It never gets old. Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons are back in Fresno for a final Kiss sendoff

Paul Stanley, center, is framed by monitors projecting KISS bass player Gene Simmons during the KISS concert at the Save Mart Center on Dec. 20, 2003 in Fresno.
Paul Stanley, center, is framed by monitors projecting KISS bass player Gene Simmons during the KISS concert at the Save Mart Center on Dec. 20, 2003 in Fresno. Fresno Bee file

As far back as 1979, people were saying Kiss was getting old — if not in actual age, then in the power of their music, at least.

That year, the band stopped at Selland Arena on its Dynasty tour. It would be the last tour with the band’s original lineup — Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley — and the fifth time Kiss had played in Fresno.

The first time was at the Warnors Theatre in 1974. Kiss returned twice in 1975 and again in 1977. In all, Kiss has played Fresno nine times — at Warnors, Selland and Save Mart Center, where in 2003 they were second onlyto Andrea Boecheli for having the highest ticket prices.

As a bit of trivia: That was also the band’s final show with Criss on drums.

Kiss returns to the arena Friday for its End of the Road tour, 40 years after the release of “Dynasty,” an album that was decried at the time in a review in The Fresno Bee.

“Dynasty” spawned the pseudo-disco track “You Were Made for Loving Me,” and also had a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “2000 Man,” with the lyric: “My kids, they just don’t understand me at all.”

The Bee review wondered if this was Kiss forseeing its own fate.

“Is the band getting old?” it asked.

The answer of course, would be, who cares? Certainly not the fans showing up to see the band live. Even the reviewer noted that the Fresno concert would likely be “as bombastic and garish as ever and the kids probably will eat it up.”

FRESNO 8-1-00 ZN FNN KISS Nick Grim donned some makeup for the KISS concert in Fresno. Grim was one of the many people who showed up to watch the band’s farewell tour. Neighbors Newspapers Zia Nizami Fresno Bee Archive

The same could be said now, only those kids likely have kids of their own.

“You have a whole new generation of fans who want to see these guys who are larger than life and blowing stuff up and spitting blood and playing loud music,” says Jason Squires, the director of programming and marketing for New Rock 104. 1 FM, and a fairly hardcore Kiss fan.

Squires will be at the show with his 7-year-old son.

It’ll be his first concert, so his time seeing Kiss.

Squires, on the other hand, has seen the band 14 times. That includes attending a Kiss convention, but not seeing Ace Frehley and Peter Criss on the Bad Boys of Kiss tour.

“I’m a little bit of a fan,” Squires says. He first saw Kiss on the make-up less “Lick it Up” tour, which stopped in Fresno in 1984. He remembers his dad bought him a tour jacket and that Stanely used the F word and it was extremely loud.

Rock & Brews, a rock’n’roll-themed casual dining chain and the most recent business venture of Kiss frontmen Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, will open Monday in Vacaville, becoming the chain’s first Northern California location.

If he band is to be believed, this will be the last time Kiss will perform in Fresno. Stanley, Simmons and crew have said they will retire at the end of the tour’s three-year run.

So, it will likely be the last chance for fans to see Simmons and Stanley on stage playing as Kiss, Squires says, and it will be done right.

“You’re gonna get a show,” he says.

“They know their audience and they will cater to them well.”

But Squires doesn’t believe it will be the last we see of Kiss. He sees the band becoming a kind of touring review, with other musicians playing the parts of the Demon, Starchild, Spaceman and Catman.

“It will live on in some kind of way,” he says.


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Six other noteworthy events

  • Oscar-nominated shorts, screened by category, 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. Friday, 1, 4 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Tower Theatre, 815 E. Olive Ave. $8-$10, $15 double feature ticket, fresnofilmworks.org
  • Sounds of Mardi Gras, 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 9:30 a.m. Sunday. Double Tree by Hilton, 2233 Ventura St. $30-$125. 209-534-1924, www.fresnodixie.com
  • Valentine’s Super Love Jam, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Selland Arena, 700 M St. $31.50-$55.50, 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com
  • Peace, Love and Rock and Roll, 7 p.m. The Big Red Church, 2131 N. Van Ness. $15. fmaa.ticketleap.com
  • True Love Ways: the Music of Buddy Holly, 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Fulton 55, 875 Divisadero St. $10, 559-412-7400, www.fulton55.com
  • Bob Seger, 7:30 p.m. Feb. 12. Save Mart Center. $58-$125. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com