6 Ways Kiss Can Make Their Farewell Tour Incredible - Rolling Stone
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6 Ways Kiss Can Make Their Farewell Tour Incredible for Fans

Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons need to get creative with their set list, welcome Ace Frehley back into the fold and find a role for the Ankh Warrior, Vinnie Vincent

Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Paul Stanley perform as KISS.Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Paul Stanley perform as KISS.

We run down various ways that Kiss can make their farewell tour truly special.

Glenn Koenig/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Kiss’ End of the Road tour might be three months away, but that hasn’t stopped them from telling the public what they can expect from the show. In a series of interviews, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley have promised an expanded set list and a completely reimagined stage set. “We virtually have thrown out everything that has been on stage for the past 10 years, at least, and created a whole new stage and a whole new show,” Paul Stanley said. “We’re not crawling to the finish line; we’re celebrating.”

But there are still a ton of lingering questions. Here are six things we hope they’ll consider to make the show truly special for their longtime fans.

Create a Rotating Set List
Like many arena-rock bands of their era, Kiss have always liked to create a singular set list and stick to it throughout an entire tour. When you’re dealing with pyro, harnesses and other technical feats, it’s a lot easier when things stay the exact same from night to night. That said, many fans probably want to see more than one concert and it would be great if there was at least some variation built into the show. It would be unprecedented, but a farewell tour is the perfect time to throw out the old rulebook.

Play the Albums
Kiss have done nearly every type of tour imaginable besides one where they play their classic albums. Why not stage a series of special gigs where they play Alive!, Destroyer and Love Gun straight through? Paul Stanley has said they plan on performing longer shows than they have in recent years, so that would still leave them plenty of time to play the hits that weren’t on any given album.

Bring Back Ace Frehley
Nothing the group could do would please the hardcore fans more than bringing back original guitarist Ace Frehley. This seemed like an impossible proposition just a few years ago, but he just finished an overseas tour with Gene Simmons where they shared the stage every single night and seemed like old chums. Ace is more than capable of stepping back into his old makeup and playing his parts. “The only way I would seriously consider it is if I took back my makeup and costume and my character — which I designed,” he recently told Vintage Rock. “Tommy Thayer is not a bad guitar player, but he basically just mimics everything I wrote, and tries to imitate my persona.” That leads us to our next proposal.

Ditch Tommy Thayer
We don’t mean any disrespect to Tommy Thayer, who is indeed an excellent guitarist. He’s been a loyal member of Kiss for many years now, so ditching him might seem cruel and Gene and Paul would understandably be very unwilling to even consider it. That said, how else could Ace possibly come back? He’ll sit backstage while some other guys wears his signature makeup and plays a set that’s nothing but songs from his era? They’ll be playing “Love Gun” and he’ll be in his dressing room playing backgammon? He’s supposed to just come out for the encores? If he’s out of makeup, he’d be next to his own impersonator. If he’s in the makeup, there will be two Spacemen. It would be insane. Sadly, the only way this works is if Thayer leaves. That’s always the risk you take when you replace an iconic member of a band. The original might return and you’ll be out of a job.

Give Peter Criss a Very Prominent Role
As Ace Frehley has said, age age 72 it would probably be very hard for Criss to play drums two hours a night for months on end. That doesn’t mean he can’t be on the tour. Much like Alan White on the last Yes tour, he can come out for the encores every night and drum on a few songs. He can also sing “Beth.” Every show should end with the original quartet onstage. There are obviously countless ego, legal and financial issues to wade through, but they should find a way to do it for the fans. We’re just talking about old friends playing a bunch of old songs that people love. It shouldn’t have to be so complicated.

Find Room for Bruce Kulick and Vinnie Vincent
The show will obviously focus heavily on the band’s 1970s heyday, but there should be some space to honor the music they made in the 1980s and early 1990s. The fans love Bruce Kulick and Vinnie Vincent, and it would be great to see them back onstage in any capacity. Vinnie’s decision to try and trademark the name “Vinnie Vincent’s Kiss” is not going to endear him to Kiss or their lawyers, but if he moves away from that ill-conceived idea maybe they could welcome him back. Just imagine if the Ankh Warrior played a couple of songs with Kiss in full makeup? The Kiss Army would go absolutely insane.

(Note: We realize that most of these scenarios are extreme long-shots, to put it mildly. We’ll settle for seeing Ace back onstage with the band for at least a single song at one show. Let’s start with that.)


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