January 1977: KISS Rock Detroit with Three Sold-Out Shows

Bassist Gene Simmons (left) and guitarist Ace Frehley performing with American rock group Kiss, circa 1977. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)
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(Michael Putland/Getty Images)

It was the dawn of 1977, and KISS was among the biggest bands in rock. Later on that year, the annual Gallup poll would confirm that they were indeed the most popular group in America. Gene Simmons and company brought that energy and heat to warm up winter when KISS hit the band's second home of Detroit for a trio of sold-out shows on January 27, 28, & 29, 1977.

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KISS' stop in Detroit would be the biggest on the tour, with ticket demand requiring three shows at the city's Cobo Arena. All three shows would sell out, with an official capacity of 11,597. Opening act all three nights: Uriah Heep. KISS' arrival in town was major news, and the source of an in-person sit-down TV interview with reporter "Super Max" Kinkel for the Channel 4 News team. A big fan of "Beth," he takes a moment to talk to drummer Peter Criss about the surprise ballad hit. Stay tuned for the upcoming concert rundown, which includes Rush and Bruce Springsteen. 

A rock band demanding so much attention and TV would also constitute a major story for the local newspapers. The Detroit News would do the honors, putting a live shot of Ace Frehley and Gene Simmons smack-dab in the middle of the front page. 

KISS rocks The Detroit News, January 1977

The sold-out shows were such spectacles that they required big projection scenes flanking the stage for fans in the back. Testing the screens before the show, fans on the third night were treated to the scene of the band members coming out of the backstage area on their way to the stage. The moment is captured on this video that was made from footage from the show. Watch the concert below. 


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