Rock and roll royalty in their own right, Kiss brought their End of the Road tour to the UK for Download weekend for one final farewell. After two years plagued by cancellations though, the road to Download Festival 2022 hasn’t been an easy one!
Announced by the gods of thunder themselves back in 2018. Their last tour kicked off on January 31st at Rodgers Arena in Vancouver, Canada. With over a 121 dates planned for the US leg alone, the End of the Road tour promised to bring Kiss Army die-hards and casual fans alike together for one last chance to see their heroes. However, like so many other tours planned before the pandemic took hold, the majority of their scheduled dates in 2020 had to be cancelled, much to everyone’s dismay.
The band did their best to make up for this disappointment. Putting on one of, if not the most expensive live streamed concerts of all time on New Year’s Eve 2020 at the famous Atlantis The Palm hotel in Dubai. Breaking not just one, but two Guinness world records in the process. The first for highest pyro burst ever at a live concert for an impressive pillar of flame that measured in at 126 feet. The second for most simultaneous flame bursts, with Kiss having fired off no less than 73 different pyro units during the show’s incredible finale.
Despite the impressive display, no amount of 4k cameras and pyrotechnics can make up for seeing your favourite band in the flesh and once the pandemic began to lift, Kiss dutifully rescheduled their cancelled 2020 appearances. Including their final UK show which was confirmed for Download 2022, bringing the Detroit rockers back to the spiritual home of heavy metal one last time!
A fitting place to say goodbye to their UK fans after nearly five decades on the road together. Kiss have their own fair share of history at Donington Park, having headlined both Monsters of Rock and its modern day equivalent, Download no less than five times over their fifty year career. A feat few other bands can claim to match. With 1996’s and 2008’s performances both having been released as live albums that have become part of the band’s expansive and much loved catalogue since.
Stanley, Simmons, Singer and Thayer clearly wanted to go out in style too, adorning the Download Festival stage with 30 foot high statues of themselves on Friday night, turning it into a rock and roll Mount Rushmore of sorts. Showing that while they may be about to put away the face paint and spikes for good, they still haven’t lost their taste for the theatrical.
As enjoyable as it was, their last show at Donington was not without its flaws. There were definitely a few moments where their performance seemed somewhat robotic. Paul Stanley’s voice took a little longer than usual to warm up and shake off some of the gravel it’s gained from years of rock and rolling all night and partying every day as well. Once Kiss gets into gear however, it becomes increasingly difficult to deny that they still know how to put on one hell of a show.
With years of experience under their studded belts and a setlist full of feel good singalong moments, once they hit their stride there are few bands that can provide an audience with such an impressive spectacle. Kiss are still able to turn their detractors into fans with enviable ease even now and we can’t name many bands from their era that are still out there touring to anywhere near the same level. Especially considering every single one of them is approaching or comfortably past retirement age and they’re still playing two hour long sets surrounded by a myriad of explosive charges and wearing thirty plus pounds of leather and shoulder pads every night to boot!
When the mammoth End of the Road tour comes to a close sometime in 2023 after what will most likely be 200+ dates, it will undoubtedly mark the end of an era for rock and roll. While we’re pleased to say that they’re final UK appearance at Download 2022 definitely saw them leave on a high note, we can’t help but wonder if there will ever be another band ready to step into the platform sized shoes they’ll leave behind!
Check out more photos from Kiss’ headline set at Download Festival 2022 in our live gallery, captured by Jemma Dodd below…