Arch Enemy Remembers First Kiss: Sharlee D’Angelo of metal band Arch Enemy told us about his Kiss experience at the Scandinavium in Gothenburg, Sweden on October 10, 1980.
Sharlee D’Angelo: When I was a kid, growing up in Sweden, there were only two favorite bands you were allowed to have; ABBA if you were a girl and Kiss if you were a boy. And I was a boy, so that narrowed down the choices somewhat.Back then, twenty some years before people even heard about the internet, information about your favorite artists were scarce to say the least, and the mainstream media outlets we’re not very like feature them. So imagine my surprise when I opened up the newspaper one morning before going to school and finding an ad for a Kiss concert at the local hockey arena. Could this be real? I saved up all my money until I could finally afford a ticket, and I guarded that piece of paper with my life. That year Kiss released their Unmasked album, which was a little bit poppier than some of their classic stuff, but I loved it no matter what, and they would always be my favorite band no matter what they did. Or so I thought. Fast forward a few months to the day of the show, me and a friend queued up outside the arena a couple of hours before doors. We managed to get ourselves almost to the front of the crowd and were delirious with anticipation. If only we didn’t have to endure the support act… But once the lights went down it only took me a minute to regret those words. During the intro a man in some kind of monster mask was dancing around on stage getting the crowd all fired up, and when the band hit the stage, they hit it running. Because this band, an at the time fairly unknown British five piece called Iron Maiden, had an energy I had never seen any band have before. Or possibly after.
Dave Murray had blonde hair down to his waist, and was throwing his Strat high up in the air and catching it. Steve Harris attacked the front row while singer Paul DiAnno had raw punk coolness that was all new to me. And the music…
It was somehow complex and straight forward at the same time and completely blew me away. When they left the stage and the house lights came back on I found myself in a state of confused euphoria. What the hell did I just witness?
Thirty minutes later I had barely come to my senses when the lights went down again and something I’d never thought I’d hear in real life came over the PA; “Aaaaaalright Gothenburg, you wanted the best…” and I felt my knees turning into spaghetti. The intro riff to “Detroit Rock City” started, followed by a loud bang, smoke and fire, right before me stood Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley and Ace Frehley and how I remained conscious I do not know.
The following ninety minutes is still a bit of a blur, but I do remember four human superheroes spitting blood, shooting laser beams from guitars and flying into the air. And they sounded awesome and looked absolutely unreal.
But all of this was real. And it just happened to me. And my favorite band had just had some serious competition from their own opening act, who opened my eyes and ears to a completely new world. A world I remained in since. Those who’ve been there call it Metal.
Arch Enemy Remembers First Kiss: Arch Enemy performs at the Hollywood Palladium on Sunday, May 15. New album Deceivers will be released in July 29.