KISSmas Masquerade had an early start on December 19, 2020 on the grounds of The Sarasota Event Center. It was a perfect morning and couldn’t be matched even if the weather had been pre-ordered. A stage was in the corner of the parking lot, and tables were set out selling Kiss memorabilia. All Music Magazine was again on the scene with contributors Mark Horan and Dorrie Hustead to photograph and describe in their words what they experienced.
KISSmas Masquerade day two was kicked off at 11:00 AM in the parking lot with a tribute to the late great, Eddie Van Halen, performed by local artist Gary Schutt of Shut Up Productions. With all that’s occurred in 2020, the passing of Edward Lodewijk Van Halen was the most unbearable. Eddie Van Halen was the true innovator of speed guitar with talents unequaled. We all miss Eddie. Gary Schutt’s performance helped remind us of his style and his innovation lives on through many musicians. The second day of KISSmas started in a grand fashion and just got better as the day went on.
1:00 PM was Eddie Truck’s simulcast at the KISSmas 2020 Masquerade show, Tour Talk to the world audience online. Tour Talk featured Ryan Cook, Jeremy Asbrock, and Chip E’Nuff for an hour discussion. The music started again at 2:00 PM when Orlando resident, Kurt Frohlich, the lead singer/guitar for Steve Riley’s LA Guns and past member of Faster Pussycat & Marky Ramone Band took to the outside stage. At 3:15 PM Eddie Truck once again sat down to simulcast to the internet viewers an interview with the great, Rick Derringer. Winding out the interview section of the show, Philip Shouse hosting “Shouse Rules” featured Jean Beavoir of Little Richards Disciple of Souls and The Plasmatics fame who performed Friday night.
At 7:00 PM the inside stage exploded with the show of Kiss America, a Kiss Tribute Band. The music, costumes, and make-up were spot on. It was as if Kiss was on stage rocking out to the fans in attendance and online. How could you have a Kiss party without having the visual show? The promoter of this rocking event is actually the bass player of Kiss America. Neil Davis is the bass player in Kiss America. Because of his duties keeping this show moving along, Luis Reyes of Sin City KISS , Las Vegas’ Premier KISS Tribute Band was filling in on this night. Thank you, Luis Reyes, for filling in and putting on a great performance. Kiss America is highly entertaining and a show and for all Kiss fans. It’s one you need to see!
Shawn Scumann – Vocals/Guitar
Mark Hermansen – Lead Guitar
Ken Trapp – Vocals/Drums
Luis Reyes – Vocals/Bass
At around 8:00 PM ENuff Z Nuff took their turn on the nights’ explosive schedule of entertainment. ENuff Z Nuff formed in 1984 and has an album library 22 recordings strong. With many personnel changes, the constant member of the band is Chip E’Nuff, singer and bass player. Just this year the band released their 15th studio album “Brainwashed Generation” with special appearances from past front man Donnie Vie, former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy, and current Cheap Trick drummer Daxx Neilsen. I was informed by Chip E’Nuff back stage that another album is on the way in the near future.
ENuff Z Nuff’s set included new and old songs with emphasis on the bands two highly successful MTV songs “Fly High Michelle” and “New Thing”. Chip E’Nuff maintained his signature look with long blonde hair and big colorful glasses. Jeremy Asbrock of The Talismen was added on guitar for the show. This band has been touring and recording for 36 years with no sign of slowing down. If they keep performing with the energy I witnessed, there is no reason the should slow down.
Chip E’Nuff – Vocals/Bass
Jeremy Asbrock – Vocals/Guitar
Tory Stoffregen – Vocals/Guitar
Dan Hill – Drums
The night slowed down a bit after 9:00 PM as the program shifted back to an acoustic performance live streamed from Las Vegas. Streaming were guitarists Bruce Kulick, a current member of Grand Funk Railroad and a long time member of Kiss (1984-1996) and Todd Kerns, the current bass player and backing vocalist for Slash, played acoustic guitars. The one hour set of highly talented guitarists was cool to watch stream live for the local audience and the worldwide fans. But, I noticed many in attendance used the time to go to the bar, the restroom, and get some fresh air. The energy that was building was sucked out of the room.
The energy was soon revitalized at 10:30 PM as the Talismen returned to the stage and welcomed the legend Rick Derringer. Rick Derringer’s first song with the group was “Exciter” off Kiss’ 1983 album “Lick It Up” which he recorded with Kiss. He admitted he hadn’t played the song since he recorded it. Some Kiss fans might have found this insulting, but it was just a 73-year-old being truthful. The crowd was really getting into the performance as Rick turned his 1965 hit “Hang on Sloopy” into a sing along. His final song with the band was “Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo”. Rick Derringer kicked into a guitar solo that had The Talismen with their mouths open and the audience roaring with adoration. This was truly a moment I will never forget. Just as he came, he was gone with a wave to the crowd.
The Talismen were definitely energized from the presence of Rick Derringer playing with them, and transitioned into playing Kiss’ sixth album Rock and Roll Over in it’s entirety from the first track to the last. My highlight of that album is “Dr Love” which has always been one of my favorite Kiss songs. The night raced on and seemed to be over too soon. It was midnight, and all good things must come to an end. This was a wonderful event, and I can see an annual KISSmas party every year in the future.
Rick Derringer – Vocals/Guitar
Ryan Spencer Cook – Vocals/Guitar
Jeremy Asbrock – Vocals/Guitar
Philip Shouse – Vocals/Bass
Ken Trapp – Drums
Photographer and Editor/Founder of AllMusicMagazine.com. My love of live music has taken me to incredible experiences with the top bands of all time in stadium shows to the smallest venues with equally inspiring musicians. Using the medium of photography and my publication, these memories will last forever.