On this date in history, 8/2/1976, I saw my very first rock concert. This was my Pandora’s Box, the one that started a lifelong obsession. The show was at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, IN, and featured Kiss, Bob Seger And The Silver Bullet Band, and Artful Dodger. My father drove me and a couple of my friends there and back, seeing as how we were all 14 years old at the time. Tickets were $6.50 to see Kiss and Seger…seems like science fiction, right? I have so many memories from that first show. The general atmosphere inside the smoke filled arena (with the No Smoking sign on the giant scoreboard suspended from the ceiling, barely readable through the haze…and not all of it was cigarette smoke!), the sight of all those people, rock fans just like my friends and I (we were part of a movement…a tribe!), and the folks passing around a joint and offering it to us kids. Believe it or not, we politely declined…that time! When the lights went out and Artful Dodger hit that stage, I just grinned and let the music wash over me. I didn’t know any of their songs, but it was gloriously loud, electric, and exciting. When Bob Seger and his Bullet Band followed, it got even better. Seger was touring in support of his incredible ‘Live’ Bullet album, and Night Moves was right around the corner. There was a palpable feeling that this band were already headliners. “Katmandu”, “Turn The Page”, and “Travelin’ Man” were all superb. I distinctly remember Bob’s sax player, the wonderfully named Alto Reed, standing atop the massive stack of PA speakers and wailing away on a solo on his shining golden horn. As great as Seger was, my buddies and I were on a holy mission to see our heroes, Kiss. I was literally transfixed by the sight of the larger than life (7 inch platform boots made them seem impossibly tall) superstars of my musical universe. From Gene Simmons breathing fire and vomiting stage blood during his bass solo, to Ace Frehley shooting sparks from the headstock of his Les Paul, to Paul Stanley’s strutting, preening rock stud shtick, to Peter Criss bashing away on his huge chrome plated drum kit, this performance is indelibly tattooed on my teenage brain. Kiss had just released Destroyer, the album that (along with Kiss Alive the previous year) made nearly every young male rock fan in the country want to enlist in the Kiss Army! This show changed my life. This is where it all began. Thank you, Kiss and Bob Seger…and even Artful Dodger, for making my first time an event of a lifetime!
Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Concert Critic