After several decades announcing their retirement, the legendary rock band KISS said goodbye to their The End of the Road tour this December 2 with a final concert at Madison Square Garden in New York. However, before turning off the lights forever, the group revealed that their legacy will continue through digital avatars, thus announcing a new chapter for their musical legacy.
The avatars, designed by George Lucas’ special effects company Industrial Light & Magic in collaboration with Pophouse Entertainment Group, co-founded by ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus, took the stage to perform God Gave Rock and Roll to You. This technology, which they had already used in the “ABBA Voyage” show in London, opens the possibility of KISS holding simultaneous concerts on different continents, according to Per Sundin, CEO of Pophouse Entertainment.
Members of KISS, including founders Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons, along with guitarist Tommy Thayer and drummer Eric Singer, participated in motion capture sessions to create these digital avatars, presented as superheroic versions of the band. The initiative seeks to ensure “digital immortality” for the group after five decades of career.
“What we have achieved has been incredible, but it is not enough. The band deserves to continue living because the band is bigger than us. It is exciting for us to take the next step and see KISS immortalized,” stated guitarist and vocalist Paul Stanley about the band’s new digital stage. For his part, bassist Gene Simmons reiterated that this technology will make KISS never age.
“KISS is its own universe: movies, merchandise, maybe even Broadway. The band will end, but the KISS experience… is immortal,” Simmons said, hinting at the band’s future in movies, Broadway shows, and other content.
Simmons has also considered that, in addition to the shows with digital avatars, new experiences could come with artists wearing KISS makeup and clothing, in this way, each country could have its own musicians who perform hits like Rock & Roll All Nite, God of Thunder, Forever and Heaven’s on Fire.
The use of digital avatars is becoming increasingly common in the music industry, as demonstrated by the creation of the “Digital Mark,” a digital twin of K-pop artist Mark Tuan. In this context, the Kiss avatars represent a significant advance in this trend. Although the date has not yet been announced, a concert by the avatars of KISS could be on the way in 2024.
KISS’s final show at Madison Square Garden not only marked the end of an era for the band, but also the beginning of a new one, in which technology will allow them to continue captivating their fans beyond the conventional limits of the stage and physical presence.