Rock legends KISS have announced an epic New York City takeover in honor of their final live shows ever, taking place at Madison Square Garden December 1 and December 2 at 7:30 p.m. ET. To celebrate this historic moment for the most merchandisable band of all time, various takeover activations and experiential events are scheduled across a five-day period. KISS, in partnership with Bravado, Universal Music Group's industry-leading merchandise and brand management company, have carefully curated and developed these events to pay tribute to the band's deep legacy and history with New York City.
KISS said: "We're thrilled to be performing our final shows at MSG since the band originated in New York City over 50 years ago. We are thankful for our long legacy of fans, the KISS Army, and excited to be celebrating through these activations."
Bravado president Matt Young said: "I've been a fan of KISS since I was seven years old, and our team has enjoyed being a part of the KISS franchise for the last 10 years. Bravado is honored to commemorate this extraordinary moment in the band's legendary career by partnering with them to execute this massive NYC Takeover."
The takeover will kick off on November 29 with the following activations:
* Kisstore Pop-Up (November 30 – December 3) - This immersive KISS experience which will feature memorabilia, apparel, accessories and collectible items from partnerships with Ed Hardy, Oxford Pennant, Trick Or Treat Studios, Funko and exclusive KISS popup store merchandise. Located blocks away from MSG at 248 West 37th Street, New York, NY 10018.
* KISS NYC Takeover Google Map - An immersive Interactive map, built in partnership with Google Maps platform, will let fans easily locate the KISS activation spots pinned throughout the city
* KISS Metro Cards – Penn Station and Herald Square Station will have 50,000 limited-edition KISS-branded metro cards available for purchase starting Monday, November 27.
* New York Rangers KISS Game Night At MSG (November 29 @ 7:30 p.m. ET) - The Rangers match-up against the Detroit Red Wings will feature special KISS-themed activities and limited-edition KISS x Rangers merchandise.
* New York Post Activation (November 29 - December 1) - Find the KISS-branded trikes and brand ambassadors passing out commemorative newspaper wraps and custom KISS cookies.
* Penn Station Digital Ads (November 30 - December 2) - KISS's branded digital adverts will run throughout the area.
* KISS Taxi Fleet (November 30) – One-of-a-kind KISS-wrapped taxis will be driving throughout the city.
* Taxis Digital Ads - 800+ taxis will feature KISS digital tops and special KISS TTV content.
* Peloton - KISS is Peloton's newest Artist Series with classes on the Bike, Tread, Row and App dropping on the Peloton platform November 30.
* Prince Street Pizza - KISS-themed pizza and collectible KISS pizza box available with all orders of KISS pizza.
* Inked NYC (12/1-12/2) - Complimentary KISS flash tattoos will be available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and face painting from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Inked NYC, located at 150 W. 22nd St.
* RIPNDIP - Exclusive KISS x RIPNDIP merchandise will be available for purchase at the RIPNDIP NYC store at 620 Broadway beginning November 29.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons insisted that the band's final show on the "End Of The Road" tour, scheduled for December 2 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, will be the group's last.
"My hand on the Bible," he told the magazine. "And I should know because my people wrote that book. In fact, my people also wrote the follow-up book, the New Testament. And so I'll say right here, right now, my hand on the Bible, it will be the final KISS-in-makeup appearance."
Regarding KISS's reasons for hanging it up at this time, Simmons said: "It has nothing to do with ticket sales or anything. It has to do with Mother Nature. And at a certain point, you have to understand that it's going to be a point of diminishing returns because of the kind of band we are. I wear seven-inch platform dragon boots, each weighs as much as a light bowling ball, armor, studs, leather, all that stuff, and that weighs about 40 pounds in total. And I got to spit fire, and fly through the air, and all that, and you got to do it for two hours."
The 74-year-old Simmons also opened up about the emotional weight of the his touring days with KISS coming to an end.
"When I was a kid going to school, my nickname was Mr. Spock," he said. "I've never been much for emotion and stuff like that. I remember my Uncle George, who I loved dearly. I remember standing over his grave, and being sad, but I didn't cry. Tears don't come easy for me. But the few times they have is when I look out at the audience and I see a 50-plus-year-old fan who's been with us ever since he was a kid, wearing KISS makeup. And next to him is his late 20s/early 30s-year-old son wearing makeup, and sitting on the shoulder of his son is his grandson, five-year-old, six-year-old, whatever, wearing our makeup. And that little kid putting up my hand gesture, with the two horns and the thumb out, which actually in sign language means 'I love you,' and sticking his tongue out for the first time. Well, that gets me going every time."
Gene was also asked if there was possibility of a one-off KISS show in the future.
"Paul [Stanley, KISS guitarist/vocalist] has his SOUL STATION band," Gene said. "I'm sure he'd love to play some shows. I've got the GENE SIMMONS BAND. At some point, I may want to jump up onstage and do some tunes. But the physicality of being in KISS says that this is the right thing, at the right place, at the right time. Because B.B. King played until his late 80s. He was sitting onstage. We can't do that. We don't sit down."
KISS launched its farewell trek in January 2019 but was forced to put it on hold in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"End Of The Road" was originally scheduled to conclude on July 17, 2021 in New York City but has since been extended to late 2023. The trek was announced in September 2018 following a KISS performance of the band's classic song "Detroit Rock City" on "America's Got Talent".
In a separate interview with Dan Savoie of 519 magazine, Gene stated about "End Of The Road": "This tour is the end of the road for the band, not the brand. KISS is a universe of its own — movies, merchandise, maybe even Broadway. The band will end, but the KISS experience… it's immortal." He then clarified: "It's the end of touring."
Simmons went on to detail some of the ways in which the KISS brand will be kept alive.
"KISS will continue," he said. "There's a KISS museum in Las Vegas at the Rio called KISS World, and oh my goodness, we have KISS cruises, a movie coming out, and we're working on a cartoon show, a lot of stuff. And of course, all the fun toys and games that will continue."
As for the future of KISS performances, he said: "The KISS show will live on in different ways. Yes, that's being planned. It'll also be four to ten different travelling shows. So, you'll be able to be in Japan and have Japanese actors, musicians being us, and at the same time you could go to Vegas or New York or London."
Earlier this year, KISS's longtime manager Doc McGhee said that a biopic based on the band's early years is tentatively scheduled to hit Netflix in 2024. McGhee also said that while Gene and fellow KISS co-founder Paul Stanley are ending KISS as a touring entity, he didn't see it as the end of the brand, which he compared to the Marvel universe. "Will there be other forms of KISS maybe in the future after I'm gone and after they're gone?" he told "The Rock Experience With Mike Brunn" show. "I don't see that KISS goes away."
Photo courtesy of KISS