New York - Madison Square Garden Sun 16 Nov 2003
Review by Dan bach
Pictures by Dan bach & Phil Williams


(Dan Bach)

Four Welsh KISS fans awol Stateside!
If you have read Robert Duncan's KISS of death biography, you will know how important Madison Square Garden venue is in New York concert folklore and KISS's first headlining show there in 1976. Paul's comment about driving a taxi cab to and from the venue before KISS and dreaming he would play at the Garden some day…

Sunday morning - passed the Garden's backstage area witnessing the load-in for the evening concert. Bus load of crew being dropped outside. Everything in the USA is bigger and the buses and lorries are no exceptions. Walked up 7th Avenue, taking snaps of a phone box KISS advert and a huge KISS/Aerosmith concert billboard on a side of a building. Hit the Virgin Megastore in Times square, prowling for the KISS-opoly game - none to be found. Still made some credit card purchases.


(Dan Bach)

Made our way up to the Plaza hotel, where we were informed KISS were staying. The Plaza Hotel is next to Central Park and all of us talked about the KISS '76 horse and cart photoshoot. Meeting two Dutch rock mag journalists. Laid siege to the hotel's two entrances.
On the point of giving up, we literally bumped into Gene standing at one of the entrances like a porter or someone taking a cigarette break. He was approached for signing autographs but declined and declined even to shake hands. Doc McGhee emerged and engaged in conversation (reminiscent of Bruce in the 80's and 90's). I asked Doc about a British tour he stated November 2004 with Def Leppard. Soon after flanked with aides Paul & Tommy emerged going into one people carrier and Gene hiding behind a bodyguard into a second people carrier - Central Park traffic was stopped so KISS could get to the Garden. Disappointed is a good term to use to reflect our emotion - only about 7 fans waiting outside, that said all three members looked in good health. On the way back down to the hotel/Garden we stopped off at the Hard Rock Café for a beer and meeting three fans from the Newcastle area.


(Dan Bach)



As evening drew in, got to the Madison Square Garden box office to get our gold tickets. Made to wait ages with the amount of people getting bigger and more restless. Met a fellow UK fan Peter, who shared my last Garden show in '98. Finally got the tickets and located our seats seems to be a lottery to where you actually sat!


(Phil Williams)


(Dan Bach)


As we took our seats the image of Alive! Back cover came to mind - looking at the huge sports/concert arena filling up. All the time looking for any chance to be upgraded to a platinum pass and meeting the band! Didn't happen!

Support band Automatic Black - not bad. An army of stage crew making quick work of the equipment change over. A loud booming voice declared KISS on stage in five minutes and a huge black curtain was partly dropped from the lighting rig with a massive silver KISS sign on it. A roadie did a Tarzan impression whilst he struggled to get the curtain to fall/drop properly.


(Dan Bach)

This time no The Who's Won't get fooled again just a whirring noise. Crunching intro guitar chords of Detroit Rock City, curtain comes down, drum riser and front of stage riser drops with the boys in full prowess. Here we go - KISS!


(Phil Williams)

Evening's set list

Detroit rock city
Deuce
Shout it loud
Let me go rock n roll
Lick it up
Firehouse
I love it loud
I want you
Bass solo
God of thunder
100,000 years
Black diamond
Beth
Love gun
Rock n roll all night


(Phil Williams)

Gene's bass solo was shortened, Paul's audience participation during RARAN was cut down severely, Gene and Paul seemed to be preoccupied, they did not roam around the stage, Tommy's solos were spot on, Paul's teasing with Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven and Stones's Angie - saying he had seen both of them at this venue, his comment about driving a taxi cab around NYC, Peter dedicating Beth to his wife Gigi, Love Gun seemed odd without Paul's trapeze routine.
Amount of fireworks and flames was about the same as on the Farewell tour, Paul trying to spruce his hair and wiggling his star embroidered ass. I have never witnessed a double headliner concert. After KISS I seemed not to be in the mood for Aeromsith, their stage show & set couldn't compete with the set just witnessed. Had visions of the '73,'74,'75 tours of headliners going on after the bombastic support from KISS.




(Phil Williams)


Two of the our group decided to leave early and go back up to the Plaza to wait and see if they could catch KISS as they came back in. Their wait was rewarded - meeting Peter, Tommy and Paul without makeup. Photographic evidence was taken.



Monday 17th November 2003 - Eric Carr's resting place 






(Dan Bach)

From NYC's Port authority bus station to Newburgh takes approx 2 hours. This was a solo trip, felt I had to do it. Eric gave his life to KISS. Cedar Hills Cemetery is 4 miles outside Newburgh, New York State. After purchasing a vase of flowers as instructed beforehand - loose bunch of flowers are not allowed, I entered the Cemetery's grounds and using printed out directions found Paul Caravello's plaque, on the floor directly beneath a collection of family and fans flowers, letters and collages was laid out. After a time of reflection and reading the different pieces of literature, placed the vase and wrote notes on my behalf and those UK fans whom had asked me to do so on their behalf. The family's letter marked the 11th anniversary of Paul's death in 2002, this is when it dawned on me that the 12th anniversary of his death was only a few days away.

[Note Dan has received a thank you from EricCarr.com for this, click here to read it]



Portland Civic Centre Tuesday 18th November 2003


(Dan Bach)

A one way seven hour Greyhound journey via Boston and four states, we arrived at Portland. This is Stephen King country. After checked in, went straight across the road to check the venue out, we were told that the venue only holds about 8,000 people. Buses and lorries lined the surrounding streets and the stage took a lot of the audience area. Considering the date was only added to the schedules about three weeks beforehand the venue was pretty much full. Same set as NYC, Gene's flight during bass solo was shorter due to the venue height, better overall KISS performance - the NYC preoccupation seemed to have disappeared, Gene and Paul explored every inch of the stage even the stage wings into the audience, since we were positioned more to the centre of the seats when the two side stage platforms rose during Paul's guitar smashing a deja-vu feeling of the Alive II inner cover.

Our seating gave us an excellent view of Aerosmith's walkway into the crowd. After the KISS set watched the Aerosmith set - a mixture of classics and newer ballads, only interrupted by a short merchandise stall raid! Aerosmith gave it their all, with a turnaround stage. 

General points


(Phil Williams)

Gold tickets - excellent idea for US venues, due to front stall seating arrangements. Will this work in UK/European venues where standing format is preferred. Don't know how the Platinum upgrade worked, also a lottery where in the venue you would be sitting. Considering there were Aerosmith plat/gold/bronze and KISS plat/gold/bronze ticket holders.
KISS-Aeromsith double headliner - musically similar, but especially at the the NYC show a feeling of two tribes of fans. KISS fans switching off after their band and Aerosmith fans waking up after the outro to RARAN. Maybe a bit harsh. A rumour heard on radio that KISS would headline the Garden show turned out to be false.


Stage changeover - As previously mentioned an ant army of crew swarmed all around the stage during set changeovers. During Aeromsith's set the stage turnaround to show another set of backline, this revolving stage could have been used to help in the KISS Aerosmith changeover from KISS's Marshall backline to Aerosmith's Orange amps backline.

Automatic Black - support act. Personally a band to watch out for, promo cd album samplers were given out. Managed by Doc McGhee, not too dissimilar to Buckcherry.

Gene's unwillingness to sign autographs or to shake hands left a bitter taste in the mouth, also wondering about the band's preoccupation onstage.

KISS/Leppard 2004 tour. Anyone betting on a Monsters of Rock arena tour?

Thanks section

1 KISS for two great concert experiences Stateside, making it my sixth one.
2 Fraser "sweets" Munro - for ruining a Hanoi Rocks show in Cardiff by saying Garden tickets on sale the very next day. Thanks Fraser for all your help getting the tickets and contacting Stateside.
3 Billy "Nuthin' to loose" Coxon and Phil "Gay night in CBGB" Williams. Thanks for the laughs, the early wake up call and the Plaza bar bill!
4 Pete "Garden two shows". Will have to plan it next time.
5 The Newcastle lads we met at NYC's Hard Rock Café
6 www.ericcarr.com for all the information and help about Cedar Hills Mausoleum.
7 Spencer Gifts Jersey City for the KISS-opoly.


A thank
you to Dan from EricCarr.com

"Thank you .. I did see your flowers with the Carr family and the lovely
messages that you left. they were very touching...

If you would like to write about your visit and send it to us I will be doing a special page on the site for fans... so let me know

and yes the family are grateful to fans like you .. Please give all the fans who stopped by a huge thank you

take care Rose"

THANKS

Thanks to Dan for the review and Dan and Phil for the pictures.
   

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