Watch: KISS's PAUL STANLEY And GENE SIMMONS Reflect On The Past, Present And Future As 'A New Era' Begins

December 5, 2023

KISS, the legendary rock band known for electrifying live performances over a 50-year career and sales of more than 100 million records worldwide, is marking the end of its physical existence by crossing into the digital world.

At 11 p.m. EST on Saturday, December 2 at New York City's Madison Square Garden, at the conclusion of the last show of the final KISS live tour, "End Of The Road", the band made a surprise handover onstage to their new digital avatars who performed as an encore "God Gave Rock And Roll To You", marking the withdrawal of the flesh and blood group, yet the continuation of the KISS journey into a new era. The band's transformation into avatars will ensure their immortalization, while pushing the boundaries of rock and roll performances, as KISS has done throughout its career to date. This avatar performance will feature KISS as fantasy-based superheroes, and will provide a glimpse of just one of the many and varied ways in which KISS will live on as digital performers through their avatars in the future.

Achieved through a partnership with Pophouse Entertainment Group, the Swedish entertainment company renowned for its development of brand-building enterprises in music and entertainment, this end-of-show performance marks the official reveal of plans for a new era of KISS in the near future — which will see avatars of the band perform to fans for decades to come. KISS's long history of experimenting with special effects and staging, as well as iconic personas and costumes, will evolve through pioneering technology.

The KISS avatars are created by the George Lucas-founded visual effects company (and Lucasfilm division) Industrial Light & Magic (ILM),who showcase their unique creative expertise and artistry using their advanced performance-capture technology. The technology has enabled ILM to capture the band's face and body performance, forming the basis of the avatars in combination with ILM's artistry and machine learning technology, allowing the creative essence of KISS to be able to live on forever. ILM's previous work includes credits on iconic movies and franchises such as "Star Wars", the Marvel cinematic universe and groundbreaking episodic series such as "The Mandalorian", amongst others.

Following the physical band's final performance, Pophouse Entertainment Group will continue to champion the KISS legacy for fans old and new, and for all generations. The new KISS avatar shows will be the second immersive, avatar-powered music concert project that Pophouse Entertainment is involved in — following the success of the "ABBA Voyage" show in London, U.K., where Pophouse is the lead investor. Thierry Coup — former chief creative officer, SVP at Universal Destinations & Experiences — is announced as the creative director of the upcoming avatar show.

To coincide with the reveal of their digital transformation, KISS members Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons joined Per Sundin (Pophouse Entertainment CEO),Thierry Coup (creative director, JOCOUP Creative),and Grady Cofer (VFX supervisor, ILM) for a special discussion about the band's history and the inspiration behind the move into innovative avatar-powered performance. The video of the discussion (that includes a glimpse of the avatars, which featured at Madison Square Garden and in the future KISS avatar show) can be seen below.

In the discussion, Simmons comments that through partnering with ILM and Pophouse Entertainment: "We can be forever young and forever iconic by taking us to places we've never dreamed of before. The technology is going to make Paul jump higher than he's ever done before."

During the conversation, Stanley comments: "What we've accomplished has been amazing, but it's not enough. The band deserves to live on because the band is bigger than we are." He later adds: "It's exciting for us to go the next step and see KISS immortalized. I mean, we've spent 50 years building it to this point. And by working with ILM and working with Pophouse, we're all sharing this vision of taking KISS to a completely different level beyond being just a music band. And we've always thought of ourselves as more than just a music band."

Sundin comments: "Pophouse Entertainment Group is thrilled to embark on this transformative journey with KISS, and showcase to fans what is on the horizon as part of future avatar show. Our partnership will fuse the rich history and iconic status of KISS with cutting-edge technology, allowing fans — now and in the future — to experience the band like never before."

In addition to the avatar shows, KISS will continue through other ventures, including a KISS museum in Las Vegas, KISS cruises, an upcoming movie coming out and a cartoon show.

Simmons previously talked about KISS's future plans last month in an interview with 519 Magazine. At the time, he said: "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 added: "The KISS show will live on in different ways. Yes, that's being planned. It'll also be four to ten different traveling 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."

Pophouse was co-founded by ABBA's Björn Ulvaeus in 2014, initially as a way to create unique live events that encapsulate and promote the ABBA brand. Since then, it has expanded into other venue, event and media ventures.

The purpose-built venue and the technology that delivers the "ABBA Voyage" concerts in London reportedly cost around $175 million before the show opened in May 2022.

Within 15 months, the show had generated more than $150 million in sales and sold more than 1.5 million tickets, according to Bloomberg.

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