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KISS Unveils the Next Era of Boomer Rock: Touring Digital Avatars

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Grandpa rockers KISS finally hung up the makeup brushes this weekend on the last night of their “The End of the Road” farewell tour. The band promises this marks the end of its 50-year live career, but Gene Simmons found a way to squeeze the last few dollars out of his geriatric fans. KISS is done touring, but you’ll still be able to see digital avatars of the band “perform” instead.

KISS left the stage during an encore at New York’s Madison Square Garden Saturday, but the show wasn’t over. According to the Associated Press, in place of the musicians, 8-foot-tall holograms of the band members flew out, floating above the audience and breathing fire as they treated the crowd to a robotic rendition of “God Gave Rock ‘n’ Roll To You II,” a musical crime from the 1991 album Revenge.

A 74-year-old Simmons told the audience that the technology will allow the band to stay “forever young and forever iconic,” according to the BBC. Singer Paul Stanley added that KISS will now be “immortalized,” a statement that can only be viewed as a threat.

The digital avatars were created in partnership with George Lucas’s special effects company Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and Pophouse Entertainment Group, which was co-founded by Abba’s Björn Ulvaeus. The tech had its dad-rock-debut in 2021 for the “Abba Voyage” show in London, where a digitally hallucinated 3D version of the Swedish band plays a pre-recorded concert.

Apparently, people are willing to pay real-life ticket prices to see these pretend shows. “Abba Voyage” reportedly rakes in over $2.5 million a week.

KISS is a particularly cynical music business enterprise. Among the band’s more ridiculous products, the band will charge you $3.99 for an empty bag of “air guitar strings.” There’s a limited edition KISS x Hello Kitty toilet paper, now out of production but available on eBay for as little as $34.99. You can even get buried in a $5,000 KISS coffin. It’s only natural that the band should find a way to profit off of live shows after time renders their physical forms too decrepit to wield a guitar.

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There’s no word on exactly what’s in store from KISS. Pophouse CEO Per Sundin told the BBC that the digital KISS could be harnessed for anything from concerts to a rock opera or a musical.

This is the future of many of the 20th century’s aging rock stars. There’s already precedent, with successful “tours” from dead musicians including Frank Zappa, Roy Orbison, and Whitney Houston. As the technology gets cheaper and easier to deploy, more holograms are on the way.

Source: Gizmodo

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