Kix walks away with final hometown show

The 80’s glam metal band has retired after 40+ years together

Kix said farewell with a spectacular show full of music, pyro, and high energy during a two hour 18 song set. Kix…Walkin’ Away took place at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland on Sunday night (Sept 17th).

The hard rockers chose a venue just a few miles down the road from their Hagerstown, Maryland roots. Kix certainly enjoyed a strong following in the region, as more people seemed to be sporting Kix merch than not at this final show. It was clear their hometown showed up to see them off.

“Am I pretty or what?” lead singer Steve Whitman asked the crowd, his red sequin blazer and atomic blond locks visible for what seemed like miles. Whiteman’s energy radiated as he gyrated and stomped around the stage. At times he stalked his bandmates, aiming his voice at his bandmates as if daring them to withstand its power. At others, Whiteman whipped out his harmonica to wail on riffs that would give Charlie McCoy a run for his money.

A career retrospective, each number was accompanied by gigantic projected cover art. “Midnite Dynamite” had its own eponymous album displayed. While “No Ring Around Rosie” and “Red Light, Green Light, TNT” showcased the artwork from Blow My Fuse.

The band welcomed past and present members on stage with guitarists Brad Divens and Ronnie “10/10” Younkins rejoining for several appearances. Younkins, who left in 2020 for personal issues, returned for the most songs, including an extended intro to “Cold Blooded.” Perhaps most notably, Jimmy “Chocolate” Chalfant drummed a triumphant final show. He just recently returned to the kit behind Kix after suffering a cardiac event last year. He did not miss a beat (both the heart and drum kind, that is.)

In fact, one couldn’t help but notice that Kix doesn’t sound or act like a group entering retirement. Just the opposite, theirs was one of the more energetic shows from classic 80’s rockers. For a band that has cited worries about aging as a reason for hanging it up, they did not show any sign of it at this concert. They very well could have 10 more years in the tank if they wanted.

Before delivering their biggest hit, “Don’t Close Your Eyes,” Whitemire lamented to his hometown crowd that he wished Kix had more radio hits. But used the opportunity to thank the fans who delivered them their cult following. “You people got it, you always did get it, and we thank you for your support all these years.”

As for the song? They played “Eyes” as if it were the first and last time it had ever been played. The rendition earned a minutes-long ovation.

To cap off the night, Kix played an extra-long “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” as red and white balloons rained down and fireworks lit up the stage. Afterward, Whiteman brought out Kix’s entire management and production team for a final thank you.

About two-thirds through the night, Kix delivered a tight, guitar-driven “Itch.” With its refrain, “I got the itch,” it speaks of an insatiable appetite. One can’t help but wonder if in a few years, “The Goddamn Kix band” might feel that itch to walk back towards the footlights and an adoring crowd. But if this was indeed the final show ever, it was a spellbinding night to the very last note.

Matt Bailey
Matt Bailey

Matt Bailey is podcast producer and writer located in the Northeast. Since 2013, Bailey has produced more than 160 episodes of his own online radio show, Talk For Two. In 2016 alone, he interviewed Kevin Bacon, Crystal Gayle, Bob Barker, and Gilbert Gottfried, among several other stars. As a Correspondent for The Music Universe, his focus is Broadway, country music and concert reviews.