Farewell, KISS


More than 40 years ago, I went to my first KISS concert. Nearly 18 years ago, I went to my first KISS farewell tour concert. Tonight, I’ll go to my last KISS concert.

They’re currently on their last-time-and-this-time-we-mean-it tour, and they return to Pittsburgh for the last show that they’ll ever play there or, at a minimum, the last KISS show I’ll ever attend there, or anywhere.

I’ve had chances to go in recent years, during periodic small-arena tours that came within a couple of hours of my West Virginia bunker, but I’ve seen enough of their recent YouTube clips to realize it’s a far cry from the late ’70s (when I saw them twice) and fundamentally different from the late ’90s (four times).

At the 2001 show, I spent plenty of time wondering what I was doing there. A generation later, it’s amazing that they can still move on those platform shoes, even if they’re not quite as limber as they were when I saw them on TV for the first time, on Paul Lynde’s Halloween special in 1976.

Now, Paul Stanley’s voice is shot (some think he’s lip-synching), and half of the original members are gone. The only thing that hasn’t changed in four-plus decades is that Gene Simmons still has the aura of an unrepentant butthole.

Still, I’m going. One last time. And for one very important reason: Something Paul Stanley said years ago eventually provided the closest thing to a mission statement that I’ve ever had for this web address.

In explaining why they opted for over-the-top, pyro-and-grease-paint theatrical performances, Stanley said that KISS crafted the experience that they would have paid to attend. That always stuck with me, and when it was time to figure out what to do and how to do it in this space that debuted six months after the last time I went to a KISS farewell show, I remembered and applied that message.

For the past 18 years, I’ve followed that approach, giving the audience what that I would want if I were on the other side of the screen. It has worked (so far), and that very simple yet extremely brilliant approach applies in plenty of contexts. When providing an experience to a customer, provide the experience that you would want if you were the customer.

So, thanks, KISS, for inadvertently planting the seed that eventually changed my life. Ultimately, that’s the reason why I’m driving to Pittsburgh tonight to see something that will look, feel, and sound much different than it did on a Friday the 13th more than 41 years ago.

But they’re still giving fans the experience they would pay to see, and tens of thousands are doing just that for a four-man band whose two remaining founding members are now pushing 70.

87 responses to “Farewell, KISS

  1. Florio just provided one of the world’s simplest but best secrets to success in business. I’d expand on Mike’s point a little bit by adding in the Golden Rule:

    So, for success in life… Treat others as you’d like to be treated while providing a service or entertainment or whatever that you yourself would pay to use and you’ll find happiness and a honest way to earn a living, and maybe even a great living!

  2. I never was much off a KISS fan.

    Howveer, I can understand your love and passion for a band.

    But more importantly, I appreciate how’s you incorporate their lesson to you in what you bring here on PFT, Mike.

    That approach you take seriously is probably why I keep coming back here over other sites.

    Enjoy the concert, Mike.

  3. I also saw KISS 40 years ago and again last month. The show is pretty much the same. I guess when you find a successful venture you stick with it. KISS may never have been the greatest musicians in the land but attending one of their live shows is a modern cultural event. Enjoy.

  4. Terrible band and as you said Gene Simmons is a total jerk. I personally refuse to financially support someone if I find them to be a repugnant person but I guess everyone’s different

  5. Go recapture that youth, Florio.

    I can picture you singing along with “They call me Dr Love”, fists in the air and wearing a buttoned down polo shirt with a couple chest hairs peeking out. I was more of a ‘I Love It Loud’ fan when it comes to their stuff, not much else. Definitely not one of my favorite bands in my youth. I did go see them one time. Wondering if Paul Stanley will still be mac’n on 4-5 girls off to the side stage when they are doing their solo’s?

  6. Was at the Phila show last night !! Was an amazing show, you won’t be disappointed !!! Gene Simmons stole the show !! Enjoy brother !!!!! 😝😝😝

  7. My god, do they blow. Have they learned how to write a song or play their instruments yet? lmao

    One of the all time great music scam artists. Just horrendous, it’s no wonder why they needed make up, costumes, pyrotechnics and platform boots.

  8. KISS is not musically talented. They only make loud noises and wrap it as a song with uninspiring lyrics. I’m sure the concerts are good in terms of a theatrical performance. They were a good introduction before finding better music. They knew how to merchandize themselves with things like a pinball machine and a pathetic prime time movie.

  9. I thought I was at their “last” concert 18 years ago, saved my ticket and everything. Thanks Gene!

  10. Production-wise, the KISS show is bigger now than ever! From the 6th row you should be blown away from the opening. Descending on platforms like the Paul Lynde special but on a hyper-mega scale.

  11. Saw this tour in Dallas about a month ago.

    I was never a big fan, but have seen them a few times when the opportunity presented itself.

    Personally, I had a great time.

  12. I saw Neil Young for the first time in 1973, and a couple more times leading up to his 1978 Rust Never Sleeps Tour in 1978, which was Neil at his best. I have had opportunities to see him again, but would rather remember him when he was rocking in the free world. Same with the Stones, Springsteen and the Who. The only band that seems better with age is Firefall. Would see them again in a heartbeat. Have fun!

  13. Kiss is my favorite band of all time! Saw them many times growing up in Detroit. My last show in Charlotte is set for August. They have been around my whole life, will miss them when they are done touring, but they will always be around.

  14. tylawspick6 says:
    March 30, 2019 at 1:15 pm
    My god, do they blow. Have they learned how to write a song or play their instruments yet? lmao

    One of the all time great music scam artists. Just horrendous, it’s no wonder why they needed make up, costumes, pyrotechnics and platform boots


    bet you are lot of fun at party’s

  15. ‘The only thing that hasn’t changed in four-plus decades is that Gene Simmons still has the aura of an unrepentant butthole.”

    you’re alright, florio.

  16. I saw them when I was 14, and again a few months ago. Both times it was an incredible performance. People may not like the music, but you can’t deny they can put on a show.

  17. It is quite amazing how they have been able to remain relevant this the late 1970s. I rememr rocking to “Rock and Roll All Night and Party Everyday” at a pizza joint on aSaturday night after a HS football game. That was when it was still cool to do a “Dine and Dash” . We drank Genesee Cream Ale and Boones Farm Apple Wine( 1977) Damn, those guys have to be 70! Amazing band and good ole days.

  18. If they end with “God Gave Rock And Roll To You,” that would just be the most perfect thing that ever happened.

  19. Production-wise, the KISS show is bigger now than ever! You should be blown away from the 6th row. Descending on platforms like the Paul Lynde special, but on hyper-mega-steroids. I remember that Halloween special too, I used to scour the TV Guide for any appearance of Kiss. 1977, 1996, 2016, show gets bigger every time. ENJOY!

  20. I went with a friend who was dying to hate… he loved the show.

    Florio, the thing is – even now, there is not another thing out there like this.

  21. I’m going in a couple of weeks in Tampa. Saw the reunion show in the mid 90s and once with Bruce and Eric Carr (Rest in PEACE ) SO I have been fortunate enough to have seen them at their best. Now on the 11TH, I CAN SAY THANKS and see the last show. I was born in 72 so I was too young to go back then, but they have alway been my favorite band.

  22. It never fails to amaze me how many idiots fall for that “this is are last concert ever” BS and go to every one for 20-30yrs! Michael Stanley is the same way, he’s been having his “last concert ever” for over 30yr now and people just keep falling for it!

    “Last concert ever” is slang for the ticket prices will be $20-40 more than usual!

  23. Saw Kiss and Aerosmith at MSG once and Kiss blew the doors off. ONly time I saw them live and I was impressed. Aerosmith was boring by comparison.

  24. KISS’s main claim to fame was that Rush opened for them a lot early in their existence. But Rush was immensely more musically talented and actually composed of 3 very llikable gus. Simmons is about as likable as Roger Goodell.

  25. I saw KISS in concert in 1979 at the MECCA Arena in Milwaukee on their DYNASTY Tour. THE greatest concert I have ever seen to date and my first, I was 11 years old. Thanks for the memories Gene, Ace, Paul & Peter!!

  26. Could not really get into them with Tommy and Eric and the whole wearing Ace and Peter’s make up. Although Singer is probably the most musically gifted but I did like the original band. I love their first fews albums in the 70s. Enjoy the show, Paul is one of the best frontmen for live shows. Honey that aint no pistol, thats my love gun!!!

  27. I saw KISS back in ’88 in SLC, they had Anthrax as the lead band. They really brought it. Love Eric Carr’s (RIP) drum solo. Personally I can’t believe how much time has past.

  28. The Beatles were a grand total of about 28 minutes of flash bulbs going off and girls screaming uncontrollably – you could barely even hear their songs. When you walked out it was like walking on a sea of crushed glass from all those camera flash bulbs. Now THAT was a concert!

  29. I like lawyer Florio (Flawyerio) but I LOVE sentimental Florio and I can appreciate you using this venue to express yourself. I have become a daily reader because of the attitude and editorializing and things like this make me happy. And yes, having had the dubious pleasure of being around Gene Simmons a number of times in work situations, I can attest to the “unrepentant buttholeness” to which you refer.

  30. sortssux says:
    March 30, 2019 at 1:57 pm
    tylawspick6 says:
    March 30, 2019 at 1:15 pm
    My god, do they blow. Have they learned how to write a song or play their instruments yet? lmao

    One of the all time great music scam artists. Just horrendous, it’s no wonder why they needed make up, costumes, pyrotechnics and platform boots


    bet you are lot of fun at party’s

    both of your comments couldn’t be more apropos.

    “There was blow everywhere. It was like some sort of condiment that had to be brushed away by the waitstaff before the next party was seated. Cocaine dusted everything. It was on fingertips, tabletops, upper lips, and the floor.”

    From the book Cocaine Disco to Electronic Dance: the Loaded Legacy of Casablanca Records, Kiss’s record label.

  31. Good for you Mike. Not a KISS fan, but loved the Who and the Stones and have been able to go to both with my son. The Who is not the same with just Townsend and Daltrey but they’re still a good act, but the Stones have that magic, that special ingredient that keeps you coming back. Just amazed the way Mick can bounce around at his age, plus they’re all still alive and kicking. Music brings you to a place full of joy, escape, memories that are very special.

  32. OK, KISS pretty much defined pyrotechnics at their concerts, but to me they’re an over-hyped band that was a commercialized concept to introduce preteens into something harder than pop.

    The period that KISS took flight was full of rich and creative music, when rock bands wanted to distance themselves from the boring rock-jazz fusion, and worse, disco. I don’t consider them part of that creative movement though.

  33. Cartoon musicians playing cartoon music. The exact same stuff that Gene and Paul couldn’t sell when they were Wicked Lester. To quote Gene; “It doesn’t matter how good you play. It matters how good you look playing.” All sizzle, but no steak.

  34. Kiss changed the game as far as live music and merchandising, but Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, in their heyday, were the best live act that ever was. Without endorsements. Without exception. If you missed it, you haven’t lived.

  35. The thing is you can’t top a memory.. Just like the night in Omaha Nebraska I saw Elvis live. It wasn’t the bloated zomby of 1977 when he was there, it was a couple years earlier when he still looked good and sounded good. Man could that guy whip up an audience into a frenzy!
    I was surprised at how many young AND older people were there. I remembered thinking WOW! that’s my kind of job!

  36. I found this site not too long after you started it. Well, maybe a few years, in 2004. As much as pro player and political slants can annoy, what I WANT…football information…has been exemplary, informative and detailed. I’ve always come here for football news before anywhere else.

    Thank you.

  37. Saw KISS in 74 or 75 at the soon to be demolished Brown County Arena in Green Bay.

    Still have the original 33 1/3’s. Put ’em on the turntable a couple of years ago – my wife yelled at me because pictures were falling off the wall 3 floors up.

    Saw the Eagles at Fiserv Forum a few months ago… Yeah… I’d choose Eagles again.

  38. “ackattack22 says:
    March 30, 2019 at 1:06 pm
    This is probably the same way Chris Simms feels about the Backstreet Boys.”


    I’ve read a lot of Internet comments this weekend and this is the best one

  39. KISS was my gateway band to hard rock and heavy metal when I was a kid in the 70’s. They were my favorite band until I started listening to more talented bands like Sabbath, Priest and Maiden. In the early 80’s KISS was a joke to me however when they took off the makeup and costumes I decided to give them a listen again. Musically they had grown up a bit with Lick it Up and the Animalize albums. I credit that to Vinny Vincent, Mark St John and Eric Carr. The non makeup era did reinvent them and the timing was right because of the whole glam metal thing going on at that time. I saw them in 85 and also in 96 on their reunion tour with makeup and the original members. I’ll always appreciate KISS however not in the same league as groups like Judas Priest, any band with Ronnie James Dio and Maiden.

  40. Thanks for sharing Florio, i would’ve had no idea otherwise, and find it perfectly ok to post about it in PFT, even if u didn’t point out the relevance you’ve earned the right to sprinkle in posts on whatever the heck you like at this point!

  41. Liberalsruineverything says:
    March 30, 2019 at 1:22 pm
    I’ve seen three times. Late 80s, mid 90s and that 2001 tour with Ace Frehley and Peter Chris back for that stint. They always put on a great show and worth the rice of admission.

    And I would have thought you were much, much younger with your constant juvenile trolling of Green Bay Packer articles.

  42. Kiss 24/7/365 Halloween!! Weren’t they on Scooby Doo? I recall God of Thunder being pretty cool!!!

  43. The Rolling Stones were on their ” Final Tour” in 1975. They were scheduled to play the Aud in Buffalo in June . I didn’t get a ticket, no one was selling tickets and this was it. FINAL. Until they came back 2 months later in August with a late add and played Rich Stadium. Mick could still sing and dance and Keith Richards looked a lot less corpse like. $ 10.00

  44. High respect to you,Mike Florio, for being honest and telling your story.
    I heard you on WSCR in Chicago explaining this, and my first, unguarded thought was, even though I am personally not a Kiss fan, rock music is about emotion and connection.
    As Duke Ellington perfectly stated for all the ages, ” if it sounds good it is good” .
    It moved you to where you are now.
    And that’s great.
    I was on a flight from New Orleans to Chicago with the entire Kiss team, they are excellent people..

  45. Rick Boyett says:
    March 30, 2019 at 9:39 pm
    Not many bands that had their own comic book series.
    KISS Army 4ever!


    True about the comic books, however good musicians are more concerned with producing good music.

  46. Kiss is the band that started my journey into rock n roll. Saw the destroyer album cover and had to have it. As a kid everything I owned was either licensed by kiss or adorned in kiss stickers. Saw them only once at the arena across from Lambeau in the late 80’s when they professed to be the loudest band in the world. Great show. Think they had Tesla opening for them at the time and I became a huge Tesla fan that night too. Fun to think about all that now 30 years later.

  47. Mike, nice tribute to KISS and a trip down memory lane for you. I have been with you since the beginning. Long before you killed off Terry Bradshaw and before you got your first “big” sponsorship from Sprint. You were so excited about the Sprint deal, justifiably so. It used to be fun to trade a few emails with you, especially when you weren’t so serious all the time. LOL Your passion for pro football has really come through these last 18 years. Well done.

  48. mediasloppy says:
    March 31, 2019 at 12:39 pm
    I saw KISS on The Price is Right where everyone in the audience was a mega-fan. They know how to promote themselves for sure.


    If only they knew how to play.

  49. Huge KISS fan since I was 6 or 7. I saw them live a couple of years ago and it was a great show but to me it just isn’t KISS without ACE. To me he was the star of the band.

  50. I remember hearing KISS saying they were the loudest band in the world but a couple of years ago Def Leppard opened up for them and were noticeably louder.

  51. 40 years ago for me too.
    The Love Gun Tour.

    Eventually I got my head together and followed the Grateful Dead

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