In advance of KISS‘s final live shows at Madison Square Garden on December 1 and December 2, several exciting activations are taking place throughout New York City, including a music-to-light show on the world-famous Empire State Building today (Thursday, November 30).
For KISS, celebrating alongside the historic Empire State Building ahead of their final two shows is fitting as they took one of their most iconic photos on the building’s 86th floor observation deck almost 50 years ago. Since then, it has become one of the ways KISS has portrayed the band’s deep legacy and history with New York City.
Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons gave their recollections of the 1976 photo shoot to KISS‘s official web site.
“It’s pretty awesome to be up there,” Paul said. “We climbed the ladder in those boots. It was a pretty interesting time.”
Added Gene: “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!”
The ceremonial lighting display is illuminating the building on Thursday, November 30 from dusk until 2 a.m. ET. This can also be viewed online on the Empire State Building live cam. The illumination shows silver to represent the KISS logo and red, purple, blue, and green to honor each band character’s iconic color. The music-to-light show set to the band’s 1975 hit “Rock And Roll All Nite” was timed to a 7 p.m. ET broadcast that evening on iHeartMedia New York’s Q104.3.
The Empire State Building’s world-famous Observatory Experience recently underwent a $165 million reimagination. Text CONNECT to 274-16 to receive information about each Empire State Building tower lighting.
Bravado, KISS‘s long-time merchandising agency worked closely with the Empire State Building to make this event possible.
“As a longtime fan of KISS, it is thrilling to see everything come full circle since the 1976 legendary photo shoot at the Empire State Building to this week’s music-to-light spectacular,” said Matt Young, Bravado president. “As the final two shows approach, Bravado is honored to celebrate the past, present and future of KISS, the band and the brand.”
Last week, KISS announced an epic New York City takeover in honor of its final live shows ever. To celebrate this historic moment for the most merchandisable band of all time, various takeover activations and experiential events are scheduled across a five-day period. KISS, in partnership with Bravado, Universal Music Group‘s industry-leading merchandise and brand management company, have carefully curated and developed these events to pay tribute to the band’s deep legacy and history with New York City.
KISS 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, Simmons insisted that the band’s final show on the “End Of The Road” tour will be the group’s last.
“My hand on the Bible,” he told the magazine. “And I should know because my people wrote that book. In fact, my people also wrote the follow-up book, the New Testament. And so I’ll say right here, right now, my hand on the Bible, it will be the final KISS-in-makeup appearance.”
Regarding KISS‘s reasons for hanging it up at this time, Simmons said: “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.”
The 74-year-old Simmons also opened up about the emotional weight of the his touring days with KISS coming to an end.
“When I was a kid going to school, my nickname was Mr. Spock,” he said. “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.”
Gene was also asked if there was possibility of a one-off KISS show in the future.
“Paul has his SOUL STATION band,” Gene said. “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.”
KISS launched its farewell trek in January 2019 but was forced to put it on hold in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“End Of The Road” was originally scheduled to conclude on July 17, 2021 in New York City but has since been extended to late 2023. The trek was announced in September 2018 following a KISS performance of the band’s classic song “Detroit Rock City” on “America’s Got Talent”.
In a separate interview with Dan Savoie of 519 magazine, Gene stated about “End Of The Road”: “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.” He then clarified: “It’s the end of touring.”
Simmons went on to detail some of the ways in which the KISS brand will be kept alive.
“KISS will continue,” he said. “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.”
As for the future of KISS performances, he said: “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 said that a biopic based on the band’s early years is tentatively scheduled to hit Netflix in 2024. McGhee also said that while Gene and fellow KISS co-founder Paul Stanley are ending KISS as a touring entity, he didn’t see it as the end of the brand, which he compared to the Marvel universe. “Will there be other forms of KISS maybe in the future after I’m gone and after they’re gone?” he told “The Rock Experience With Mike Brunn” show. “I don’t see that KISS goes away.”
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