KISS Bids Farewell to Touring, Hello to Digital Avatars

The feedback and confetti had yet to settle at the end of the End of the Road World Tour in New York City on Saturday when the lights dimmed and virtual avatar likenesses of KISS appeared on screens at Madison Square Garden.

As a recording of "God Gave Rock & Roll To You" blasted through the same speakers that had just delivered the last live performance of "Rock N' Roll Every Night," giant animated versions of Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer introduced themselves to the capacity crowd in Manhattan.

The Kiss avatars perform and encore at the last show for the legendary band.

"KISS Army: Your love, your power has made us immortal," Stanley's voice said as the two-story images posed on the screen behind the stage.

"The new KISS era starts now. Oh yeah!" he declared sounding a bit like Duffman from The Simpsons.

The setlist of KISS's final show

Earlier in the night the human quartet, ranging from ages of 62 (Thayer) to 73 (Simmons), knocked out a solid 20 song set not unlike most the band has been delivering for much of the farewell tour that entertained fans across five continents over 58 months.

“So this is the end of the road,” Stanley said to some of the band's biggest fans, many of whom wore vintage KISS concert tshirts or painted their face in the kabuki makeup that is now forever ingrained in rock culture. 

The Empire State Building gave love to the rockers who came from NYC and who ended their 50 year career at MSG.

“I know, I know,” the frontman said to the groaning, grieving audience. “But tonight’s a night for joy, tonight’s a night to celebrate what we’ve done together. We couldn’t have done it without you New York.”

Ironically the show kicked off with the motor city tribute classic "Detroit Rock City," the second-most played tune by the band, clocking in at 2,138 appearances on their setlist. The only song they've played more is "Rock & Roll All Night," their closer.

Along the way Gene drooled blood, fire and pyro lit up the room, and Paul flew over the fans. The latter feat was not taken for granted as the guitarist came down with a sudden, serious illness last month that forced the band to cancel their gigs in Ottawa, Toronto and Knoxville.

KISS is the last rock band to leave money on the table, so the idea of simply cancelling those three shows and not postponing them and doubling back in 2024 seems off brand. But according to the singer, he imagined the worst while hooked up to an IV on his sick bed.

“I’ve done shows with cracked ribs, I’ve done shows with a 102 degree fever,” Stanley said. “I was wondering if it was my time.”

Luckily for all of us it wasn't. But the band was wise to use George Lucas' ILM graphic arts company earlier this year to digitize their every move via motion capture technology which aided into turning them into avatars.

“We can be forever young and forever iconic by taking us to places we’ve never dreamed of before,” Simmons said last week. “The technology is going to make Paul jump higher than he’s ever done before.”

Eric and the boys were playing. Now it's over. Or is it?

Will audiences flock to see virtual versions of the gods of thunder? Wasn't part of the appeal that they were men who looked like cartoon characters? Will people shell over money to watch cartoons that look like men?

One venue this might take off at is related to Madison Square Garden. Way out in Las Vegas there's that game-changing venue, The Sphere, with its massive array of video screens. What better than digital versions of KISS to fill up those eagerly awaiting pixels?

The full show of the last show from the pit.

And with the living, breathing, band members out of the way, one could conceivably hold several "performances" a day, minus the million-dollar appearance fee many top acts are asking of the modern venue owned by the billionaire who also owns MSG.

KISS is currently collecting email addresses from fans so they can be the first to know when these avatars will make their next appearance. Sign up on the Kiss website.

Karma Police - Please Share:

Most played songs

Last updated: 27 Feb 2024, 05:23 Etc/UTC