KISS Goodbye: End of the Road Tour

By Alan Sculley / Special to The Morning Call

As KISS begins a farewell tour that figures to last for two years or more, lead singer and guitarist Paul Stanley knows what he’ll miss most about the band he co-founded with bassist/singer Gene Simmons in 1973 in New York City.

“There’s nothing really that can compete or come close to the combustive emotional nature of what we do on stage and the connection to the fans,” he said in a late-January phone interview. “That’s something that’s irreplaceable. That’s something that there’s nothing to compare it to.”

Stanley, Simmons and KISS will play Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 29.

But fans won’t have to worry that they’ll see a mopey or overly sentimental Stanley on stage as he grapples with the reality that this is the final KISS tour. In fact, Stanley, in typical fashion for a band that has never been short on bravado, said this last outing, billed as the End of the Road tour, will actually be a time for celebration.

“This is really a time of joy, and for us to be up there and celebrate what we’ve done together,” Stanley said, including fans as the key part of the experience. “It’s much better than finishing a tour, let’s say, and then a year later deciding you don’t want to go out and two years later you decide you don’t want to go out. In that sense, you’ve called it quits, but this is so much better for us and better for the fans to go out there with the highest of spirits and the greatest of shows.”

The show, indeed, will be bigger and bolder than any KISS has taken on the road, Stanley said. That’s no small endeavor for a group that revolutionized the rock concert in the ‘70s by not only donning their famous makeup – Stanley as the starchild, Simmons as the demon, original guitarist Ace Frehley as the space ace and original drummer Peter Criss as the catman – but with state-of-the-art lights, enough pyrotechnics to light up a Fourth of July, and even a few flashy stunts, such as Simmons breathing fire, all while decked out in elaborate costumes and high-heeled platform boots.

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