KISS Unveil Digital Avatars After "Final Show Ever"

One ticket to the Uncanny Valley please

Photo: Dana Zuk

BY Kaelen BellPublished Dec 4, 2023

This past Saturday at Madison Square Garden, KISS played (after their stop in Edmonton) what they're calling their "final show ever."

At that final show, they took the opportunity to introduce the digital avatars that will be replacing them. As the current, human lineup — Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer — went backstage for the (allegedly) final time, they were replaced by hologram versions of themselves. Weird! 

These cartoonish avatars — which move in rubbery, discomfiting ways — were created by George Lucas's special effects company Industrial Light & Magic and Pophouse Entertainment Group, the same companies that created ABBA's holograms.

"We're going to figure it out after the tour," Pophouse music executive Per Sundin told Fast Company in a statement. "Is it a KISS concert in the future? Is it a rock opera? Is it a musical? A story, an adventure? These four individuals already have superpowers. We want to be as open as possible."

"What we've accomplished has been amazing, but it's not enough," Paul Stanley says in a two-minute video that introduces the holograms. "The band deserves to live on because the band is bigger than we are. It's exciting for us to go the next step and see KISS immortalized."

Stanley also says that the members of KISS "don't own the band. The fans own the band, the world owns the band."

"We can be forever young and forever iconic by taking us to places we've never dreamed of before," Simmons says. "The technology is going to make Paul jump higher than he's ever done before … The future is so exciting. If you think you're going to get rid of us, I'm afraid that's not going to happen."

This whole enterprise feels like the result of an existential fear of death crashing into some huge egos and a serious hunger for money, but what do I know! See the video below.

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