Even Drunk Deaf Guys Like Kiss!

My step brother Greg took me to my first concert at the age of 10. Of course it was Kiss on the Lick it Up tour. It was Kiss’ first tour without makeup so it was kind of a big deal. The concert was at the New Haven Coliseum which was about 40 minutes from where we lived. We had round trip tickets on a Greyhound bus and my Mom dropped us off at the bus station in Hartford. I’m sure it took weeks of convincing for her IMGto let me go and I don’t remember how we got her to say yes but she did. The plan was we were going to go to the show, take the Greyhound bus back, which left very soon after the concert would end and she would pick us up around midnight at the Hartford bus station where we got dropped off. Yes – that was the plan…


So we get to New Haven and it’s what you would expect at a rock concert in 1983. It was right out of the movie Rock Star – bad hair and jean jackets were everywhere! New Haven had a huge garage next to the coliseum where everyone hung out and partied. If I was 10 then Greg would have been 20. He found a couple of guys in the parking lot and they had booze so he started partying with them. Sounds normal right? Well these guys were deaf. Yep – two deaf guys partying before Kiss in the parking garage. Even at 10 I was thinking, IMG_0001what the hell are two deaf guys doing at a concert in the first place? Secondly they were kind of bizarre looking and could have been mistaken for homeless guys. Leave it up to Greg to find two homeless deaf guys so he could have someone to party with! I was kind of scared of them, I couldn’t understand them when they tried to talk not only because they were deaf but they were also pretty wasted. They just kept smiling and laughing at me.


We left the deaf guys and went in to the show and of course we had nosebleed seats way in the top and back of the coliseum. I didn’t care though – I was there to see the hottest band in the world. I had my Mom’s 110 camera and I was ready! The opening band was an unknown at the IMG_0002time band named Queensryche. They were good and the singer had a voice like I had never heard at the time. This guy could wail! About halfway through their set Greg left to go get a beer. He was already pretty shitfaced and I didn’t see him again until the end of the concert.


Kiss came on and I was jumping up and down and taking pictures with this little camera and singing along. The only thing that came out in those pictures was the Kiss lights in the back. The concert was great and I got into a debate with a woman three times my age back in nosebleed on how Kiss was the best ever but she was there to see this band Queensryche who I had never heard of. What? How could a band that is brand new to the scene be better than Kiss? And who are you and why are you at a Kiss show to see someone else?? When the concert was over, Greg still wasn’t back and I didn’t know what to do! I was 10 and alone in the nosebleeds of the coliseum far from home. People started filtering out and leaving and I started to panic a little inside. It hadn’t worked it’s way out into a full blown fit yet but it was coming. The place was almost empty when I started looking around and right at the end of the aisle I was in about 10 seats down was Greg – passed out in the chair. So I get him up and we go outside and quickly realize that we missed the bus. Time to find a payphone – Mom – can you come get us… in New Haven? Greg didn’t take me anywhere for a while after that.


About Alton B. Etheridge III

My Last Years of Childhood is about my musings as I relive my childhood in words before I get too old to remember!
This entry was posted in Childhood, Confessions, Life, Memoir, Nostalgia and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Even Drunk Deaf Guys Like Kiss!

  1. Too funny! My first show was Aerosmith. My older brother with the heavy metal hair and faded jean coat and tight acid-washed jeans took me. He was drunk, too. I was with a boy I liked. I wore a shirt that showed off my shoulders and had creepy older dudes hitting on me, though I was 14. You brought me back. And wonderful illustrations!

    • Yeah this was my first of many. I spent half the 80′s at concerts after this one. I remember going to a Motley Crue/Whitesnake show when I was like 13 or 14 and there were 18 year old girls walking around in lingerie, bras and high heels. And they weren’t part of the show. I look back now and it was a crazy time. You either had big hairspayed hair and tight spandex pants or you were a jean jacketed greasy, pimple faced, had bad haired wannabe – and that was just the guys…

  2. Inspiring Blog Award….goes to you and your heavy metal stories! Check it out……http://whatsbroken.me/2013/01/29/lennon-sundance-inspiring-what/

  3. Pablo says:

    My first show was Cheap Trick and UFO. I went to see UFO so I can relate with not going to see the headline band. Cheap Trick did put on a hell of a show but I wasn’t not familiar with their music.

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