It’s the news every cultured traveller has been waiting for – exactly where and when one can catch one of the defining moments in music history; nay human history – the definitive final concert by rock giants KISS.
The divisive rockers – face-painted cheesy and tuneless swindlers to some; the Hottest Band in the World to everyone else! – have officially set the historic Madison Square Garden arena in their home town of New York on December 2 as their last ever gig.
It will be the second night of a two-night stand at this most famous of venues, and was officially announced this past week – in suitably modest fashion – on Howard Stern’s radio show in New York.
So what if it’s not the classic line-up? So what if they should have given up when the original line-up finished their reunion tour in the late 90s? So what if they will probably play exactly the same set list they have been sleepwalking through for the last 10 years?
For most KISS fans it’s all about the 1970s albums, the make-up and costumes and the classic line-up of Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss. But, that’s to disrespect the other line-ups and members (notably Eric Carr, Bruce Kulick and Vinnie Vincent) that played their part while the band was still a band and not just a brand.
Yes, the current line-up has been ridiculed over the past few years for using the classic make-up characters, but only having two original members; for not releasing any new music but still touring incessantly, for playing the same setlists because they’re the only songs they can still pull off as the bones creak and the voices crack.
But…it’s KISS – four grown men wearing black leather, platform heels and ridiculous (particularly the cat!) face paint. You can’t take it seriously, and they’ve been generally accepted as being rock’s number 1 lovable hucksters for years now…so, it’s not as if anyone is entering this world unprepared.
You’re still getting Gene Simmons doing his fire-breathing schtick, Paul Stanley warbling and preening and hired hands Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer playing the Catman and Spaceman roles, respectively.
And, there are the songs – Detroit Rock City, Deuce, Rock and Roll All Nite, Let Me Go Rock ‘N’ Roll, Black Diamond, Shout It Out Loud, Calling Dr Love, Lick It Up, Heaven’s On Fire, I Was Made For Loving You, Firehouse, God of Thunder, I Love It Loud, Love Gun etc – they’ll all be there.
And, maybe, just maybe, Messrs Stanley and Simmons will do the right thing and bring up original catman Peter Criss and everyone’s favourite co-founding guitarist Ace Frehley for one last swing. Don’t count on it, though!
What: KISS, End of the Road World Tour: Final Date Ever
When: December 2, 2023
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York