BlogNovember 30, 2023 10:28 PM ET

Kiss, reaching the "End Of The Road", take on New York City and Madison Square Garden

KISS Empire State Building

KISS, the legendary rock band, is gearing up for their final live shows at Madison Square Garden on December 1 and December 2. As part of the lead-up to these monumental events, a music-to-light show took place on the Empire State Building on November 30. 

The display, which can be viewed below, honored KISS's deep ties to New York City and featured lighting in the band members' iconic colors.

This event is particularly poignant as it pays homage to a historic photo shoot that KISS did at the Empire State Building's observation deck almost 50 years ago. Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, two of the band's founding members, reminisced about the 1976 shoot and expressed their excitement about the recent lighting display.

Paul said:

It's pretty awesome to be up there. We climbed the ladder in those boots. It was a pretty interesting time.

Gene added: 

We were nuts! We would do anything you could imagine. Let's go on top of the Empire State Building and hang over the side for a photo. That'll look cool. Let's go!

Furthermore, KISS, in collaboration with Bravado, organized a series of activations and experiences across New York City to celebrate the band's long-standing connection with the city.

The band has emphasized their gratitude to their loyal fanbase, the KISS Army, as they prepare for their final performances at Madison Square Garden.

In a recent interview, Gene Simmons confirmed that KISS's "End Of The Road" tour will indeed mark the end of the band's live performances in full makeup. 

Despite this, Simmons assured fans that the KISS experience will live on through various avenues, such as a KISS museum in Las Vegas, KISS cruises, a biopic, and potential traveling shows.

The band said: 

We're thrilled to be performing our final shows at MSG since the band originated in New York City over 50 years ago. We are thankful for our long legacy of fans, the KISS Army, and excited to be celebrating through these activations.

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Gene Simmons made it clear that KISS's final show on the "End Of The Road" tour will mark the band's last appearance in full makeup.

 He emphasized the finality of this decision, stating:

My hand on the Bible, and I should know because my people wrote that book. In fact, my people also wrote the follow-up book, the New Testament. So, I'll say right here, right now, my hand on the Bible, it will be the final KISS-in-makeup appearance.

Simmons continued: 

It has nothing to do with ticket sales or anything. It has to do with Mother Nature. And at a certain point, you have to understand that it's going to be a point of diminishing returns because of the kind of band we are. I wear seven-inch platform dragon boots, each weighs as much as a light bowling ball, armor, studs, leather, all that stuff, and that weighs about 40 pounds in total. And I got to spit fire, and fly through the air, and all that, and you got to do it for two hours.

In a candid moment, the 74-year-old rock legend shared the emotional impact of bidding farewell to their touring days. Despite his reputation for being stoic, Simmons revealed that seeing multi-generational fans, from grandparents to young children, embracing KISS's iconic makeup and gestures never fails to move him.

He explained:

When I was a kid going to school, my nickname was Mr. Spock. I've never been much for emotion and stuff like that. I remember my Uncle George, who I loved dearly. I remember standing over his grave, and being sad, but I didn't cry. Tears don't come easy for me. But the few times they have is when I look out at the audience and I see a 50-plus-year-old fan who's been with us ever since he was a kid, wearing KISS makeup. And next to him is his late 20s/early 30s-year-old son wearing makeup, and sitting on the shoulder of his son is his grandson, five-year-old, six-year-old, whatever, wearing our makeup. And that little kid putting up my hand gesture, with the two horns and the thumb out, which actually in sign language means 'I love you,' and sticking his tongue out for the first time. Well, that gets me going every time.

Regarding the prospect of one-off KISS shows in the future, Simmons acknowledged the possibility but affirmed that the physical demands of a KISS performance make the decision to retire at this time the right one for the band.

Simmons said:

Paul has his SOUL STATION band. I'm sure he'd love to play some shows. I've got the GENE SIMMONS BAND. At some point, I may want to jump up onstage and do some tunes. But the physicality of being in KISS says that this is the right thing, at the right place, at the right time. Because B.B. King played until his late 80s. He was sitting onstage. We can't do that. We don't sit down.

The "End Of The Road" tour, initially set to conclude on July 17, 2021 in New York City, has been prolonged until late 2023. This tour was announced in September 2018 following a performance of KISS's classic song "Detroit Rock City" on "America's Got Talent". 

Gene Simmons emphasized that "End Of The Road" signifies the conclusion of the band's touring endeavors but not the end of the KISS brand itself, which encompasses various media, such as movies, merchandise, and potentially even Broadway.

This tour is the end of the road for the band, not the brand. KISS is a universe of its own — movies, merchandise, maybe even Broadway. The band will end, but the KISS experience… it's immortal. It's the end of touring.

Simmons detailed the diverse avenues through which the KISS brand will persist, including the KISS World museum in Las Vegas, KISS cruises, an upcoming movie, and the development of a cartoon show.

KISS will continue. There's a KISS museum in Las Vegas at the Rio called KISS World, and oh my goodness, we have KISS cruises, a movie coming out, and we're working on a cartoon show, a lot of stuff. And of course, all the fun toys and games that will continue.

Additionally, he revealed plans for the continuation of the KISS show through different forms and a series of traveling shows, spanning various locations worldwide.

The KISS show will live on in different ways. Yes, that's being planned. It'll also be four to ten different travelling shows. So, you'll be able to be in Japan and have Japanese actors, musicians being us, and at the same time you could go to Vegas or New York or London.

Earlier this year, KISS's longtime manager Doc McGhee mentioned the tentative release of a biopic based on the band's early years on Netflix in 2024. He emphasized that while Gene and fellow KISS co-founder Paul Stanley are bringing an end to KISS as a touring entity, the enduring KISS brand will evolve and continue to thrive, drawing parallels to the expansive and ongoing nature of the Marvel universe. McGhee expressed confidence in the continued existence of KISS in various forms beyond their current involvement.

Will there be other forms of KISS maybe in the future after I'm gone and after they're gone? I don't see that KISS goes away.




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