The End of the Road has arrived. The final* Kiss tour was announced Wednesday night on the America’s Got Talent season finale.
Starting way back in the ancient times of 1994, I was a prolific poster on Hunter Goatley‘s Kiss mailing list. It was one of the first online things I was really enthusiastic about. When this blog was born 12 years later, from nearly the beginning I entertained thoughts of writing The Kiss Post—my definitive documentation of my views on this ridiculously entertaining yet periodically infuriating band.
The Kiss Post wound up being maybe a dozen different posts over the years. The story of my kids’ first, and likely only, Kiss show wound up being the most emblematic. I was delighted that we got them a reasonable simulacrum of the experience, just as I was convinced that I was done.
And I am. I don’t care a whit about seeing the upcoming Kiss tour, particularly given what it is likely to cost to attend. (Even though Gene says “This show will have the most explosions, the most hits and be the loudest yet!” on Instagram.)
For all of the honking Kiss does about marching their own way, a second farewell tour is about the most clichéd thing a band can do. And really, there’s no way to tell what that even means. This article humorously-and-not-always-very-nicely recalls a few of the nuttier ideas they’ve had, some alarmingly recently, about Kiss going on forever.
“(Gene) knows more than anyone that bands aren’t immortal, but brands can be.”
I attended two reunion shows, in 1996 and 1997. I attended the farewell tour in 2000. And, I did finally see the Eric and Tommy version of the band in 2014.
But what has definitely emerged as the coolest time I saw the band was in 1990, on the Hot in the Shade tour. It was my first Kiss show.
I was the same kind of Kiss fan all kids were in the ’70s. I got Destroyer on vinyl for my birthday, and I knew (and know) every note of the record. I had trading cards. I enjoyed catching a glimpse of them on television.
However, I really became a Kiss fan several years later, with Lick It Up and Animalize. I enjoyed the music. I thought Animalize Live Uncensored was fantastic. I picked up with the band really only ten years or so from its beginning, which sounds so quaint now that it’s been a thing for 45 years. I picked up with the band during a time when we could reasonably expect new music every year or two.
Most importantly, I picked up with the band during a time when its commitment to its heritage was to honor it, not to exploit it. Building Kiss fanhood organically during the 1980s as I did might make me one of the purest fans of all.
It also makes me one of a group of fans who can truly understand how far beyond absurd all of this has gotten, because I well remember the sensible and grounded things Gene and Paul had to say about their past once upon a time.
I once wrote of that 2000-2001 farewell tour as Kiss incredibly managing to salvage most of its dignity and going out, more or less, on top. If anything, the passage of time has cemented that view.
Now, the only move left is to beat the dead horse some more. And how.
Gene, Paul, Ace, Peter, Eric C., Vinnie, Mark, Bruce, Eric S., and Tommy: Thanks so much for some truly great times. The soundtrack of my life has a lot of Kiss on it.
Gene, Paul: I’m looking forward to a day on which I might actually miss Kiss. I hope you’ll allow that to happen.