So here it is. The final, final tour for the rock legends that are Kiss. After 46 years in rock, 21 albums and having entertained hundreds of millions of fans over the years, Messrs, Simmons, Stanley, Thayer and Singer have announced that the platform boots are being put away and the stage make-up is being abandoned forever as they head of into what is likely to be a not so peaceful retirement. But many will say it’s the right time for the band to quit – frontman Gene Simmons will be celebrating his 70th birthday on August 25th 2019, a little over a month after they play the final UK concert of their so-called End of the Road World Tour on July 16th in the SSE Hydro in Glasgow.
It’s also likely to be quite a lavish retirement as all of the band members are reckoned to have net worths into the millions – with Simmons leading the way at an estimated $350 million. This is a figure that’s sure to be boosted still more by the tour that will cross America, Europe and Australasia over its duration. The first American leg of the tour has already been and gone and in May the European dates start. Kiss have always had a massive following in Europe, especially in Germany – so they’re playing no less than six concerts there. Fans in Russia, Belgium, Norway and Sweden will also get the chance to catch them and the European leg of the tour will conclude with five dates in the UK in Birmingham, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow. They’ll also be going to Australia and New Zealand before heading back into the States and probably extending the tour well into 2020.
THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT
The band first chose to announce the final tour when they made a guest appearance on the grand final of America’s Got Talent where they opened the show with their classic hit Detroit Rock City. Making the emotional announcement, the band proclaimed that it would be their biggest and most spectacular show ever. Considering that they have built their reputation for truly over the top onstage antics – this is quite a promise to make. So to stay true to their word they’ll have to go further than the usual fire-breathing, levitating drum kits, on-stage explosions and other types of Spinal Tap-style performances.
From the reviews of some of the dates that have been and gone it would seem that they’re certainly being true to their word. The band enter the stage from above, aboard their individual octagons before launching into a blistering couple of hours featuring all of their most legendary and popular songs. The show closer is the extra-appropriate Rock and Roll All Night which is accompanied by confetti cannons, sparks, explosions and a deafening crescendo of some of the hardest, but most accessible, rock on the planet. For once it seems that the uber-extrovert Gene Simmons is happy to step back and let Paul Stanley handle most of the between-songs banter.
Naturally, the one area that gets nearly as much attention as the stage in each venue is the merchandising stand where fans rush to pick up mementoes like T-shirts and poster as souvenirs of this potentially historic moment.
MASTER OF MERCH
Kiss have the reputation for going even further than most in approving merch with their name on it. There are all the scary dolls you’d expect, but they always thought even bigger than this.
A prime example would be the ghoulish and rather morbid Kiss Kasket. It’s exactly what it sounds like – a fully branded and rather luxuriously lined casket designed to take you to wherever rock and rollers head for when they die. As Simmons himself said: “I love living but this makes the alternative look pretty good!” The casket was first introduced in 2008 and there have been at least two dedicated rock and rollers who have been given a send off in it including brothers Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul, of Pantera and Hellyeah respectively. In both cases Simmons personally donated the caskets as a mark of his respect.
Another unusual piece of merch that is often available through the second-hand market like eBay is the Kiss pinball machine. The eagle eyed can even see it featured in the bar scene in the 1981 slasher movie, Friday the 13th Part 2.
While these machines are now collectors’ items anyone can also indulge their love of the band by playing the Kiss-themed online slots game. Featuring the famous faces as symbols and including snatches of their songs as you play it’s a very satisfying experience – especially with the bonuses and special features which provide so many ways to win. While slots are essentially random games of chance, there are things you can do to maximize your hopes of winning the jackpot. From choosing your slot game wisely to playing with a budget in mind, it can really pay dividends to spend a little time studying how to win at slots. While you might not be able to amass a Gene Simmons-style fortune, it should be a starter in the right direction.
THEY MAY BE BACK
The band have said time and time again that this will be their last tour, announcing in an official statement: “This will be the ultimate celebration for those who’ve seen us and a last chance for those who haven’t. KISS Army, we’re saying goodbye on our final tour with our biggest show yet and we’ll go out the same way we came in… unapologetic and unstoppable.”
But there are some who are taking this claim with more than just a pinch of salt. Not only is there no definite end date, so it could theoretically last for years, it’s by no means their first farewell tour. Back in 2000 the band announced that they were calling it a day as they had no more mountains left to climb. Then, after an eight-month tour that took them from Arizona to Adelaide, they announced that they wouldn’t be retiring after all.
So it’s not inconceivable that history could soon repeat itself. After all, under all that make up, who’s to say just how old the band are looking as they take to the stage? So they could still go on for decades…