KISS Make Good As Rescheduled ‘End Of The Road’ Dates Kick Off In Milwaukee

Following a series of five American make-up dates, KISS finds themselves in an unusual position with only three more U.S. stops currently on the books.

On tour in Europe ahead of Kiss Kruise XI in October, familiar questions surround the band: what’s next and who will be a part of it?

Last month in Milwaukee, Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer put on a masterclass in live rock 101 as KISS tore through the hits on stage at American Family Insurance Amphitheater.

“Good people of beer city,” mused Stanley on opening night in Wisconsin. “That’s right, I know all about the beer that made Milwaukee famous!” said the singer, localizing the show on stage following rollicking takes on “Detroit Rock City” and “Shout it Out Loud” to get things started. “I know this is beer city but here’s an old school classic from KISS’ Alive!” he continued, putting forth an impressive a cappella intro on “Cold Gin.”

Released in 1975, the group’s fourth album was a breakthrough, cementing KISS’ reputation as a stellar live act, selling over nine million copies around the world.

“Milwaukee! You know what? We’ve been here 19 times! The first time was 1975. Some of you weren’t born yet!” said Stanley on stage. “Just in case you haven’t seen us in a while, we are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!” screeched the singer excitedly. “They had to listen to you.”

To date, KISS have sold more than 100 million albums, standing as one of the best selling rock acts ever, proof positive of one of the most unique band/fan bonds in music.

“Milwaukee! What’s in your heart?” asked Simmons, launching into “War Machine.” “Tommy!” he shouted, setting up a scorching Thayer solo. Stanley moved left, shimmying and swaying across the stage as KISS hit a groove.

Fog rolled through the pavilion seats of the outdoor amphitheater as temperatures along the shores of Lake Michigan began to drop. But fireworks, flames and pyro warmed things up throughout.

Simmons breathed fire following “I Love it Loud,” singing and playing from a riser high above the stage during “God of Thunder” later. Singer bashed away with reckless abandon during a drum solo out of “Psycho Circus.”

“We’re gonna have a little controlled chaos!” said Stanley, boarding a zip line as he soared over the crowd to perform “Love Gun” from an elevated stage at the back of the seated area, landing amidst explosions following “I Was Made For Lovin’ You” as he made his way back to the main stage for a show stealing, set closing take on “Black Diamond.”

While the setlist hasn’t changed since 2018, the KISS “End of the Road” tour remains one of the most entertaining in rock, an increasingly impressive display by Simmons, 72, and Stanley, 70, in particular, given the demanding nature of the group’s costumes and staging.

“Milwaukee!” screamed Singer, setting the stage for an all-hands sing-a-long as the group returned from encore for the rock balladry of “Beth.” “The Bucks won tonight!” he continued, noting the NBA playoffs.

“Milwaukee, you don’t want to go home yet do you?” asked Stanley rhetorically as KISS headed for the finish line with “Do You Love Me” and “Rock and Roll All Nite.”

The last several years of the concert industry have been dominated by high profile farewell tours. While the idea has become a bit of a punchline, some recent outings have taken on a rare sense of finality.

As fans batted KISS-branded beach balls during the show’s final moments in Milwaukee, it was hard not to ponder what exactly lies ahead as the KISS “End of the Road” tour moves on.

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