Last KISS: Saying farewell to band with a look back at its biggest moments

posted in: Adventure | 0

KISS is calling it quits.


Hey — some people don’t get it right the first time.

So, these masked men of rock ‘n’ roll mayhem have hit the road with their second farewell trek, dubbed the End of the Road World Tour.

It’s a mammoth road show that has already stretched more than four years (minus the COVID shutdown, of course) and looks to finish up in December.

Along the way, the band is set to play Acrisure Arena at Greater Palm Springs on Nov. 1 and the Hollywood Bowl on Nov. 3, which will be the final KISS shows ever played in California.

Well, at least until the band adds more dates or announces a third farewell tour.

After all, pretty much nothing is off the table when it comes to KISS and making money.

To commemorate these closing shows of this long goodbye, we decided to take a look back in KISStory at some of the big moments in the band’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame career.

Since the band is (allegedly) wrapping up its storied, groundbreaking career in 2023, here are 23 KISS milestones, ranging from landmark album releases to a performance witnessed by billions.

1. First KISS

Bassist Gene Simmons, vocalist-guitarist Paul Stanley, guitarist Ace Frehley and drummer Peter Criss perform the first-ever KISS show on Jan. 30, 1973. A crowd of roughly 10 people witness the gig at a small club called Popcorn in Queens.

2. Debut album

The band’s eponymous debut hits shelves on Feb. 18, 1974, offering up such key cuts as “Strutter,” “Deuce” and “Black Diamond.” It didn’t make much of a mark out of the gate, initially selling only 75,000 copies, but was finally certified gold a little over 3 years later.

3. “All Nite” long

KISS finds its signature song with the release of “Rock and Roll All Nite” from their third album, 1975’s “Dressed to Kill.” The hit is released as a single on April 2, 1975. Nearly a half century later, it’s still a tune that KISS turns to for nearly every  encore.

OAKLAND, CA – MARCH 6: KISS member Gene Simmons licks his bass during their concert at the Oakland Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, March 6, 2020. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

4. KISS comes ‘Alive!’

Although KISS’ studio albums continue to struggle on the charts, the band’s fortunes change dramatically with the release of “Alive!” on Sept. 10, 1975. The live double album proves to be the breakthrough hit that sets the band up for everything to come.

5. Slowing it down

It’s a bit ironic that a band that loves to “Rock and Roll All Nite” and “Shout It Loud” scores its biggest hit with the ballad “Beth,” released on the “Destroyer” album on March 15, 1976.

6. A different fantastic four

The band gets its own comic when A Marvel Comics Super Special!: KISS is released on June 30, 1977. The four musicians do more than just star in the comic — they also add their own blood to the ink at the printing press.

7. Alive, too

The band returns to the well that has served them so nicely and releases arguably its most powerful album — “Alive II” — on Oct. 14, 1977, a two-LP offering recorded mainly during a run of shows earlier in the year at the Forum in Inglewood.

Related Articles

Ross Raihala: Here’s the story behind my Twitter feud with country superstar Luke Bryan

Concert review: A distracted, slow-moving Luke Bryan phoned it in at the X

South African musician Abel Selaocoe is a dynamic partner with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra

Review: ‘Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour’ among greatest concert films of all time

Concert review: Peter Gabriel plays by his own rules at Xcel Energy Center

8. Going solo (kinda)

All four members release eponymous solo albums on Sept. 18, 1978. None of the four reach the top 20 on the album charts, yet all of them still go platinum.

9. ‘Phantom’ menace

The feature-length TV film, “KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park,” is aired by NBC on Oct. 28, 1978. The movie — filmed mainly at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia — is widely panned, especially by the band. Simmons reportedly once compared it to Ed Wood’s cult classic, “Plan 9 from Outer Space.”

(Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

OAKLAND, CA – MARCH 6: KISS members, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, perform during their concert at the Oakland Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, March 6, 2020. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

10. Disco inferno

Hard-rocking KISS fans cringe a bit when the disco-happy “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” is released on the “Dynasty” album on May 23, 1979. Everybody else just dances and sings along to what is surely one of the best KISS songs of all time.

11. Criss to Carr

Original drummer Criss leaves the band not long after “Unmasked” is released on May 20, 1980. Eric Carr quickly takes over on the kit, making his concert debut with the band on July 25, 1980.

12. The big reveal

Known at least as much for their makeup as their music, the KISS guys finally show their faces on MTV on Sept. 18, 1983. Once the novelty fades, basically everyone agrees that they like the band better in makeup.

13. Wait .. who?

Released as a single on Jan. 5, 1990, the power ballad “Forever” becomes the band’s second top 10 hit (after “Beth”). Stanley co-wrote the song with — get ready for this — Michael Bolton.

14. R.I.P. Carr

The amazingly talented drummer dies from heart cancer at age 41 on Nov. 24, 1991.

15. The big four

The original members of KISS embark on a reunion tour on June 28, 1996 in Detroit. (And, equally important, they are all back in makeup!) The trek — which marks the first tour with Frehley and Criss since 1979’s Dynasty Tour — is a massive success.

16. Goodbye (take 1)

The group launches its first farewell tour on March 11, 2000 in Phoenix. By late 2002, however, KISS announces that the retirement is, um, well, not really happening. (Sorry about that!)

17. Gold medal performance

In a move that probably only Gene and Paul would have predicted, KISS is chosen to perform during the closing ceremony of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games on Feb. 24, 2002. The band’s high-octane take on “Rock and Roll All Nite” is seen by some three billion TV viewers.

18. Thayer on guitar

Guitarist Tommy Thayer fills in for Frehley and makes his live KISS debut during a private concert in Jamaica on March 6, 2002. Not long after, he officially gets the gig as the band’s lead guitarist.

19. Super ‘Sonic’

After more than a decade without putting out a new studio album, KISS finally releases No. 10 — “Sonic Boom” — on Oct. 6, 2009. The album reaches No. 2 on the Billboard 200, making it the highest charting effort of the band’s career.

OAKLAND, CA – MARCH 6: KISS vocalist-guitarist Paul Stanley plays during their concert at the Oakland Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, March 6, 2020. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

20. Rock Hall

After years of eligibility and countless cries from KISS Army, the band’s original lineup — Simmons, Stanley, Criss and Frehley — is finally (and rightfully) inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame during a ceremony on April 10, 2014 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

21. It’s a long Road

The band launches its mammoth End of the Road World Tour on Jan. 31, 2019 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada. More than four years later, it’s still going.

22. Going to California

Fans from around the Golden State and beyond will gather at the legendary Hollywood Bowl on Nov. 3 for what is increasingly looking like the final KISS show in California.

23. If you can make it there

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.