KISS at Verizon Arena Brian Chilson

In the span of five days, the stage at Verizon Arena has seen a symphonic set from Weird Al Yankovic, a stately visit from The Honorable Ruth Bader Ginsburg and now, from rock royalty KISS. Arkansas Times photographer Brian Chilson was on the floor to catch last night’s action. He sent a transmission after the band’s raucous opening, too, which follows the slideshow.


When you’re a kid, you put stuff on a Christmas list you don’t really expect to get. So when I put KISS’ “Destroyer” on my list in 1976, I didn’t really expect to get it.

My aunt Barbara was cool, though, and as I unwrapped her gift Christmas morning, my father began a meltdown that would last most of the rest of the day. He was not cool with it. In the end, I got to keep it, and I plugged in the helmet-sized earphones we’d agreed upon in arbitration with my mother.


The first notes of Detroit Rock City blasted into my brain then, and on Sept. 5, 2019, it happened again. KISS — or what’s left of it, as they’ve gone the sad way of a one-time 70s super group and are now comprised of the two core showmen, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley “and those other guys,” opened with Detroit Rock City Thursday night at Verizon Arena. Note for note, it was as it ever was — awesome. The makeup, the lyrics, the pyrotechnics — you come expecting that, and they delivered.

They followed up with their rock anthem “Shot it out Loud,” and as Paul Stanley spit a guitar pick in the direction of the gathered photographers in the pit after posing with it on his tongue, I watched a thirtysomething photographer scramble for it and slip it into his pocket. Fifty-five year old me couldn’t help but think: “There’s hope for his generation.” But I hope he washes that thing.