Walkin’ Away – The Final Show
Merriweather Post Pavilion – Columbia, MD
Sunday, September 17th, 2023
Review and Pictures: Carol Fisher
Come on start a fire
In my electric chair
Baby cross my wires
Light up my hair
Overload my circuits
let me feel the juice
make me an offer
that I can’t refuse
– Blow My Fuse (1988)
With rain and dark clouds in the sky it was almost as if Mother Nature was as sad as I was during my drive to Merriweather Post Pavilion to see KIX‘s Final show. There were about a dozen fans already in line when I arrived at 3pm for the 7pm show. Yes, I am also one of those fans that have to be there super early! Fortunately the rain let up for a while as the line of fans rapidly grew larger and larger as entry time got closer.
I have photographed KIX many times over the last few years on the Monsters of Rock Cruise, Monsters on the Mountain Event, and almost all of their shows the last few months, but last night was extra special. Beside it being their last show, it was also my first time shooting at Merriweather, so the anticipation was running high. I retrieved my photo pass, scuttled through security and ran to the merch. stand where there was already quite a crowd lined up to grab the “Final Show” merchandise.
Among the cd’s and stickers for sale were new t-shirts and hoodies, but the most sought after merchandise for this show was the limited amount of signed drumheads and drumsticks. I was fortunate to get both, plus the requisite t-shirt and hoodie. I was already a happy fan, but that nearly sent me overboard.
I proceeded down to floor level to find my seat. I had already purchased tickets when they went on sale, so even if I did not get a photo pass I was still determined to be there. No way was I going to miss this show.
Hear the bomber’s blast
Your time’s come at last
– Atomic Bombs (1981)
The lights dimmed at 8:15 to signal that KIX were about to take the stage as fans scrambled to get to their seats or press in closer to the stage. Original members consisting of Steve Whiteman, Jimmy ‘Chocolate’ Chalfant, Brian ‘Damage’ Forsythe, Ronnie ’10/10′ Younkins, and longtime bassist Mark Schenker (whose rhinestone teardrops echoed all of our sentiments), took to the stage. After being revved up by Cheap Trick’s “Hello There”, The Air Raid Siren of opener “Atomic Bombs” appropriately sounded, and if you’ve been a fan from Day 1, you’ll know that was the first taste of KIX you would have heard from them when you threw on their 1981 self-titled, debut album. The Crowd Roared!
Let’s get the fire started
Our sparks will light the dark
– Midnite Dynamite (1985)
They were joined shortly by guitarist Bob Pare who has been filling in for Ronnie the past few years while he was in recovery, as well as special guest guitarist, Brad Divens who played on KIX ‘Cool Kids‘ album. Both Bob and Brad were on and off stage periodically for a number of songs which at times meant there were as many as four guitarists on stage, only adding to the already powerful and emotional evening!
As the band continued through the set list, they performed a combination of their hits and more obscure songs such as “Cool Kids” from the album of the same name. “Midnight Dynamite“, “No Ring Around Rosie“, “Cold Blood“, and “Blow My Fuse” were the popular songs as well as, “Don’t Close your Eyes” which Steve called “their one hit”. They even managed to sprinkle in some medleys of older songs that Steve phrased as “songs we don’t like but you all want to hear”. All of which had choreographed pyrotechnics and a screen at the back of the stage showing various images in conjunction with the songs.
C-c-cool kids, out on the corner, cool kids, out tonight
Cool kids, looking for trouble, cool kids
– Cool Kids (1983)
Crowd interaction is always a highlight during “The Itch” and “Cold Blood” and this show was no exception. Everyone sang loud and proud at Steve’s prompting while the band observed from the back of the stage. At one point towards the end of the show, Steve, with security in tow, strolled through the audience singing to everyone on the way. It was heartwarming to see the smiles on the faces of the adoring fans as he went by.
An unusual feature for a KIX show were the pyrotechnics and the huge digital screen where Mark, Bob and Steve all climbed up to perform during several songs, proving that KIX were determined to go out with a bang. And go out BIG they did.
So restless I can’t sleep
Where’s the flame, the flame that burns forever, oh
Tore it all apart
I hope someday we can put it back together
– Tear Down The Walls (1991)
All of the photographers were allowed back in the pit for the final song ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah‘ which was bittersweet for me. As the confetti and KIX balloons fell from the sky, the crowd scrambled to collect as many mementos as they could. KIX were joined onstage after the final song by their crew, management, photographer and booking agent. It truly takes a village to support any band and KIX was no exception.
I have never seen a bad KIX show, but this performance was the most energetic and explosive I have seen from this band and the crowd reaction was off the charts!
Time – Keeps on crawling
Only game in town
The streets are calling
And the fuse is burning down
– Red Lite, Green Lite, TNT (1988)
After photographing them as much as I have, I don’t think it has really sunk in yet that there will never be another live KIX show. I have come to adore this band and their music and always looked forward to the next KIX show. So, to Steve and the rest of the band and crew, I say “THANK YOU”!
Video Selections from each song from the Final Show
Courtesy of 2TEN90
*From Will…They say “time waits for no man” and it’s no secret that in the past few years KIX have had to deal with several issues from members going into recovery, major health issues and as Steve has alluded to in recent interviews, Father Time isn’t taking any days off.
KIX (unlike a few others that will go unmentioned) are one of those few bands who are going out on their own terms and at a high level. They were afforded the opportunity for their comeback and they made the most of it.
Cheers for all the Great Music!
Cause you’re walkin’ away
Don’t keep walkin’
Don’t keep walkin’
– Walkin’ Away (1985)