Claiming that “the band deserves to live on,” Paul Stanley and his fellow bandmates assured KISS fans of just that when the hard rock Kabuki foursome played their ‘final’ show at Madison Square Garden a scant four days ago.
Following the band’s ‘final’ encore of “Rock and Roll All Nite,” Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Tommy Thayer, and Eric Singer left the stage, and then their digital avatars were revealed to the still cheering crowd.
In this video, one can see KISS working through their digital creations as bassist/songwriter/vocalist and second-to-Stanley original member of KISS Gene Simmons says, “the future is so exciting,” and the digital avatars could help perform “the best concert you’ve ever seen.”
The famous Industrial Light & Magic created the new digital avatars in partnership with Pophouse Entertainment Group. One might recall their work creating digital avatars of ABBA for ‘live’ performances in the UK.
Now, we can debate what should be and should not be considered ‘live’ entertainment. If indeed, Simmons can rightly make the claim that his digital recreation could deliver the ‘best concert ever seen’ (the man do boast a lot!) And the insidious nature of AI and how possibly the Lucas brand has gone well past its expiration point.
Talk amongst yourself; I won’t weight in on any of the above here. I will refer you to the brilliant South Park recent South Park: Joining the Panderverse episode for a super creative take on these questions and more.
But I think what is more important to recognize is that we allowed all this. Just like the current political climate (and I use the word ‘climate’ specifically), one does get what one allows with the knuckle heads running the asylum, whichever side of that rickety fence you are on. You want KISS avatars to ‘tour;’ you got it. You want U2 to try and play amid a barrage of dizzying visuals that dwarf the good intentions of the band, set and created in Las Vegas; there ya go, kiddies. You want so many streaming channels you can’t keep up with the output; have it Potsie. You want some chat program writing novels; read on, Mr. Bond. Some bespoke digital image interacting with you online providing you masturbatory fodder; take it out, tickle or stroke it. You want constant remakes, sequels, unending Broadway musical offshoots of 80’s movies; here’s your ticket. You want to forever question the accuracy of every phone camera picture, video or basically anything anyone ever posts; well, here we are.
See, I don’t give a toss as I have been claiming that any ‘real’ art has been dead for decades. Yes, there are flash moments here and there, but generally we have whittled our sensibilities down to the point we can’t recognize the rot, nor do we care to. We have sliced civility and actual communication off at the knee, and we don’t care. We are in it for ourselves every step of the way, more than we ever have been, and take no notice.
Look, I’m not letting myself off the hook here by writing the above, as Mark Twain said, “The human race is a race of cowards; and I am not only marching in that procession but carrying a banner.” I am just as much to blame as you are. But we got what we wanted, my little droogs, and there is more to come before we’ll have the good grace just to lie down and die off.
Shout it. Shout it. Shout it out loud.