The four human members of KISS may have played their last concert together. Still, the long-running, larger-than-life band will now live on forever in the form of digital avatars created with the help of George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic. The high-tech creations debuted at the close of KISS’ 23-song final show last night (Dec. 2) at New York’s Madison Square Garden, performing “God Gave Rock and Roll to You” in what’s certainly a preview of the band’s next era.
“The end of the road is the beginning of another road,” vocalist/guitarist Paul Stanley said, teasing a new digital Kiss experience perhaps not dissimilar from the avatar-based ABBA show currently playing in London. “We’re not going anywhere. You’ll see us in all different things all the time. We’ll see you in your dreams.”
In a teaser clip for the avatars showing Stanley, 71, bassist Gene Simmons, 74, guitarist Tommy Thayer, and drummer Eric Singer wearing motion capture suits, Stanley is heard telling the KISS Army, “Your power … your love has made us immortal!” and later explains, “The band will never stop because the fans own the band.” Adds Simmons, “The future is so exciting.”
Beyond a preview of the avatars, last night’s show did not deviate in content from most of the 250 prior shows on KISS’ four-year End of the World tour. Original members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss did not perform, but the quartet delivered all the hits, pyrotechnics, and blood spitting for which it has been beloved since 1973.
“The first time we played Madison Square Garden was in 1977,” Stanley said later in the evening. “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 [or] 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.”