The Rose Garden was filled up—say to a Blazers vs. Mavericks-like capacity—all there to see Gene, Paul, some dude in Peter Criss makeup (gay) and the guy who used to fetch Gene's coffee wearing Ace Frehley's space-suit and makeup. That guy who used to fetch Gene's coffee is Tommy Thayer, who attended Sunset High School in Beaverton and went on to form one of Portland's most beloved bands, Black N' Blue, in 1981.
Now look where he is. He's in effing KISS! The makeup. The devoted followers. There's nothing else like it. And to this day they still put on the best show $126 can buy (shove it up your arses, U2). There was a song about drinking and driving ("Detroit Rock City"), tempered by a PSA from the Starchild about drinking and driving, and Gene spit blood, which I'm sure spread all kinds of bloodborne pathogens. There was also fire and and bombs, a ticker tape parade, drum and guitar solos... but not a bass solo, which I would have enjoyed thoroughly.
Now don't let my sarcastic tone lead you to believe that I didn't enjoy myself... because I had a fucking blast—much more fun than standing and crossing my arms at the boring indie rock shows I usually go to. And Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer are much, much better musicians than Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. But I bet they can't do as many drugs as they can. What else can I say? It might just be the greatest show on earth. It rocked. It rolled. It partied every day.
Photo: Mark Lore
Bonus: Old news footage of KISS in Portland during 1977's Love Gun tour!