What the world needs right now is one big Kiss.
This is the message behind the American rockers' blockbuster live-streamed New Year’s Eve concert, set to take place at Dubai's Atlantis, The Palm.
Speaking to The National, singer and guitarist Paul Stanley, 68, explains the Thursday, December 31 show aims to not only spread some much-needed cheer, but also provide a possible way forward for an uncertain live music industry.
With vaccines being steadily made available globally – this month Abu Dhabi made China's Sinopharm free to the public, while Dubai has begun rolling out the German-American Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines – Stanley says there is cause for cautious optimism within the entertainment sector.
“We know there are vaccines on the way but nobody should feel they now have the freedom to go about their business as though there isn't Covid-19 because it still exists. Until everybody is vaccinated, it's not a safe situation,” he says.
“The band is concerned about making sure we set a good example. We will make sure that we – and our crew of 500 people putting this show together – are safe and we will really end this year with a bang.”
Primed and prepared
True to his word, Kiss will roll into Dubai armed with $1 million worth of pyrotechnics in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the biggest pyrotechnics display in a show.
The unrelenting technical detail of a Kiss show will also apply when it comes to the band's performance on the night.
While the show is packed with vintage hits such as Rock and Roll All Nite, Detroit Rock City and Do You Love Me?, that doesn't mean the band will be in cruise control on stage.
The band have held rigorous rehearsals to be match fit for Dubai.
Underscoring that intensity is the fact that all practises took place with stringent safety measures.
“We would never ever go or play anywhere and do a concert of any size without being well prepared,” he says.
“We had ongoing Covid-19 tests and our rehearsal space is locked, sterilised and sanitised every day. Everybody is monitored constantly and will be until the time we arrive in Dubai. We basically want to celebrate without being a threat.”
This explains the limited live audience that will be on site and the adoption of a paid-for live-streaming model for the show. But while this is indeed safe and sensible, doesn't it pose a whole new set of obstacles?
And with Kiss pioneering the art of the concert spectacle throughout their near-five-decade career, will it be a challenge to transmit that same kinetic and communal spirit to the small screen?
Stanley doesn’t think so.
Strip away the cutting-edge visuals, levitating drum sets, explosions, face masks and platform boots, and you will see a traditional and emotive performance.
“I have always seen the camera and the microphone as a way to speak directly to people,” he says. “Whether you are in the last row of an arena or at home, I am talking directly to each and every one of you.”
A New Year’s Eve gig unlike any other
This is only the second time in 20 years that Kiss will ring in the New Year on stage. The Dubai celebration comes on the back of last year's end-of-year concert in Tokyo.
Considering the terrible turn that 2020 has taken since that gig, Stanley says performing a New Year's Eve concert is more important than ever.
“This can’t be just a paint by numbers or going through the motions performance. This is a time to celebrate for surviving,” he says.
"Hopefully we can dust ourselves off and move forward. This is a time for camaraderie, not feeling isolated."
And in trademark bravado, this final world tour is also a way for Kiss to throw down the gauntlet once again to other aspiring stadium acts.
Stanley isn’t too bothered by the notion that a future band or artist could one day eclipse their eye-popping stage show.
“When you see any band or any major act at this point, you're virtually seeing Kiss DNA. You're seeing a Kiss show because, really, everything that's done nowadays is based on things that we've done in the past,” he says.
"The current show we are on tour with is really state of the art. We wanted to make sure that we would be able to have a victory lap with the fans who made it possible for us to exist in the first place and to be going for as long as we have."
While this all sounds fine and finite, is this really the end of Kiss?
Don't forget, The End of the Road tour is their 11th since their 142-date The Kiss Farewell Tour, a 13-month run that began in March 2000, and during which they played to more than two million people.
Stanley is adamant that this is the final curtain and all coming shows will match the occasion.
“It is really the end of the road tour show but on steroids,” he says. “It is going to be absolutely massive.”
Kiss perform at Atlantis, The Palm, Dubai, on Thursday, December 31, at 9pm. Standard live-stream tickets are available for $39.99 from kiss2020goodbye.com. Physical tickets are available to hotel guests. Packages can be purchased from atlantis.com/kiss2020