Kiss debuts ‘immortal’ digital avatars and plans to go ‘fully virtual’

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Kiss has been on a really, really long tour. The biggest glam rock band of all time has been playing its End of the Road tour for the last four years, and just wrapped the final show of its final farewell tour in New York City at Madison Square Garden on Friday. Kiss has done several farewell tours, but this time might be for good.

At the end of the show, after Kiss finished playing its last song (“Rock and Roll All Nite”), they disappeared in a hail of fire and smoke. After the smoke faded away, the lights went down, and on the screen behind the stage, a camera zoomed across a spooky lake on some fantastic planet toward the silhouettes of four figures: the new digital avatars of Kiss, in what I suppose must be their final form. Then Paul Stanley shouts:

“Kiss army, your love — your power — has made us immortal. The new Kiss era starts now. Oh yeah!”

Here’s one video of it.

Another one shows a much cooler aspect of this portion of the show: translucent screens with shots of the band projected onto them, lending the show a decidedly futuristic Blade Runner feel.

The avatars “performed” a song, then the video ended and left the audience with a picture of the four avatars under the stylized KISS logo, superimposed with the phrase “A NEW ERA BEGINS.”

The “new era,” of course, is one of making money from the avatars. The company behind the show, Pophouse Entertainment, has already been doing so with young, digital versions of ABBA in its ABBA Voyage show for over a year. Kiss, a band that has doggedly merchandised its image for half a century, seems like a good fit for such a partnership.

Pophouse said in a press release today that it will put on “immersive, avatar-powered” concerts using Kiss’ Industrial Light & Magic-created avatars.

Watching big acts like Kiss use digital recreations of themselves isn’t surprising — after all, these are people who have made a great deal of money off of an image they’ve created, so why not keep that money faucet open?

Do people really want to go see a “live” show with no live performers? Yeah, I think they absolutely do. Bloomberg reported that those ABBA avatar shows have been pulling in $2 million every week. And Variety wrote last week that the Eras Tour concert video had passed $250 million in worldwide box office sales. Kiss and its avatars could do just fine — for more about the band’s future, try out this 22-minute conversation about their transition to avatars.



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