|It was 1978 all over again. Hamilton, Ontario's Copps Coliseum was transformed Thursday (Dec. 3) into Detroit's Cobo Hall for the filming of a concert scene from New Line Cinema's Kiss movie, Detroit Rock City, about the adventures of four Kiss fans.|
The dress code for the thousands of extras, all of whom were required to sign a release form before entering the arena, was Kiss regalia or '70s garb. Some audience members didn't have to make much of an effort -- no one can grow a mullet hairdo that quickly.
Some brought banners, like the one painted by Wingham, Ontario's Grant Joloi, 34, emblazoned with the likeness of Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley. Others brought the whole family. Stratford, Ontario's Jennifer Davis, 3, there with dad Stephen, mom Kim and sister Michelle, 8, hoped Kiss would sing "Ring Around the Rosey.
Kiss had played the night before at Toronto's SkyDome stadium and stuck around to shoot the scene, which required them to play "Detroit Rock City" over and over again. Filming took from 5:30 p.m. until 3 a.m.
The set design was an exact replica of the 1978 Cobo Hall concert. A giant bulb-lit Kiss logo was lowered over a black backdrop. Two baskets, one containing Simmons, the other Stanley and Frehley, flanked Criss, and were elevated off the ground. The audience was hushed, so the cameras could be slated. Dry ice filled the stage. The song kicked in. Pillars of flames shot out, concussion flash pots exploded, and more pyrotechnics carried the show through the finale, including stalactites of sparks and coloured confetti, and, of course, Criss' drum riser literally rising. The crowd, of course, went apoplectic.
The movie producers were so anal about verisimilitude that Dennis MacDowell, 33, who had driven nine hours from Long Island, N.Y., to make KISStory was spotted by Simmons and asked by a crew member to stand somewhere else because his silver lava-like costume wasn't authentic. "It's from the Dynasty era, which is 1979," explained MacDowell, who owns the online custom creature costume shop Be Gene. "Gene Simmons is 20 pounds heavier than he was back then and no one's telling him to get offstage, so I thought they'd be cool about it." MacDowell opted to strip off his costume instead of leaving his prime seat.
In between takes, while the pyro was re-rigged and stage mopped, Kiss signed various items for the fans. Stanley, ever the poseur, popped guitar picks in his mouth and spat them fondly at the crowd. Sometimes, he'd lie flat on his stomach to sign things or rub a towel on his crotch and sail it into the crowd.