A couple weeks ago, I was part of the media attending Wizard World in St. Louis. The celebrity headliner was Gene Simmons. We were involved in several different events involving Simmons and each was a great experience. My recap of the weekend is on Patch.com at On the Beat at Wizard World St. Louis 2017 and also on Global Traveler at Weekend in St. Louis.
Our first interaction with Simmons occurred at his panel. He started it off by walking off the stage to take his place right in front of the audience. He stated that he wanted to be among the people. It was a classy move, which was greeted with thunderous applause. The session was interesting as Simmons discussed his career and current projects and the he took questions.
That was immediately followed by the photo session. With several hundred people in line to get a picture with Simmons, you know the moment will be quick, but Simmons still made it special. He greeted us and thanked us. He also made small talk about the weather. For an instance like this, it was about as good as it gets. Once again, Simmons was great.
Later in the day, we went to the Pageant to see Simmons and his band perform. The Pageant is a cool, intimate venue, seating about 2,000. The low ticket price had me thinking Simmons might perform a few songs. I was way wrong.
Simmons rocked the stage for about two hours, mixing in Kiss stuff with his solo music. He ended with a few songs as a tribute to Chuck Berry. Simmons also talked a bit from the stage, just enough to keep it fun, but not too much to detract from the show.
Simmons is 67 years old and he still has that charisma and stage presence. The man is a music legend and he still grabs the audience. It was an amazing weekend with Simmons and I didn't hear one bad story from any of the attendees.
I give a lot of credit to Simmons. While one might think this is standard behavior, some celebrities at comic cons are not as personable as Simmons. When a star (especially of his stature) goes above and beyond, I must applaud it and make it known.
Thank you to Simmons for a fantastic experience. Kiss was my first favorite rock band. I have now met three of the original four Kiss members (I'm missing Paul Stanley). Seeing him brought me right back to that teenager listening to Rock and Roll Over. Interacting with him was well beyond the imagination of my younger self and I still can't believe it happened.
Thank you also to the staff at Wizard World for their hospitality. It is a pleasure working with this fine organization. Check out WizardWorld.com for future conventions.
Gene Simmons, Jack Keenan and me in St. Louis, MO-April 2017.