Contact Us

The Day ‘The Return of Kiss’ Tour Hit a Snag

Subscribe to WWMJ Ellsworth Maine on

In February 1978, Kiss ended a grueling five-year touring cycle that helped them become one of the biggest bands in the world. Yet, when the foursome returned to the road a year and a half later for a jaunt dubbed the Return of Kiss, they found their position in the rock hierarchy was anything but secure.

The tour was to follow one of Kiss more audacious stunts, the release of four solo albums after the conclusion of their 1978 dates in support of Alive II. They’d then issued a disco hit “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” in advance of the May street date for Dynasty, with shows set for the entire second half of 1979.

These concerts, which began on June 15, 1979, at Lakeland, Fla., would be the biggest and boldest yet from a production standpoint, even while reflecting those solo efforts through the individual band members’ costumes. Each contained colors from their respective albums. So, Paul Stanley’s costume was purple, Gene Simmons’ was red, Ace Frehley’s was blue and Peter Criss’ was green.

The Dynasty tour also saw the introduction of several new effects in the Kiss live concert arsenal. It was during this tour that fans first got to experience Simmons flying in midair. Frehley’s guitar, meanwhile, was tricked out with a new rocket-shooting stunt as well.

But something had changed since the last time Kiss toured the States. Audiences had begun shifting away from the bombastic stage presentations favored by the group. By this time, both punk and disco had gained solid footholds in the country. All of a sudden, the Kiss circus seemed somewhat out of step. Markets that had once been surefire sellouts were canceling gigs or downgrading to smaller venues.

“It wasn’t a good omen when our first show was cancelled,” Paul Stanley dryly notes in his book Face the Music. “The bottom got pulled right out from under us.” Audiences were beginning to dwindle, and so the scale and scope of the tour was lost on many.

It was the only Kiss tour to feature tunes from all four original members’ solo albums. But the band also included their sturdiest tunes to date, closing out most nights by playing “Shout It Out Loud,” “Black Diamond,” “Detroit Rock City,” “Beth” and “Rock and Roll All Nite.”

In Los Angeles, an additional night at the Forum was scaled down to the 10,000 seat Anaheim Convention Center in Orange County. A rambunctious fan base that had once painted its faces in anticipation of the spectacle to come seemed in large part to have been replaced with families. It seemed that Kiss’ out-sized marketing – not to mention their new dance-influenced hit – brought in new fans, even while costing them some of the die-hard fans.

By the end of the Dynasty concert series, change was in the air. The market had turned, as had people’s musical tastes. And Kiss, for the longest time, seemed lost. They would eventually resort to taking off the makeup, but not before trying a weird concept album.

In a larger sense, nothing was ever quite the same again. The final show of this tour, held Dec. 16 at the Toledo Sports Arena in Toledo, Ohio, would be the last gig featuring all four original members until their 1996 reunion.

Kiss Albums Ranked Worst to Best

Next: Kiss Lineup Changes

Best of I-95

Recommended for You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for I-95 Road Crew quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive I-95 Road Crew contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.