KISS unveil virtual avatars at final farewell tour performance – announce a “new era” of ABBA Voyage-style shows
KISS have been hinting that the band would continue in another form after The End Road Tour, but now they’re making a play for digital immortality.
Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer and Paul Stanley during the final show of KISS: End of the Road World Tour at Madison Square Garden (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Live Nation)
It seems like KISS will live on beyond their farewell tour, in fact they will continue “eternally” – by becoming the first US rock band to convert themselves to digital avatars, thanks to the same tech that brought ABBA Voyage to the stage in the UK.
On Saturday night the glam-rock icons finally rounded off their much-hyped End Of The Road Tour at Madison Square Garden, but while Gene Simmons and co are finally ready to kick off the platform boots and wipe off the monochromatic makeup, the MSG show also gave fans the first glimpse of the “new era” of KISS that the band had alluded to in recent interviews.
Following the final curtain call, the band left the stage to reveal their brand new virtual avatars – including a winged Demon – as Paul Stanley hollers: “KISS army! Your love, your power, has made us immortal. The new KISS era starts now. Ohhh yeah!”
The avatars then launched into a triumphant version of God Gave Rock and Roll to You to close out the show, and lay the groundwork for what the future of a KISS live show might look like, with from rocking out with devil wings to riffing so hard their guitars emit lightning bolts.
The avatars were created by Pophouse Entertainment – the company co-founded by ABBA man Björn Ulvaeus that created the wildly successful ABBA Voyage show – with help from Hollywood special effects icons Industrial Light & Magic.
Clearly, the success of ABBA Voyage – which has proven that even a virtual live show can be immensely commercially and critically successful if done right – has caught the attention of other legacy acts, but KISS are the first US band to take the plunge.
And it’s not easy to see why – Bloomberg recently revealed revealed that the ABBA Voyage show was making $2 million every week. Not too shabby, if you ask us.
Speaking in a press release today, Pophouse Entertainment have explained that they will be producing “immersive, avatar-powered” concerts using Kiss’ ILM-created avatars.
Immortalising musicians has come a long way since 2014’s hologram of Michael Jackson at the Billboard Music Awards. Massively popular Battle Royale game Fortnite regularly hosts digital concert events for users, the likes of Ariana Grande, BTS and most recently Eminem donning a motion capture suit to be transformed into a digital avatar.
With KISS, the biggest difference between ABBA Voyage and their digital immortality will likely be the musicians – or lack thereof. ABBA Voyage has the virtual avatars performing with a live band every night, whereas KISS have already confirmed that the show will be fully pre-recorded, with no live music during the shows.