The group confirmed their new era at the conclusion of their final show at Madison Square Garden
All good things must come to an End.
On Saturday, rock ‘n’ roll icons KISS bought their End of the Road Tour to a close at the storied Madison Square Garden. While the group are supposedly never touring again, the band announced after the show that they plan to continue peforming – virtually.
At the conclusion of their final show at MSG, KISS made a surprise handover onstage to their new digital avatars who will performed the encore, “God Gave Rock And Roll To You,” marking the withdrawal of the flesh and blood group, yet the continuation of the KISS journey into a new era. The band’s transformation into avatars will ensure their immortalization, while pushing the boundaries of rock and roll performances, as KISS have done throughout their career to date. This avatar performance will feature KISS as fantasy-based superheroes, and will provide a glimpse of just one of the many and varied ways in which KISS will live on as digital performers through their avatars in the future.
“The band will never stop, because the fans own the band.” frontman Paul Stanley said. “The band deserves to live on, because the band is bigger than we are.”
Check out the full reveal in the video below.
Achieved through a partnership with Pophouse Entertainment Group, the Swedish entertainment company renowned for its development of brand-building enterprises in music and entertainment, this end-of-show performance marks the official reveal of plans for a new era of KISS in the near future – which will see avatars of the band perform to fans for decades to come. KISS’s long history of experimenting with special effects and staging, as well as iconic personas and costumes, will evolve through pioneering technology.
The KISS avatars are created by the George Lucas-founded visual effects company (and Lucasfilm division), Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), who showcase their unique creative expertise and artistry using their advanced performance-capture technology. The technology has enabled ILM to capture the band’s face and body performance, forming the basis of the avatars in combination with ILM’s artistry and machine learning technology, allowing the creative essence of KISS to be able to live on forever. ILM’s previous work includes credits on iconic movies and franchises such as Star Wars, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and groundbreaking episodic series such as The Mandalorian, amongst others.
Following the physical band’s final performance, Pophouse Entertainment Group will continue to champion the KISS legacy for fans old and new, and for all generations. The new KISS avatar shows will be the second immersive, avatar-powered music concert project that Pophouse Entertainment is involved in – following the success of the ABBA Voyage show in London, UK, where Pophouse is the lead investor. Thierry Coup – former Chief Creative Officer, SVP at Universal Destinations & Experiences – is announced as the Creative Director of the upcoming avatar show.
To coincide with the reveal of their digital transformation, KISS members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons joined Per Sundin (Pophouse Entertainment CEO), Thierry Coup (Creative Director, JOCOUP Creative), and Grady Cofer (VFX Supervisor, ILM) for a special discussion about the band’s history and the inspiration behind the move into innovative avatar-powered performance. The video of the discussion can be viewed below (and includes a glimpse of the avatars, which will feature at Madison Square Garden and in the future KISS avatar show).
In the discussion, KISS bassist and co-founder Gene Simmons comments that through partnering with ILM and Pophouse Entertainment, “We can be forever young and forever iconic by taking us to places we’ve never dreamed of before. The technology is going to make Paul jump higher than he’s ever done before.”
During the conversation, lead vocalist and co-founder of the band Paul Stanley comments: “What we’ve accomplished has been amazing, but it’s not enough. The band deserves to live on because the band is bigger than we are.” He later adds: “It’s exciting for us to go the next step and see KISS immortalized. I mean, we’ve spent 50 years building it to this point. And by working with ILM and working with Pophouse, we’re all sharing this vision of taking KISS to a completely different level beyond being just a music band. And we’ve always thought of ourselves as more than just a music band.”
Per Sundin, CEO of Pophouse Entertainment, comments: “Pophouse Entertainment Group is thrilled to embark on this transformative journey with KISS, and showcase to fans what is on the horizon as part of future avatar show. Our partnership will fuse the rich history and iconic status of KISS with cutting-edge technology, allowing fans – now and in the future – to experience the band like never before.”
It has been a wild run since the band embarked on their final tour. Since 2019, The Rock Revival has been along for the ride documenting the entire End of the Road Tour. Revisit our reviews and live photo galleries from Philadelphia (2019), Allentown (2020), and Atlantic City (2021).
“All that we have built and all that we have conquered over the past four decades could never have happened without the millions of people worldwide who’ve filled clubs, arenas and stadiums over those years,” KISS said in a statement before the initial launch of the tour. “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.”
KISS are one of the most successful acts in music history, having sold over 100 million albums worldwide. The band broke into the mainstream in 1974 with their self-titled debut album. In 1977, the band won the People’s Choice Award for Best New Song for “Beth.” KISS were nominated for a GRAMMY® Award in 1999 for Best Hard Rock Performance.