I had a choice, spend the day off in Cleveland or drive to Detroit to see Kiss at Tiger Stadium. Yes, I was a Kiss geek growing up and the kid in me needed to be there to see the reunion. It was less than a year earlier that I witnessed the death of the (then) current Kiss at Sony Music Studios when Ace and Peter joined Paul and Gene onstage at the Unplugged taping. The booing for Bruce and Eric said it all and everyone there knew what would happen next. I don’t remember how I ended up getting into that one but I don’t remember how half the strange things happened to me.
The plan was to leave for Cleveland in the afternoon and then head back after the show, get some sleep and head to Pittsburgh in the morning. I had 2 guys from the band coming with me, which meant we could not take the van and leave the other guys stranded. I arranged a rental with unlimited mileage and we were heading to Detroit early in the afternoon.
The young punk version of me didn’t let details slow him down. So what if the show was sold out and I was bringing 2 penniless guys with me, I’ll worry about getting in when we get there. I figured I would know someone involved and get in. The fact that I had not worked a major tour at this point wasn’t going to slow me down, why get stressed over minor details when they somehow always magically work out?
I remember the one repeated nightmare I had as a kid was missing a show. Sometimes I could not find the door to get in, other times I was stuck in traffic. As we heading to Tiger Stadium I was reminded of those nightmares and was wondering if they would finally come true. For all my naive confidence I did have my moments of doubt.
The prospect of getting in didn’t seem all that bright once we got there. Scalper prices were ridiculous and I wasn’t magically running into anyone I knew. The band guys I was with weren’t big enough to be recognized and didn’t have a name worthy of getting us in. It was getting close to 7pm when that magic moment happened. We were in the middle of deciding if we should head back or hang around to see how low the scalpers will go when I spotted the guy with the broom.
He had one of those roll-up employee entrances half open and looked like a man who could use a twenty. The transaction took seconds. I showed him the twenty, showed him three fingers and pointed inside. He nodded his head, pushed the gate up a little higher and then looked the other way. I handed him the twenty as we breezed by and made our way in. Never in doubt… never in doubt.
I was young and I was determined. Getting in was not good enough, we now needed to get on the field. I saw that field tickets came with a bracelet and people needed to show them to be let on to the field. Confidence opens many doors so I just confidently walked down, darted to the right as the security was checking someone to the left and I was on the field and making my way to the stage. Success.
It turned out the highlight of the evening was getting in. I was back in the car waiting for the other two before the encores, the young Kiss geek in me wishing he never saw what was on the stage that night.