn’t do that.  I also can’t explain why I didn’t just tell them all to take the first boat to Fuckoffity Land while I called a cab for myself. I remember the following events, although I cannot put them in precise sequential order, it went something like this:

  • Stopping at a Subway because we were starving, but they had no bread!

  • Finding out that a limo to Kitchener would be cheaper than a cab to Kitchener.  Again, I recall mentioning that I have a credit card!

  • Stopping at a sidewalk cafe for drinks and paying something like $20 for a glass of Coke.

  • Some homeless guy helpfully telling us the the solution to the transmission problem is to “pack that sucker full of grease!”  Where to get the grease approaching 1:00 am on a Thursday morning, we never found out.

  • Calling my sister from a pay phone, to tell her not to worry that I wasn’t home yet.  (My parents were on a vacation and it was just us in the house.)

  • Going to buddy’s car, which was parked in a really shitty parking lot on some shitty side street.  Sitting on top of buddy’s car were three dudes eating pizza.

These three dudes were piss-loaded.   It wasn’t that they were up to no good, they were just loaded.  We asked them to please get off the car, they obliged, and they argued amongst themselves.  I do remember one striking detail, which was they all called each other.  It was a racial slur, I won’t repeat it here, but it starts with a “p” and refers to a country in Asia that used to be a part of India.  Anyway, that’s what they kept calling each other as they argued.

“You’re wrong, P****!”

“No, YOU’RE wrong, P****!”

I remember one of the guys trying to tell us he knew a way for us to each make a million dollars a year.  They were annoying as hell, and they tried to get us into their argument, whatever it was.  They fucked off eventually.

The plan now was, buddy had called both a tow truck, and his sister.  He would ride home with the tow truck.  The rest of us would ride home with his sister.

His sister was a saint.  She was at the same Kiss concert as us.  She had just gotten back home to Kitchener when the phone rang.  She came back to Toronto to get us, and back to Kitchener, dropping each of us off at our houses.  A fucking saint.

I think I rolled in at around 4:00 am.  I remember lying in bed, ears still ringing, room getting brighter from the rising sun.

I had to open the store at 10:00.

I never went anywhere with Tom’s buddy ever again.

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