I'm Playing High Stakes Poker with a Demon - by Colin Gawel

Or put another way, how can KISS tickets be this expensive?

I last saw KISS in Dayton three years ago. There were maybe 5,000 people at the show. Paul sang OK, but it wasn’t great. When they recently announced their latest 140 date “Farewell Tour” my first two thoughts were: 1. No way Paul can sing that many shows and 2. No way they are going to be able to fill all those arenas.

The jury is still out on question one, but according to the online markets, KISS is suddenly as popular as Fleetwood Mac or Elton John. Right now I am looking at ticket prices 36 hours out from some roadie screaming “YOU WANTED THE BEST…..” and Ticketmaster is still showing a sell-out, as has been the case since the day tickets went on sale. That alone seemed suspicious. I was guesting at CD102.5  that same day and Program Director Mase (and fellow KISS fan ) said, “No way that show sold out. That’s bullshit. That’s a Groupon show for sure.” I agreed. Yet here we are, the show is sold out and.….resale markets are showing that even the worst seats in the upper deck are going for $200.

Who are all these people that are suddenly so jacked to see Kiss? I own a coffee shop and I haven’t met ONE person who has KISS tickets. And these are the sort of people that go see Cher or The Eagles just because it's the thing to do. I asked my younger, hip co-worker if KISS was suddenly cool again and she answered “Anyone I know, who actually know KISS, hates KISS.”

Even among my personal KISS super-fan circle, (mainly comprised of people who attended the KISS convention last year on Mother’s Day in Indianapolis), only half of us have tickets. I mean, if we don’t even all have tickets who are the other 18,000 folks paying top dollar to hear “Heaven’s on Fire” and “War Machine” one final time? And did I mention KISS is playing the very next night in Cleveland and then later in Cincinnati? So it’s not like they are only playing a handful of dates on the “End of the Road” tour.

Anyway, I have no answers. My brain cannot figure it out. I’ve told myself there is NO WAY i’m paying $200 to sit in the back of an arena to see a declining KISS for yet another time.

But…. my inner nine-year old knows better. KISS Alive is the reason I started playing guitar. When other guys would get grounded for sneaking out and meeting girls in high school, I got grounded for sneaking out and road-tripping to see KISS in Cincy on the Asylum tour. Instead of kissing a girl at midnight,  I spent New Year’s Eve my senior year seeing KISS at Hara Arena in Dayton on the....gulp.....Crazy Nights tour. It was a terrible show but I loved it anyway. (Click here for the setlist)  So the idea of me sitting home this Saturday night knowing full well that I’d be skipping my final chance to hear “100,000 Years” would be a bitter pill indeed.

I suspect that somewhere Gene Simmons knows this. He is calling my bluff. If an election can be rigged through Facebook, I’m sure some troll factory shared the fact I’m constantly hijacking threads with KISS-related debates and shared that info with Stubhub. I mean, just google the words: Kiss Pencilstorm and see how many stories pop up. I just did; it’s pages and pages. Even worse than my incriminating paper trail of KISS fanaticism is the actual super-powers KISS possess as seen in the acclaimed documentary KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park. Starchild can use his magic star-eye to see into my soul and say “Demon, don’t lower prices, he will ending paying whatever we tell him to pay.” The Demon would respond “RRrrrrrrrrr.”

Ugh. Why does loving KISS always have to be so damn hard? - Colin G.

Colin Gawel founded Pencilstorm and wrote this at Colin’s Coffee. He really likes the KISS record Monster but doesn’t care for Sonic Boom. Click on his Pencilstorm tab to hear his bands.