After sickness, a broken arm and years of delays, Leo Wyatt’s dream of seeing KISS finally comes true
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IDAHO FALLS — It took sickness, a broken arm and more than two years of unexpected delays, but Leo Wyatt’s dream of seeing KISS in concert finally came true Wednesday – the same day he turned 56.
Wyatt and his sister Toni Wood traveled to USANA Amphitheater in Salt Lake City, met the group and watched a performance they’ll never forget.
“It was the time of his life!” Wood texted EastIdahoNews.com after the show.
Wyatt has been in love with KISS since the band’s early days in the 1970s. Even though he listened to every record the world-famous heavy metal band produced, he had never attended a concert in person.
Wyatt was born with Williams syndrome – a genetic condition that presents medical problems, developmental delays and learning challenges. One interesting characteristic is that people with the disorder generally love music – which is the case for Wyatt.
In February 2019, EastIdahoNews.com surprised him for Feel Good Friday while he was working at Arctic Circle in Idaho Falls. We showed him a video message from Gene Simmons asking Wyatt to come to an upcoming concert with an invitation to meet the band backstage.
Wyatt was thrilled, but the day before the scheduled show, it was canceled due to Simmons experiencing a medical emergency. Wyatt and his family were unaware of the cancellation and went to Salt Lake City, where Wyatt broke his arm and ended up in the hospital.
The concert was rescheduled for 2020 but postponed again due to COVID-19. Finally, a new date was announced – Sept. 22, 2021 – Wyatt’s birthday.
“The concert is my birthday present,” Wyatt tells EastIdahoNews.com.
Wood took Wyatt to Cheesecake Factory for dinner and splurged on a limo so her brother could arrive at the show in fashion. Over the past two years, Wyatt’s family has been in touch with KISS’ tour manager, and Wyatt and Wood were invited to meet the band (through plexiglass due to COVID-19).
“When we went for a photo with the band, Gene pointed at Leo and nodded,” Wood says. “Leo is so excited about that.”
Wyatt spent the evening rocking out to “God of Thunder,” “Shout It Out Loud,” “Detroit Rock City” and other favorites. Wood says it was “overwhelming” watching her brother dance, laugh and enjoy the music.
“It was exactly what I had hoped and more,” she says. “He just kept saying, ‘Thank you.’ This has all been such a fun dream come true.”
Wyatt’s story caught the attention of KISS fans and others worldwide. Many sent him old records, photos of the band and donations. Part of that money was used for hotel accommodations in Salt Lake City, and Wood says the rest will be donated to the Williams Syndrome Foundation.
“This is the best birthday,” Wyatt said Wednesday. “KISS – they never leave their fans behind.”
And this 56-year-old fan working at Arctic Circle never left them either.