Aging rockers Kiss to let digital avatars tour instead


Kiss during an earlier concert in Finland. Fileri/Creative Commons

Performing their final in-person concert on Saturday night at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, Kiss used the encore to unveil digital avatars of themselves that will allow the legendary glam-rock band to stay on the road.

The avatars nailed God Gave Rock and Roll to You, opening up the possibility of future generations of Kiss fans being able to enjoy the American rockers’ music in concert arenas.

Kiss bandmates Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer, and Eric Singer have a combined age of 273 — with bassist Simmons the oldest at 74 — so letting avatars take the reins seems like a smart move.

The feat has been made possible through a partnership with George Lucas’s special-effects company, Industrial Light & Magic, and Pophouse Entertainment Group, co-founded by ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus.

The two companies worked together to create the ABBA Voyage show, an ongoing residency in London featuring holograms of the iconic Swedish pop foursome knocking out their classic hits from the 70s.

In comments reported by the Associated Press, Pophouse CEO Per Sundin said the technology means that Kiss “could have a concert in three cities in the same night across three different continents. That’s what you could do with this.”

Kiss frontman Paul Stanley was equally upbeat about the avatar replacements, saying: “What we’ve accomplished has been amazing, but it’s not enough. The band deserves to live on because the band is bigger than we are. It’s exciting for us to go the next step and see Kiss immortalized.”

Simmons added: “We can be forever young and forever iconic by taking us to places we’ve never dreamed of before.”

While some music fans love the way the technology has the potential to let them enjoy bands or singers in a concert-like atmosphere, others find that it falls disappointingly short of the original experience, and in the case of deceased artists can feel just downright creepy.