My first concert – KISS in Syracuse, NY 1984

November 15, 2008

The first concert I ever went to was Elvis Presley at the Syracuse War Memorial on July 25, 1976. I had just turned 4 years old, so I have no memory of this show at all. However, it is still a cool fact to mention whenever the topic is discussed.

The first concert I actually remember going to was KISS with Queensryche at the War Memorial on November 20, 1984. It will be 24 years ago this month (Holy crap! How has it been 24 damn years?!). Anyway, I was only a wee 12 year old so my brother got the unenviable task of taking his squirrelly little brother to the show instead of going with his friends. My older cousin named Tim went with us to the show. Tim always seemed a bit “stuffy” and tended to look down upon any music that wasn’t made by The Beatles. So, I have no idea why he went to this show. He just acted annoyed the whole time.

Also, a friend of mine named Eric went to this show with us. Eric and I made what is possibly the world’s worst banner for the concert. From what I remember, I drew most of the “art” on this banner and Eric colored it in. Please try to contain your laughter.


I kept the picture large so you can see it in all of its ridiculousness. I’m just going to list off some of my random thoughts while I look at this picture. I obviously had a problem drawing eyes and noses. The space between Eric’s nose and mouth is equal to the size of his nose. Very disturbing. Poor Mark was the victim of some sort of liquid damage. Why is there fire coming out of the KISS logo? More importantly, why has the sun made an appearance in the upper right corner? It looks like we might’ve tried to make it look like the sun was shining on the band, with the left side of their hair being quite lighter than the right. Or maybe it was just a dumb mistake. I think we must’ve gotten tired of coloring in the band’s torsos after we did Paul.

We kept this banner on our seats while we stood up and watched the show. I remember at one point some hoodlums stole it from us. Now, who would steal a home-made banner from a couple of 12 year olds? More importantly, who would want to steal that thing? Someone sitting behind us eventually got the banner back for us.

Anyway, I got inspired to write this blog entry because I found an old “review” I wrote of the show. It wasn’t written in a diary, it was actually written out like I was submitting a review to the newspaper or something. So, it included many lines crossed out and other edits. I may have been inspired to write it by the horribly written review in the Syracuse Post Standard. Click here to check it out. The reviewer states the idea that this is “dumb heavy metal”, and keeps repeating this thought over and over again. She also has several inaccuracies in her review. She states that Mark St. John was the guitarist. Mark did not play this show. Bruce Kulick had taken his place because of a “condition” that Mark had that made him unable to play. Also, the reviewer states that the encore was a “medley” of KISS songs. What? This lady had never heard the song “Rock And Roll All Nite” before? It’s one song! Ugh!

Anyway, here’s my recently found review that I wrote a couple of days after the concert. I’ll leave in all the mistakes and cross out all of the words that were crossed out in the original. I will write this in black and make any comments I think of now in red. Also, I will be posted a couple of photos from this show throughout the review. I think these photos were taken by Don Stroup, but I’m not sure. Maybe he can clarify that.

KISS / Queensryche
War Memorial
Syracuse, N.Y.
November 20, 1984

The War Memorial in Syracuse, N.Y. hasn’t seen this much action since KISS came here last time on their 10th anniversary tour. Maybe I crossed this out because I didn’t go to their last show and had no idea how much “action” was seen. Queensryche was the opening act for KISS. They had a lot of power and set the crowd on their feet and set lighters a glow “a glow”? but they didn’t seem as good as the fantastic headlining act. They (Queensryche) played about 3 songs from they’re new album. The headbangers from Seattle, Washington or Warshington, as McCain would say got called out for a fantastic encore yes, how rare at a concert to see an encore. Following the 45 minute interrmission/ set-up (which I have no idea why it took so long because most of KISS’s equipment was already set up behind a curtain) came the explosive KISS. They had a leppard like skin flo They had a Animalize-like floor which was made of tiles which was mainly the reason it took so long for the set up. Ahh, that’s why I crossed out my bitching earlier The 4 members stood on a platform behind the drumset while Gene Simmons said the infamous “You wanted the best and you got the best, the hottest band in the world, KISS!!” Actually, Gene doesn’t say that, dummy Right after that, the drummer Eric Carr, jumped down to his position now that’s an odd use of commas while the band started singing not playing? Detroit Rock City.

KISS did not have the guitarist (to the disappointment of many fans) Hmmm, crossed out, so I guess it wasn’t that much of a disappointment have their guitarist Mark St. John with them because of an arthritis condition in his wrists. or something like that The guitarist that was taking his place was very good. I guess I didn’t know Bruce Kulick’s name yet


KISS was supposedly promoting their 19th album Animalize but only played 2 songs from the album, Heavan’s On Fire and Under The Gun. Instead the played great songs like, Detroit Rock City, Cold Gin, Black Diamond, Young and Waysted, Love Gun, Fits Like A Glove and many others. I must’ve really hated that whole paragraph for some reason
All of the members came out to center stage alone, but the replacement for M. St. John. Bruce! His name is Bruce! Paul Stanley did a guitar solo and had a contest between the two sides of the audiance to see who would scream louder. Gene Simmons was doin did some chords on his battle-axe bass.


And, finally Eric Carr’s drumset moved out to center-stage as he did a long, hard, and completely awesome such adjectives! drum solo.

During the middle of a song, the a part of the light came down like a ramp huh? and the front stage members ran up on top of the lights and started jamming. Then a section of the lights came down and brought them down.
For their encore KISS played one of their best and most famous songs I Wanna Rock and Roll All Nite. They also played something you’d never expect from KISS, a country-medal “country medal”? Is that given out at one of the more “hick” Olympic events? song “Oh Susanna” (they didn’t sing it they just played a few notes) For their encore they played the title-track from their last album Lick It Up.
   KISS is definitally an act you have to see to believe, so go see them.
Great Wrap-up!
So there’s my “review”. Thanks to Don (I think) for originally taking the pictures.
Please check out Project Absurd for more absurd fun (including a couple of KISS-related articles)!