Aftermath: KISS, Hotter Than Hell and Strutting Like Dinosaurs In Houston Rock City

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Photos by Jay Lee

KISS is a depleting natural and cultural resource. One day there will be no KISS left, and all the world will have is four garish black and silver suits sitting in some futuristic Smithsonian display. We have had KISS on this Earth for almost 40 years, and many people have never even seen them live.

Wracked in the proverbial nuts of our immune system, Aftermath downed whatever meds he needed to make it to Toyota Center, because there is always the slim chance that this will be the "last tour" in the same way that everyone always has that twinge of guilt when they miss the Stones or Dylan date in their hometown. Those artists are also sadly depleting natural elements that can't be just reconstituted at a later date for consumption.

True it is that KISS is now down to only two original members, but you people gobble up The Who without Moon and the Ox like they were a bag of Walker's Crisps, so what difference does it make? All KISS fans need to survive is Gene Simmons' pornographic tongue and Paul Stanley's hammy, shrill stage banter to get us through. Plus fire. And blood.

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Saturday's openers Buckcherry were almost swallowed by Toyota Center, playing on a small quadrant of the stage with just enough room to allow lead singer Josh Todd's nuts to swing through songs like "Lit Up" and "Sorry." Buckcherry has more in common with the punny and unmasked mid-80s KISS than anything else, but they have a charm all their own which is in part owed wholly to the coke-tastic glint in Todd's eye.

They throw out their cover of Deep Purple's "Highway Star," eliciting cheers from the oldsters in the crowd who had been sitting on their hands waiting for KISS. Even after three years of its existence, we aren't sure if closer "Crazy Bitch" is the most truthful or most ignorant song ever written. It's the "Wango Tango" of our generation, and rightfully so.

Old-school KISS fans, the ones who in their teens and younger when the band used to swing through the old Sam Houston Coliseum and the Summit, are a special and rare breed. Not only have they seen pretty much the same show for the past 35 years, they still enjoy it just like the very first time. Once you see those four letters light up behind Paul and Gene, it's hard to not feel that you are now a part of a rock and roll lineage whatever age you are or whichever number KISS show you are on.

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