Does a Las Vegas Residency Make Sense for a Retired KISS?

KISS is set to wrap up their End Of The Road Tour with two final shows in their hometown of New York City at Madison Square Garden on December 1 and 2. Though the tour marks the end of the band’s touring days, fans have been hoping that KISS would take over the newly opened MSG Sphere in Las Vegas, Nevada following U2’s inaugural run of shows in 2024.

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A residency could serve as another avenue for the band to continue performing without the rigors of a tour. Performing in Vegas, in particular, would also fit into KISS’ extensive franchise, which will continue long after their final show in 2023.

The band already has several ties to Las Vegas including their KISS World Mini Golf, located at the Rio Hotel & Casino. The 13,000 square-foot KISS-themed space features a glow-in-the-dark,18-hole miniature golf course. The state-of-the-art space features video, arcade games, KISS props, an event room, and a wedding chapel with themed wedding packages. Visitors can also enjoy the KISS gift shop and live DJ spinning KISS tracks, contests, and trivia.

Gene Simmons recently extended the band’s Vegas golf venue to 15,000 square feet with the addition of an adjacent KISS museum, featuring items from his personal collection. With the band’s Vegas connection in mind, the idea of a future residency isn’t so far-fetched for a band that has engrained a large portion of its franchise in Sin City.

A Vegas residency is something the band has already checked off their bucket list in 2014 when they played a series of shows at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. The run of nine shows was later released on DVD and Blu-ray as Kiss Rocks Vegas in 2016. The band also had a 12-show residency at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, which was scheduled to run from December 2021 through February 2022 but was later canceled.

Long after their final show ends, KISS will live on, according to Simmons. Along with the KISS golf and museum in Vegas, there’s also a KISS cartoon and film in the works, and the KISS Kruise, in addition to the band’s extensive licensing program that will ensure that the band’s legacy lives on long after they leave the stage.

Keeping in mind that KISS started the End of the Road Tour in 2019 before the pandemic shut down and that 100 more dates were added to their final outing, it seems unlikely Stanley, Simmons, guitarist Tommy Thayer, and drummer Eric Singer will continue with a travel-heavy tour ever again.

As for a residency worth of shows directly after Simmons’ final blood spurt in New York City, Paul Stanley, 71, and Simmons, 74, haven’t officially ruled out one-off or residency-run shows, but they are adamant that this is the end of the band’s touring days.

“I still have hair on my head—lots more on my back,” Simmons joked with American Songwriter in early 2023. “They call me Chewbacca. KISS will continue. The culture will still continue. We’re just getting off the stage while the getting is good, and while we’re still convincing doing it. We’re the hardest-working band on the stage.”

[RELATED: KISS’ Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons Talk Songwriting with American Songwriter]

Simmons added, “It would be great if we were U2 or the [Rolling] Stones—two of my favorite bands—because to prepare for a show you put on your favorite sneakers and your T-shirt and you’re set. You don’t have to break out the platform heels.”

Stanley told American Songwriter that the end of KISS as a live band is inevitable. For him and Simmons, KISS has been a huge part of nearly three-quarters of their lives. “There are two things that are inevitable: death and taxes,” said Stanley. “And it’s inevitable the demise of us playing as a live band. Do I want to see that day? No. But it’s necessary. Before we have no choice, I’d like to end it.”

KISS’ final show in New York City will also be an emotional one for Stanley. “When I think about the end of it, it doesn’t make me happy,” he said. “I’ll be ecstatic looking at what we’ve accomplished and what we’ve done, but it’s the end of an era. It’s also the end of a huge part of my life.”

Read our cover story interview with Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons in the American Songwriter 2023 Legends issue HERE.

Photo: Jen Rothenstein / Courtesy of Full Coverage Media

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