Kiss your face

Kiss and makeup: Catman and Starchild, ready to rock.

Kiss and makeup: Catman and Starchild, ready to rock.


“Hold still.”

“It tickles!”

“OK, OK, I’m done.”

My BFF J.J. and I saunter over to the mirror to behold our transformation. Starchild and Catman, a.k.a. Paul Stanley and Eric Singer, a.k.a. two out of four-part rock legend ensemble Kiss, stare back at us in the reflection.

Gene Simmons and Tommy Thayer—ahem, Julie and Heather—will be meeting us for drinks in an hour.

No, it’s not Halloween. The painted ladies and I are headed off to Raley Field for the culmination of the Walk ’N Rock for Kids benefit to support local children’s charities, and we wanted to look the part. What better time to shellac our faces with a half-inch-thick layer of black and white grease paint than a Kiss concert?

As we pull into the gravel parking lot near the stadium, Kiss T-shirts from tours gone by abound, cars sit plastered in bumper-sticker and window-decal devotion. I’m trying hard not to touch my face, contemplating the group’s skin-care regimen. Do they exfoliate? Aren’t Juggalos notoriously acne-ridden?

Sadly, there’s no parking discounts for coming in costume. Or, for that matter, for the beer: The “special Kiss event” price to pony up? $10. The woman at the counter even quizzes me on driver’s license details as a test of sobriety before she starts the tap. That, or my makeover was just that convincing.

The four of us walking around together in full regalia proves a bit of a liability. While many others don makeup, crazy platform shoes and the like, finding all four at once is apparently a rare circumstance. We pose for what seems like endless photos, flicking tongues and flipping devil horns all the while. From here on out, we go in pairs.

We sit down in time to catch the tail end of local opening act Big Boss Graffiti’s set, featuring, among others, Spanish Fly co-owner Michael Sylvestre on lead guitar, laying down an edgy trail of sound for the rest of the night to follow. A significantly large fan base is seated just in front of me and my girlfriends, if all the emphatic cheers emanating from well-coifed heads are to judge.

And finally, the boys in black, white and silver emerge, with an arsenal packed to the hilt with pyrotechnics, and an equally high-voltage marquee bearing their name. They light up the West Sacramento night sky with a blaze of fire and sound. Their songs run the gamut, from “old stuff” to “newer stuff,” as Stanley more than once reminded—“Modern Day Delilah,” “Calling Dr. Love,” “100,000 Years,”—ending with the double dose of megahits “Shout It Out Loud” and “Rock and Roll All Nite,” for which the crowd, of course, went wild. But for a song title like the finale’s, the evening’s end comes deceptively early—fighting the traffic exodus by 11:30 p.m.

Perhaps the paint has gone to our heads, but the girls and I aren’t quite ready to wash off our newfound celebrity status. We head out to our favorite dive on Freeport Boulevard to finish the night with another round and a jukebox raid of Kiss “Play It Now” tracks. We high-five, schmooze and pose for more pics.

Let us worry about clogged pores tomorrow.