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The Vault: Iconic group Kiss' rocks Freedom Hall in 1979

WHAS11 was there when the legendary rockers took to the stage, wowing crowds with their iconic style.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It was September 17, 1979, a decade where band members believed your age could be defined by something specific.

“I can guess your age by asking you to define Kiss. You tell me Kiss is the meeting of two pair of lips. I’ll tell you, you’re old. If you tell me Kiss is cool, then you’re young,” a WHAS reporter said.

The legendary rock band Kiss was ready to rock-and-roll in Freedom Hall.

On a stage estimated to have cost more than $1 million to build, the band wowed their devoted fans known as the Kiss Army with elaborate effects and their iconic makeup.

The crowd at Freedom Hall went wild, watching what is now considered one of the most influential rock bands of all time.

“I just think they’re cool and they can play good music,” a concert-goer said. “I just like them because I think they’re the coolest group in the world.”

Despite their rough and tough stage presence, band members explained how they kept a clean image.  

“We don’t get into politics. We don’t get into drugs. We’re not into anything like that,” guitarist Ace Frehley said. “I feel a responsibility to all our fans – you know that’s why I’m here.”

Credit: WHAS-TV
Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley

Singer Paul Stanley explained the reasoning behind the band's makeup.

“We need a little time to ourselves and that’s part of it, you know. We’re on the road so much of the year and we’re usually on the cover of almost every magazine, so we like to keep a little privacy,” he said. “Plus, I think most of our fans want us to keep this mystique, we can’t walk down the street all the time. So, when we don’t look like this, we’d rather not be seen.”

Credit: WHAS-TV
Kiss singer Paul Stanley

Bass guitarist Gene Simmons explained the origins of the group.

“The truth is we happen to be four guys that happen to get along with each other,” he explained. “We grew up in New York City and we just happened to meet on the streets of New York. Four, young wild boys that grew into four young wild men and monsters, I guess. We just happened to get along. That’s all with respect and a lot of love, not that we’re strange or anything.”

Credit: WHAS-TV
Kiss bassist and co-lead singer Gene Simmons

Drummer Peter Criss commented on Kiss’ success:

“I see a lot of older people out there bringing their kids now but they’re digging it as much as the kids are. And that’s really good, that’s cool.”

Credit: WHAS-TV
Kiss drummer Peter Criss

Nearly 8,000 people attended Kiss’ 1979 Louisville concert and for 90 minutes, they were treated to a night they’d never forget.

Three years ago, the band announced after 45 years of performing and recording, they would embark on a final tour called “End of the Road.”

It started in January 2019 with a stop in Louisville in March of that year and then had to pause due to the pandemic.  

They plan to wrap things up in 2022.

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Contact reporter Shay McAlister at smcalister@whas11.com. Follow her on Twitter (@WHAS11Shay) and Facebook.  


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