5 Weird Things About Kiss’ Final Concert
Kiss tried some new and unusual things Saturday night at their last-ever live concert.
Having never breathed fire, spit blood or flown across a basketball stadium filled with fans screaming our name, it's not our place to say anything the group did was right or wrong. Obviously Kiss had every right to end their touring career anyway they saw fit. But is it fair to note that some of it was kind of weird?
Here are the five weirdest things about Kiss' final concert.
The Opening Act Was a Talk Show
The night's first big wrinkle came after Amber Wild's opening set, as Allison Hagendorf appeared on Paul Stanley's star-shaped second stage in the middle of the audience and began hosting a talk show. In between previously taped onscreen interview clips with Stanley and Gene Simmons, she chatted with "I Was Made for Lovin' You" co-writer Desmond Child as well as Kiss offspring Nick and Sophie Simmons and Evan Stanley. The taped interviews with the band members offered some nice insights on the magnitude of the moment, but the rest felt like momentum-breaking celebrity chatter. Mixing in some music — maybe historical clips or old videos — would have helped keep the live audience more engaged and ready for the actual concert.
Shout (Their Names) Out Loud
In between songs, Stanley addressed the end of Kiss' touring career several times, offering repeated thanks to the band's fans and celebrating their New York city history: "How could we not end where it all started?" Although many disagree, it's understandable that Kiss kept the focus on their current and longest-running lineup by not having any former bandmates join them onstage at any point on the End of the Road tour. However, it would have been nice for them to at least mention long-serving alumni such as Ace Frehley, Peter Criss, Eric Carr and Bruce Kulick by name on this one particularly important night.
The Demon Stays Silent
Fully understanding that Stanley has always been the master of ceremonies at Kiss concerts, given the night's significance, it would have been nice for the live audience to hear a little more from fellow co-founder Simmons than variations on "New York, lemme hear you!" The PPV audience at home got more than the live crowd did, as the Demon let his guard down in a legitimately touching interview immediately after leaving the stage.
Avatars? Wait, Are We in the Multiverse Now?
When it came time for Kiss to take their final bow, it seemed like fans would get the moment of closure they'd been waiting for since this tour began over four years ago. Instead, the group went into marketing mode. As the stage filled with fog, Stanley declared: "The end of this road is the beginning of another road. We're not going anywhere! You'll see us in all different things, all the time. See you in your dreams!" After one more grand flourish, the giant screens behind the band were filled with giant digital Kiss avatars performing the band's version of "God Gave Rock and Roll to You II." "Kiss army! Your love, your power has made us immortal," declared Stanley's onscreen clone. "The new Kiss era starts now!"
A press release and video documentary offered more hints about the band's plan to live on forever as a virtual band, but in the moment, it made for a confusing and unsatisfying end to Kiss' five-decade onstage career.
Golden Tickets: A Gift That Left Some Fans Seething
On the way out of Madison Square Garden, some fans received a special surprise: a hefty gold-plated ticket commemorating their attendance at the final flesh-and-blood Kiss show. The "some" in that sentence has proved to be a bone of contention for the unlucky fans that did not receive this gift. They have since flooded Kiss-centric social media sites to complain about what they deemed a disorganized and unfair handout process, greedy fellow concertgoers who took multiple copies and, of course, the people who are now selling their golden tickets on eBay for hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars. Although the band's representatives reportedly later clarified that the gifts were meant to be handed out randomly and not to every single concertgoer, some fans have started an online petition demanding gold tickets for all.
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Gallery Credit: Matthew Wilkening