The last-minute cancellation of Kiss's Dubai concert has left many fans in the region upset and disappointed, especially in the face of no explanation or official statement.
On Wednesday, organisers announced the US rock band weren't coming, merely two days before their anticipated gig at Coca-Cola Arena. The show was meant to be a stop on their End of the Road world tour – their final tour. The Dubai leg was the only stop in the Middle East.
Ayrton Ferraz Stoman, 28, is from Johannesburg, South Africa, but lives in Dubai. He describes himself as an “avid member of the Kiss Army”. He splurged on a VIP pass that included a meet-and-greet, photos, autographs, soundcheck experience and limited-edition merchandise.
“My devotion to this band runs deep – during my time in art school, I emulated their iconic messy black hair look every day because they are, in every sense, my heroes,” he says. “As a token of my anticipation, I even splurged on a pair of big leather platform boots and silver chains for the show, aiming to channel their iconic style.”
However, their sudden cancellation ended Stoman’s opportunity to meet the band, who are due to finish the tour in New York’s Madison Square Garden in December.
“The situation is even more disheartening given the abrupt cancellation without any explanation from the band or the organisers,” he adds. “There was no apology, no reasoning offered, leaving me to speculate. I am overwhelmed with sadness and profound disappointment.”
He isn’t the only upset fan. Vinicius Nascimento, 29, even flew his mother in from Brazil for it. The Dubai resident has been a fan since he was 13. This week's show would've marked his 20th time seeing them live.
“Of course, I’m really upset, as it’s the first rock band I ever liked, still as a teenager,” he says. "I bought my ticket on the first day sales opened and was really looking forward to finally seeing my favourite band in the city where I live."
It was only when his mother landed the pair found out about the cancellation.
“Although I live here, I bought a ticket for my mom as well who is also a fan, and she came all the way from Brazil only for the concert, so that’s upsetting," he says. "I’ve also seen a lot of people who came to the concert from other countries, so the last-minute cancellation is the worst part.”
He adds: “And the band has not given any sort of explanation or apology, which is not cool at all, and I would say even disrespectful to the fans.”
Lissa flew in from Lebanon for the gig, but has been left “extremely disappointed”. She spent her savings and even arranged for her children to be with family to attend.
It wasn’t until after she arrived in Dubai to see them for the first time that Lissa, a fan since her teenage years, found out.
“I was beyond angry," she says. "They’re heartless for doing this very last minute.
“It’s ridiculous, it just shows they don’t care about us fans at all and they just lost us as a majority. They’re selfish for this, because let’s face it, it’s their last show and they won’t care much for it if they cancel a few.”
She says she’s also met fans who were going to attend the gig who feel the same way.
“I’ve engaged with people who flew to Dubai to find this out too late like my situation," she adds.
"We are not made of money and it would have saved us all if they said this weeks in advance. We are all extremely disappointed."
Although there's been no word on about a rescheduled Dubai gig, which appears unlikely for now, fans are still trying to make the best of it.
Nascimento took his mother to visit Coca-Cola Arena anyway.
"We went to the arena just to take photos as she wanted to have memories of the venue the concert was supposed to happen at," he says.
Stoman is resigned to the fact he will probably not see them before they retire.
"It is actually impossible for me to see them again," says Stoman. "After the Dubai date I think they close their show in America, which is the last of the tour. I can't just stop my life to fly to America."
Despite the disappointment, he still holds the group dearly in his heart.
"I hope they are well and healthy and that it wasn't cancelled because they were ill," he adds. "I would also express how much I love them, how much they mean to me. I would thank them for their years of dedication to their craft."
"They are such an iconic group and I think they would have loved to meet me too," he says jokingly. "In a way, they also missed out on an amazing show in Dubai. They would have loved it."
After Wednesday's announcement, Thomas Ovesen, chief executive of promoters All Things Live Middle East, shared his disappointment with fans.
“We were so excited to welcome Kiss to the Coca-Cola Arena on Friday,” he told The National. “We know they are a band that loves to play for their fans and would never not do a show if there was a possible way to perform.
"So we wish them very well and we are as disappointed as the entire Kiss Army and the rock 'n' roll fans in the region.”
Kiss have not commented since their social media accounts were updated.