Kevin Powell

Kevin Powell

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KISS: The Band Lives On!

2023 AFL Grand Final - Collingwood v Brisbane

Photo: Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos / Getty Images Sport / Getty Images

KISS brought their five-year End of the Road tour to a conclusion Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in their hometown of New York.

It started on January 31st, 2019, in Vancouver, Canada, and has gone around the world for a total of 13 legs and 250 shows.

Like the other 249 shows, it was basically the same with no special guests, no set list surprises, and no acknowledgement of original members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss.

Commenting on the finale. Paul Stanley told the audience, “So, this is the end of the road. It seems sad, but tonight is a night for joy."

Among his other nostalgic comments:

  • "We couldn't have done this without you New York."
  • "The first time we played Madison Square Garden was in (February 18th) 1977. That memory is so incredible. I can remember looking up there and seeing my mom and my dad. I can remember looking over there and seeing Gene’s mom. Doesn’t matter whether you’re up here, down there. All you ever want is your parents’ approval. You want them to love what you’re doing. Our parents did that for us. Tonight you’re doing it for us.” (At that first show, Stanley was struck in the face by beer bottle, cutting him near his eye.)
  • “Back when I was driving a taxi cab in New York, one night in 1972, I picked up a couple of people who were going to Madison Square Garden to see Elvis Presley. They thought I was crazy because I said, ‘One of these days, people are going to come here to see me and my band.’ And here we are.”
  • "Thank you each and everyone of you. You are the KISS Army. You made us possible and we will always remember and love you."

But perhaps the most memorable thing said was when the sold-out audience and those watching it live on Pay-Per-View were told to stick around after the final song, "Rock and Roll All Nite," for a very special announcement.

And when it got to the end, Stanley said, "The end of the road is the beginning of another road. We're not going anywhere. You'll see us in all different things all the time. We'll see you in your dreams."

That was followed by a video of them as fantasy-based superhero avatars performed their 1991 cover of Argent's 1973 song, "God Gave Rock 'n' Roll to You," along with a QR code taking you to their new website and the special announcement.

They will be the first U.S. band to stage an avatar show, similar to what ABBA is doing in London with their Voyage production.

The avatars were created by the director George Lucas-founded visual effects company (and Lucasfilm division), Industrial Light & Magic (ILM).

The technology has enabled ILM to capture the band’s face and body performance, forming the basis of the avatars in combination with ILM’s artistry and machine learning technology.

Audio file

Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons discussing becoming avatars with the technology's creators. OC:...we've never been to before. :35 

PS: "What we''re looking to do is diversify and find our way into different parts of culture around the world."

GS: "You guys are our secret fountain of youth. We can be forever young and forever iconic by taking us in places we've never dreamed of before. In some ways this is sad because all great things have to come to an end, but the future is so exciting. And, if you think you're going to get rid of us I'm afraid that's not gonna happen. And you guys are our wings that are gonna take us in places we've never been to before."

And Stanley adds, “People say, 'Well, what are you gonna do when you stop?' Well, the band will never stop. Because we don't own the band. The fans own the band. The world owns the band.

"It's exciting for us to go the next step and see KISS immortalized. I mean, we've spent 50 years building it to this point. And by working with ILM and working with Pophouse, we're all sharing this vision of taking KISS to a completely different level beyond being just a music band. And we've always thought of ourselves as more than just a music band.”

No word on when and where this next phase will launch.

Following Saturday's show, guitarist Tommy Thayer said, "I thought it was a fantastic night. I felt really good about it. This is a celebration. But most importantly, this is Gene and Paul's night. This has been their baby for 50 years, and I think everybody was really feeling that. I mean, it's KISS and everything too, of course, but this is about Gene and Paul tonight. This is their encore and their night..."

He also says he became "emotional" at the end.

"I saw a lot of people out there with tears in their eyes. "Gosh, [former Skid Row singer] Sebastian Bach, I saw him about 10 rows out. He was bawling his eyes out. But it's an emotional night. I mean, KISS has been such a big part of everybody's lives for almost 50 years now. It is very emotional, very meaningful."

KISS End of the Road final set list - December 2nd, 2023 - Madison Square Garden:

  1. Detroit Rock City
  2. Shout it Out Loud
  3. Deuce
  4. War Machine
  5. Heaven's on Fire
  6. I Love it Loud - Gene Simmons spits fire
  7. Say Yeah
  8. Cold Gin
  9. Tommy Thayer guitar solo
  10. Lick it Up - w/The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again"
  11. Calling Dr. Love
  12. Makin' Love - followed by Paul & Tommy dueling guitars
  13. Psycho Circus - partial
  14. Eric Singer drum solo
  15. 100,000 Years - partial followed by Gene spitting blood
  16. God of Thunder
  17. Love Gun - Paul zip lines to B-Stage
  18. I Was Made for Lovin' You - Paul on B-Stage
  19. Black Diamond - Paul zip lines back to main stage


  1. Beth - Eric Singer solo on piano
  2. Do You Love Me
  3. Rock and Roll All Nite
  4. God Gave Rock and Roll to You II (KISS holograms)

They did 10 songs that they also did the first time they played Madison Square Garden - February 18th, 1977:

  1. Detroit Rock City
  2. Take Me
  3. Let Me Go, Rock 'n' Roll
  4. Ladies Room
  5. Firehouse
  6. Makin' Love
  7. I Want You
  8. Cold Gin
  9. Guitar Solo
  10. Do You Love Me
  11. Nothin' to Lose
  12. Bass Solo
  13. God of Thunder
  14. Drum Solo
  15. Rock and Roll All Nite


  1. Shout It Out Loud
  2. Beth
  3. Black Diamond

The songs that are bold faced are what they did at Saturday's show.

Mick Jagger has expressed interest in doing something similar for The Rolling Stones, but don't expect The Who to do this.

Pete Townshend tells the Financial Times, “Oh [hell] no. No, no.”

Led Zeppelin were also approached, but couldn't come to an agreement.

Hot Takes:

  • So, KISS are reportedly done performing. We shall see.
  • It would have been nice of them to embrace the past members, but Stanley's ego wouldn't allow it. We're told by a source close to the band that if it were up to Simmons, Ace and Peter would have been there.
  • Is the world really clamoring for a KISS avatar show? Sounds like a show for kids.
  • KISS brags about their over-the-top show, and sure, other bands have big productions, like The Rolling Stones and U2, but they don't rely on it to carry them through like KISS does. So, if you've seen one KISS show you've seen them all.
  • You would think for the finale they would have dug a little deeper into the catalog.

Sunday, December 3, 2023 - 11:14 PM

Publish Date Timestamp

Sun, 12/03/2023 - 23:14

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