Saturday night marked a historic occasion for the devoted members of the “Kiss Army” as the band delivered what they dubbed their “ultimate show” – concluding the extensive “End of the Road World Tour” with a monumental performance at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Reflecting on their roots, the band shared, “KISS came into being right here in New York City, on 23rd Street, a half-century ago.
It’s an immense honor for us to culminate our journey at Madison Square Garden, merely ten blocks away and 50 years distant from where it all began,” stated a press release.
Supporters from various corners of the country and beyond eagerly lined up outside the downtown location adorned in Kiss-themed gear and sporting face paint.
A proud Queens local, Louis Otero, recalled witnessing Kiss’ inaugural Madison Square Garden gig in 1977. After attending an impressive 152 Kiss concerts, he shared his sentiments about Saturday night’s show, expressing, “This truly marks the conclusion. No more tours. It’s truly saddening.”
Gary and Venus Milliken journeyed from Surry, Maine, to attend the show, adding another mark to their impressive tally of 45 Kiss concerts as a couple.
Gary described the allure of the band’s performance: “The pyrotechnics, the dazzling lights, everything they bring to the stage is captivating. It just leaves you wanting more and more.”
Intent on being part of what they believe to be Kiss’ final tour, Gary expressed their motivation: “We want to make history tonight, being here for their very last show.”
Despite previous “farewell” tours that left fans uncertain about the band’s retirement, attendees like Mike Mooney, a devoted fan since 1975, were convinced that this time it was for real. Driving from Nova Scotia, Mooney asserted, “Saturday’s show is the ultimate finale.”
Reflecting on Gene Simmons’ intentions, Mooney remarked, “Gene doesn’t envision himself performing while seated. They aim to conclude at the peak, and that’s precisely what they’re doing.”
The venue buzzed with tributes to Gene Simmons, with countless displays honoring the bass guitarist and vocalist, including Mooney’s elaborate costume featuring a wig, makeup, and a complete outfit.
Joey Spiotta proudly displayed a Simmons-autographed tattoo on his forearms, a testament to his enduring devotion. His journey with Kiss began at the age of 7, and except for one tour missed due to pneumonia, he’s been a part of every other performance.
“For me, being present for this ultimate show in New York holds immeasurable value,” he expressed.
Ahead of the grand return to New York, the band visited the Empire State Building, marking the occasion as “KISS Day.” The band’s vibrant colors illuminated the iconic building and offered exclusive merchandise and memorabilia across Manhattan.
Dedicated Kiss enthusiasts, spanning generations have passed on their adoration for the band. Ralph and Chloe Strom, a father-daughter duo, journeyed from Springfield, Massachusetts, to share the concert experience. Chloe, expressing her divergence from her friends’ music tastes, admired the band’s expressive nature.
From Brooklyn, the Wexlers, parents Ezra and Gabriel, brought their children to expose them to the essence of Kiss, given their musical background rooted in rock’ n’ roll.
While speculation lingers about the band’s potential future performances in “some capacity” post the final tour, the turnout for what could be Kiss’ ultimate show signifies the enduring vitality of rock’ n’ roll.