Gene Simmons Gets Stranded In Mid Air During KISS Show
KISS is one of the most legendary rock bands of all time, and rightly so.
They took everything that made glam rock great during the 1970s and pushed it on to the next level, adding face paint to the outrageous costumes of the era and giving the genre a harder rock sound, winning themselves millions of fans all over the world in the process. Every time they play a concert they’re welcomed by the KISS Army, many of whom paint their faces to look more like their idols. A KISS concert is an excuse to dress up and have a good time – and who doesn’t want that after the year that we’ve all just been through?
If you’ve read the paragraph above and thought, “I’d love to do that,” you won’t have many more opportunities to do so. After decades in the spotlight touring the world, the members of KISS are preparing to say goodbye. We’ve been here before with KISS, who’ve retired from the stage more times than some top boxers say goodbye to the ring, but Gene Simmons has promised that the current KISS tour, entitled “End of the Road,” will be the last one that the veteran rockers ever do. Given that the most senior members of the band – Simmons included – are now in their early 70s, we’re more inclined to believe them this time than at any time in the past.
Under normal circumstances, the tour might have been over already. The original plans for the tour involved travelling the world throughout 2020 before finishing with a “super show” in mid-2021. The world had other ideas. Venues and arenas got locked down, everybody had to stay indoors, and KISS had to stay at home. Not wanting to disappoint their fans, KISS decided that postponing their retirement by one year wasn’t going to hurt anybody. They’re trying to fulfil every date they promised to do, and they’re already back on the road. Even now, though, they’re still encountering issues. A scary technical problem during a performance in Tampa, Florida, on the weekend of October 9th could have had disastrous consequences had Simmons not held his nerve and showed considerable bravery.
In true over-the-top KISS style, the performance was scheduled to begin with the band members being lowered to the stage from high above on individual platforms. Timothy Thayer and Paul Stanley made it to the ground without any problems. Simmons wasn’t so lucky. His platform got stuck and then began to look dangerously unbalanced, wobbling as the band launched into their first song. As the rest of the band played on, Simmons held on to a cable for dear life as the miniature stage tilted at an awkward angle. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the band’s pyrotechnics continued to explode all around him. Kerrang magazine described it as “a Spinal Tap moment” – a reference to the classic 1980s movie that parodies the excesses of the metal scene – and they weren’t wrong.
Simmons took to Twitter after the event to post photos of the incident and seemed to take it with good humour. He remarked that the band remains committed to giving fans the greatest performance on Earth, even if it’s not always safe to do so. He also pledged to continue taking risks in an effort to do things that nobody on stage has ever done before, referring to himself as “the big bad man” in the process. Based on that, we wouldn’t expect the descending platforms to be scrapped from the tour any time soon. We wouldn’t be surprised to hear that a technician or two were told that their services are no longer required, though.
This is actually the second misfortune to befall Simmons in the past two months. After having to skip most of 2020s planned tour dates because of the global pandemic, he was unlucky enough to fall ill with the virus himself in September 2021 within days of bandmate Stanley also returning a positive test. That resulted in a few gig cancellations – all of which are set to be tagged back onto the schedule at the end of the tour. If this trend continues, the tour might never finish at all. The postponements and re-arranged dates mean that the band’s heavy schedule will continue into 2022, with KISS scheduled to headline the 2022 Download Festival in Donnington Park, England, alongside Biffy Clyro and fellow rock and metal veterans Iron Maiden.
Performing at a festival as big as Download looks like the perfect opportunity to bring the curtain down on the tour for KISS, but apparently, that isn’t going to be the case. Paul Stanley spoke to the NME recently about plans for the rest of the tour, and he doesn’t think they’ll be done until the beginning of 2023. Even then, they plan to play one final gig in New York before calling it a day. By that point, Simmons will be approaching the age of 75. Stanley sympathises with him. He recalls humidity levels reached 100 per cent during a recent show in Austin, Texas, and that temperatures of that kind would be a struggle for any band regardless of their age. It’s worse for KISS, who often perform for more than two hours and wear costumes that weigh thirty pounds or more. It keeps them fit, but it isn’t easy!
In truth, KISS won’t be “gone” from the music scene even when they stop performing. They’ve perfected the art of merchandising and bring new products out all the time. Just last month, they released a brand new game for online slots websites – their second product of the kind. They’re by no means the first rock band to link up with an online slots development company and publish a game, but their popularity means they make more money from licensing such products than most. It’s reasonable to assume that people will still be playing KISS-themed online slots, buying KISS t-shirts, and perhaps playing KISS video games long after the band’s final concert has faded into the distance.
We suppose all of this shows that genuine rock stars never get old – they just become more iconic! If you want to see KISS one more time before they put away the face paint, you have just over a year to do so – barring accidents, of course.