In a new interview with Vinyl Writer Music, Tommy Thayer reflected on KISS‘s New Year’s Eve performance in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
“I didn’t know what to expect; none of us had ever been to Dubai or that part of the world,” he said. “As it turned out, it was an amazing place — friendly people, very high-end, clean, beautiful resorts and beaches. The architecture and design of the city was over-the-top. I’d like to go back there for a vacation sometime.
“The lead-up, including L.A. rehearsals, the traveling and then being in Dubai for several days before the show, was tedious because of the COVID protocols. We were tested every other day under strict quarantine for the entire month of December. In Dubai, our crew and all the local crews were tested every day.
“Seeing photos of the stage, it’s hard to get a sense of the scale and enormity of the production. It was by far the biggest KISS stage ever. It was also strange to spend that much time preparing for one show, all the startup, weeks of rehearsals, then doing it, and suddenly it’s over.”
As previously reported, KISS‘s Dubai concert broke Guinness world records for highest flame projection in a music concert and for most flame projections launched simultaneously in a music concert.
Landmarks Live Presents produced the $10 million spectacular, which was filmed with more than 50 4K cameras and 360-degree views and was held on a massive 250-foot stage at The Royal Beach at Atlantis. The show included “a million dollars’ worth of pyro,” according to frontman Paul Stanley.
KISS partnered with event company Tixr to beam the “Kiss 2020 Goodbye” show around the world.
Last month, Stanley told “The Rock Experience With Mike Brunn”, that KISS‘s performance in Dubai “was a good evening, a good night,” especially considering the band “hadn’t played in a year.” He said: “I thought considering the circumstances not having an audience — playing to a hotel, more or less… The fireworks were absolutely staggering.”
KISS reportedly cleaned up its act for to the Dubai concert, apparently out of respect for local customs and beliefs. Gene Simmons‘s blood-spitting stunt was missing during his bass solo, and the words “bitch” and “virgin soul” were removed from the lyrics of “100,000 Years” and “God of Thunder”, respectively, the latter replaced by “sacred soul.” Other songs reportedly had minor lyrical changes as well.
KISS launched its farewell trek in January 2019 but was forced to put it on hold last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“End Of The Road” was originally scheduled to conclude on July 17, 2021 in New York City but is now expected to last well into 2022.
KISS‘s current lineup consists of original members Stanley and Simmons, alongside later band additions, guitarist Tommy Thayer (since 2002) and drummer Eric Singer (on and off since 1991).