4 of the Best KISS Performances of All Time

Across their 50-year career, heavy metal band KISS has performed countless times. And almost every one of those performances has been nothing short of memorable. Still, there are a few of the best KISS performances that made history with fans. Let’s take a look at just four of the best (or most significant) KISS performances of all time!

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Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive in the least, and it also isn’t ranked. These are simply four performances that are worth revisiting for any new or old KISS fan!

1. Detroit, MI (May 16, 1975)

This early-career performance is worth mentioning. At the time, the band’s first batch of albums was selling a bit slowly, and few singles made it to the Top 100. That being said, the band was already establishing its reputation in the world of live music. Their insane stage image and wild live performances started to gain attention outside of heavy metal. Members of KISS even started to make appearances on the news.

Their four-night mini-residency at Cobo Arena in Detroit changed things around. The wild live performance was used for their live album Alive!, which went on to achieve Top 10 charting success.

2. Tokyo, Japan (April 2, 1977)

KISS eventually gained international acclaim, and their very first performance in Japan was at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan. The band was not ready for what was waiting for them. Fans in Tokyo were absolutely wild, proving that their unique brand of heavy metal transcended language and culture.

They performed to 22,000 fans total during their two-show set at Budokan on April 2, 1977. It was filmed live by NHK, Eddie Kramer filmed it for a Japanese live album that never happened, and the whole thing proved that KISSmania had gone global.

3. London, UK (August 16, 1988)

KISS continued to do well through the 1980s and planned a huge world tour in 1987 and 1988. They were going to play a massive fest called Monsters Of Rock at Castle Donington with the likes of Iron Maiden and Guns N’ Roses.

However, the really memorable show happened at the Marquee Club in London before they were slated to play the fest. The Marquee was only able to fit 500 people, so it was moved to Charing Cross Road. Fans who made it have since said it was one of the most incredible shows of their career, mainly because it was such a big secret.

4. Dubai, UAE (December 31, 2020)

This concert at The Royal Beach at Atlantis The Palm in Dubai was a big deal. It was one of their final shows before the band called it quits for good in 2023.

The pandemic put a damper on the massive four-year tour, but the band was able to rearrange some things to close out their careers properly. And this NYE 2020 concert was something special. The pay-per-view set featured insane pyrotechnics and even broke a few Guinness World Records for the most flame projections and highest flame projections at a musical concert.

Photo by Michael Ochs Archives

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