Where does one begin? So many tales of bizarre lore and misguided adventure all condensed into one evening.
Coming off the heels of a fantastic wedding and sleepover at the Sunny Pointe Guest House in Jane Lew, WV, Gigi and I decided take it to the limit and hit up the Kiss/Crue show at Starlake. We were a little tired from the driving and previous evening's festivities, but decided to suck it up. After all, how can you justify skipping a Kiss concert.
So we cruised up at 5 pm and snagged some takeout from Dee Jays in Weirton. We opted to split a half rack of ribs, potato skins (friendly word of advice - don't get them plain. Go for the cheese and bacon extravaganza) and a tossed salad w/ possibly the best house Italian dressing in the area. It also came with a lone slice of bread. The total cost chinged in at $17.98. If you've never tried their ribs... let's just say they're really damn good. As we left, a man bearing a strong resemblance to the lead singer of Loverboy peeled out of the lot in a bright red Chevy Cavalier. This helped reassure me that we made the right choice.
We arrived at the lot and quickly devoured the food. A middle aged man resembling a frail Chris Matthews approached us and asked, "Are you guys big Kiss fans?" We responded, "Yep, that's why we're here." He then asked us a couple of carefully rehearsed trivia questions about the band. "Out of the total number of band members, how many have worn makeup?" The correct answer is 11. Then, he presented us with a parting gift - a homemade DVD.
Later that night, we watched it in its entirety. From a directing perspective, it was pretty weak. Set to music, it was just a slow camera pan of every Kiss action figure, album cover, ticket stub, t-shirt, kimono... basically everything trinket imaginable. Insane collection of merchandise, but watching the dvd was a little exhausting. I would have preferred to hear some commentary. We surmised that he might reside in a Millvale apartment. Just a hunch. Though I do admire the guy's passion and enthusiasm. I know of this other weirdo who makes free live mix cds. I wanted him to know that I fully supported his decision to spread this unique brand of Kiss propaganda. His effort would not be in vain. So I sent him this email...
Thanks so much for the KISS Museum DVD and related trivia questions. We watched it last night when we got home from the concert. Quite an extensive collection.
Great show last night. Our highlights were Lick It Up, Deuce and of course, Black Diamond. We managed to snag a couple guitar pics and a copy of the setlist (unfortunately, it was the Motley Crue one).
We're kind of curious. Where in Pittsburgh do you live? I'm from Wheeling and my girlfriend lives off 279N. Do you offer tours?
If he replies, I'll copy and paste it in the comment section.
We walked over to Jepson and his harem. The girls had already purchased tickets, but Jepson needed our help. So I made an "I NEED A FREE TICKET" sign. In the corner, I wrote GODS BLESS. I've never invoked the concept of multiple gods, but this was a tough ticket. Had to think outside the box. I knew there would be a huge walk-up crowd since it was Labor Day weekend. And I was correct. Plenty of scalpers and huge lines at the box office. But we wanted it all. We wanted to fly close to the sun on the wings of pastrami.
Jepson regaled the crowd with high-pitched vocal screams. Suddenly, a strange man appeared. He identified himself as "Nudie." Nudie resembled a younger version of this guy.
Gig thought he called himself "Dooty." But rest assured, he explained that "Dooty is when you get it in the butt. My name's Nudie." Fortunately, that brief visit comprised our first and last encounter. A drunken Nudie staggered off in search of a cheap ticket.
As I'm sure most know, the thought of forking over $52.00 for a Kiss/Motley Crue concert ticket just did not compute. We needed 3 freebies. So we walked to the main entrance. Lots of demand and zero supply = bad news. I thought it would be best to check out the VIP section. So we journeyed on. Gig made small talk with an employee that resembled Geraldine Ferraro - one of the VIP entrance workers. She pressed for free tickets but to no avail.
As we heard the distant clamor of "Home Sweet Home," a visibly shaken girl sat down near us and the Ferraro lookalike. Her boyfriend came over and started harassing her. It was kind of uncomfortable. About 8 of their friends walked over, but couldn't get the arguing to stop. So they left them and headed in the side entrance.
As darkness descended, we thought we'd take a look in the woods for an alternative mode of entrance. We aborted that idea when the trail descended into a swamp. I decided to take a piss next to some of the tour buses. Still no tickets and Motley Jew was about halfway through their set. It wasn't looking good.
All of a sudden, police stormed the area. Tons of golf carts appeared out of nowhere with flashing lights all over the place. I thought to myself, Jesus Christ - a crime must have been committed. Probably something drug or violence related. Hell, is it feasible that someone reported me for taking a piss? No fucking way.
We're making our way back to the entrance area and I see a guy hiding underneath a limo/party bus. Gig and I figured something's up. This had to be the guy the cops were looking for. But I thought... what if he has a gun or something. You never know. Well, the security guys saw us staring and pointing at him and they charged the scene. The guy sarcastically yelled at us, "Thanks for ratting me out." I carefully monitored the scene (if there was police brutality, I wanted to be a witness). The cop dragged him out by his feet. They quickly cuffed him and threw him in the cruiser.
Having read an excerpt from my book, Gig thought perhaps the guy was trying to be on the receiving end of a "golden shower." Ironically, this is the only story from my book that is not factually correct. The event did happen. I just wasn't there for it...
I remember this Philly Spectrum Dead show in the late '80s. My friend Scraggly Bobcat Goldthwait (without the voice) and I were tailgating toward the back of the arena lot. We both needed to piss and wandered toward some mammoth touring rigs. A misdemeanor charge for urinating in public is not the right way to start the party. These 18 wheelers were narrowly parked and would provide tight coverage. So we shimmied alongside the sardine-like-packed rigs and began to relieve ourselves. All of a sudden, my buddy yells "What the fuck is going on?" In a scrambling motion, he darts from between the rigs, shuffling from side to side much like vintage MC Hammer. I hear some bizarre sexual murmurings (Ooooh, ahhhh) emanating from underneath one of the rigs. I scream, "What the fuck? Is someone under there?" A moaning, begging, haunting voice cries out, "Please! Please don't stop! It's warm! It's warm!"
Technically speaking, this particular sex move is referred to as a "golden shower." Whether or not, we were active and willing participants is completely irrelevant. This fetishistic weirdo, this Golden Deadhead if you will, was the recipient of vast urinary delights on that fateful day. He had chosen that spot with impeccable consideration. Kudos.
Twenty years later, that man's behavior laid the foundation for my most controversial creation - The Top 10 Sex Moves in Wheeling, WV t-shirt. This shirt is a combined tribute to "Golden Deadhead" and Jerry Seinfeld's "Golden Boy" t-shirt. Even though it has received strong reviews, I'm reluctant to wear it in public. Feel free to make your own determination.
END OF TANGENT
So we asked the Geraldine imposter what he was arrested for and she said, "I saw him hit her across the face. I radioed for the police and he took off running." I figured I'd offer a little levity and explained that we "were the ones who spotted him while trying to sneak into the venue." Then, I decided to press the matter with the head of security. Maybe we could use our act of "heroism" to gain free admission.
"Hey we're the ones who spotted him. Don't you think that's worth something? Maybe you could let us all in the concert." The Ferraro woman overheard me and said, "Yep, that's true. They saw him when they were trying to sneak in." I scowled in her direction. Talk about a fucking betrayal. But much to my astonishment, the security dude said, "Alright. I'll let you you guys in, but you've got to ditch the beer and promise me you'll stay in the lawn section." KA-BLAM! I rounded everyone up and he slipped us right in the VIP gate. FUCKIN' A. What a rush. We stuck to our guns and were rewarded accordingly.
We congratulated ourselves and zipped over to the steps along the walkway. Oddly enough, out of about 20,000 fans, we ran into Jepson's harem. So we made it in for the last 4 Crue songs. Vince Neil sounded fair I suppose. He just doesn't look so hot these days. He had a little trouble hitting the high notes while trudging across the stage. Kind of looks like Johnny Depp from the movie "Blow."
Just my take. So Crue finished up and we went to take a piss. But the lines were too long. I told Jepson my "Secret Starlake Restroom Strategy." You simply go to the emergency medical tent and ask for a Rolaids or a Tylenol. They give you the pills and you just use their private, immaculate port-a-jon. Works like a charm. While we took a restroom break, Gigi found a $20 bill lying on the ground. Ka-Pow. And she found a single dollar bill, too. Grand total of $21.00.
As we were sizing up the security by the VIP drink area, the lights went out. When the security moved off, we all slipped past the metal barrier and were immediately in the first three sections. We found a vacant row of seats about 20 rows back, dead center. Bad ass vantage point, up close but not engulfed in the sweaty, rocker mongrels.
KISS was as strong as ever. The always go all out. At one point, Paul Stanley flew out on a zip line. We nearly touched the "feet of god." Not to be confused with the "hand of god."
All in all, I liked the KISS set list:
- Detroit Rock City (strong opener)
- Shout It Out Loud
- I Love It Loud
- Hell or Hallelujah (very weak new song)
- War Machine
- Shock Me
- Bass Solo
- God of Thunder
- Love Gun
- Lick It Up
- Black Diamond (my all-time favorite KISS song)
- * Deuce (nice surprise)
- * Rock'n'Roll All Night
And in a celebratory moment of modest triumph, I snagged a functional umbrella, ella, ella.
And I spotted a quarter on the ground. This raised our monetary ground score total to $21.25.
All in all, it was a strong evening. Straight up rock'n'roll show, perfect weather and an entrance overseen by the Starlake gods.