KISS Is Saying Goodbye (For Real). Here’s Who You’ll See on the Farewell Tour.
On March 1, legendary band KISS announced the final dates of its End of the Road farewell tour. The final opportunities for members of the KISS Army to see the 2014 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee will be December 1–2 at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
The group—co-founded by guitarist and vocalist Paul Stanley and bassist Gene Simmons and originally featuring drummer Peter Criss and guitarist Ace Frehley—is known for its iconic black and white face paint and theatric live performances. Some of its most successful songs on the Billboard charts include “Beth,” “Rock And Roll All Nite,” “Shout It Out Loud,” and “Calling Dr. Love.”
“Yes, this is the end,” Stanley said Wednesday in an interview on SiriusXM’s Howard Stern Show. “When you come to see the show, it’s awesome. It’s the most high-tech show out there and yet is clearly a kick– rock ’n’ roll show. ...It’s everything KISS, just amped up and ramped up.”
Who Will Be On This Tour?
During the band’s tenure, several musicians have taken the KISS stage such as drummer Eric Carr and guitarist Bruce Kulick. The farewell tour will feature Stanley and Simmons, the only remaining original members of KISS, with drummer Eric Singer and guitarist Tommy Thayer completing the lineup.
After Carr died of cancer in 1991 at age 41 while the group was recording its Revenge album, Singer stepped in to complete it. In 2001, Singer again filled in, this time for Criss, and donned the band’s “Catman” persona on a tour through Japan and Australia. He returned to the drums in 2004 after Criss left the band for good.
Thayer made his first official appearance as the band’s guitarist in 2002 but had previously co-written songs for the group and oversaw return preparations for Frehley and Criss ahead of a 1996 reunion tour.
What Are the Tour Details?
After an extensive summer swing throughout Europe, with stops in the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Italy, the group begins its North American leg in Austin, Texas, on October 29. Presale tickets will be available March 6, and general sales begin March 10.
The band will play 19 shows across the United States and Canada, including a performance at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles on November 3. Other stops include Seattle, Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Indianapolis, and Knoxville, Tennessee.
The Madison Square Garden shows will bring the band’s touring career to a close, 50 years after its debut just down the road in Queens.
KISS Has Been Performing That Long?
KISS took the stage for the first time in New York City on January 30, 1973, at the Popcorn club, which later became known as The Coventry. In a 2023 interview posted to the band’s official site, Simmons said the group did two sets that evening for a crowd of around 10 people. He and his bandmates didn’t have an agent or a manager at the time, but Simmons succeeded in booking a three-night gig for a $150 paycheck total.
The band began its first North American tour in Edmonton, Alberta, on February 5, 1974, as an opening act. Its first national television appearance, on ABC’s In Concert, aired a few weeks later on March 29.
KISS would go on to perform all over the world, including stops in 26 countries during a reunion tour with Criss and Frehley that began in 1996. The band also performed at the pregame show for Super Bowl XXXIII in 1999 and the closing ceremony for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Is This Really It?
It sounds like it. Simmons told Stern on Wednesday he’s sure he’ll “cry like a 9-year-old girl whose foot’s being stepped on” during the final performance.
The band actually kicked off this final tour in 2019 and, according to Rolling Stone, already tried to schedule one farewell show at Madison Square Garden on July 17, 2021. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the group to delay dates. Simmons and Stanley were diagnosed with breakthrough cases in August 2021. The band’s guitar tech, Francis Stueber, died of the virus weeks later in October.
“Some people have kind of snickered and said, ‘This End of the Road tour has gone on for years,’” Stanley added Wednesday. “Yeah, we lost two and a half years to COVID. We would have been done already.”