Dynasty Tour - 1979

Start Date: June 15, 1979

End Date: December 16, 1979

Shows: 82

Legs: 2

Countries: Canada, United States

Opening Acts: Breathless, Cheap Trick, Eli, John Cougar & The Zone, Jon Butcher Axis, Judas Priest, Loverboy, Michael Stanley Band, Nantucket, New England, Rockets, Sweet, Whiteface

Average Attendance: 10,523

Line Up: Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss

'The Return Of KISS!', as the Dynasty Tour was subtitled was to become a tour mainly to make allot of money and make it the most spectacular show ever to go on the road. Unfortunately, spectacular shows cost money and the list of production effects the KISS company wanted to include was prohibitively expensive and the Dynasty Tour quickly became impractical. The bad economy in 1979 also did not help in the ticket sales. Their fame was dwindling and their merchandise empire was going rampant, they knew they had to cash in big, Paul Stanley and Desmond Child gave them a gold mine in the form of 'I Was Made For Lovin' You'. The song became a monster hit and landed on #1 in many countries, even for 4 weeks in The Netherlands topping 'Beth' as KISS's hit single. But not everybody was happy with the hit song, hardcore KISS fans hated the Disco tune the song has and they did not like how KISS turned into "Super KISS" aimed mostly at children by now. Ace Frehley felt the same way that the band lost its direction.


Interesting fact is that one song was played from every KISS member's 1978 solo album. Gene performed 'Radioactive', Peter performed 'Tossin' and Turnin', Ace performed 'New York Groove', and Paul performed 'Move On'. Gene's and Peter's songs were eventually replaced with more familiar songs early in the tour. Eventually the bad economy and the 1979 gas crisis got more and more shows cancelled, as Gene stated in a interview with 'Grooves':


"Gas. Arabs. Carter. America. I mean, I don't have to go into explaining the way things are. If there's no gas, you can't go to a concert that's 30 miles out of town. We could have waited six months until there was gas. We don't have to tour; we have enough money to buy Argentina, but that's not exciting, and it's not exciting to play it safe. People tell us, don't release four solo albums, wait until the gas crisis is over, don't spend $1 million on a stage, but we did it"

Dynasty Tour Stage

  • Stage - The stage got a complete overhaul with ideas from Ace, he noticed allot of backstage seats were being sold and wanted to see a stage where you could easily be seen from every angle. Eventually the stage was designed by Paul Stanley, Lenny Cowles, and Mark Duffy and constructed by Theatre Techniques. The stage supposedly had a price tag over over 1 million dollars and at the time it was the largest show ever built and it would change how bands would create shows in the future.
  • Costumes - The elaborate Dynasty KISS costumes were designed by Pete Menefee, back than well known already for his career as a costume designer for movies, TV specials, and showgirl cabaret shows. He also was one of the chimney sweeps in the "Mary Poppins" movie. He won 3 Emmy's for his work and nominated for 5.
  • Lifts - No more risers were used for this tour, this time they come from under the stage with lifts and stood motionless on their spots with their own signature color light shining on them one by one with sound effects like super heroes and they started the show with 'King Of The Night Time World''.
  • Gene Flying - The most jaw dropping effect added was after Gene spit blood, he would fly upwards into the rafters onto a small platform and he would perform 'God Of Thunder'. What many don't know, Bill Aucoin originally planned this stunt for Paul! But Paul did not like the idea of flying and Gene took the idea.
  • Lighting Rig - A 12,000 pounds giant lighting hexagonal rig was designed that held a 400,000 watt lighting grid measuring 67 by 57 feet.
  • Traveling City - At this moment the KISS Dynasty Tour was like a moving city, the tour was a self-contained unit that included six carpenters, six electricians, four band roadies, four sound-men, two wardrobe persons, three pyro-technicians, three riggers, a production manager, a tour coordinator, a tour manager, four security men, eight truck drivers, one accountant, two bus drivers, four personal assistants to the band members, and a three piece personnel doing the concessions and a total of 56 workers to build the entire stage.
  • Rotating Drum Riser - Peter received a new round motorized drum riser that could rotate in all directions and during his drum solo it would even move forward.
  • Rocket Shooting Guitar - Beside his smoking guitar, Ace would now shoot three rockets to the lighting rig that would 'explode'. Ace would explain the effect in a interview in 1997 of "Guitar World": 
"That’s a regular Les Paul with a rocket launcher strapped to the back of the head-stock. We routed out a strip in the neck and ran a thin ribbon cable down to the neck pick­up controls which fire the rocket. The regular pots have been replaced with click switches: click it once, press it down, and a rocket shoots out. Click it again and the second rocket shoots out. It's pretty elementary shit, but it looks so cool! It works 95 percent of the time."
  • Ace's Lightning Guitar - Ace would have a guitar full of lights that would flash in various patterns that looks like lightning, it was used during the entire tour and in the "I Was Made For Lovin' You" music video.

Pete Menefee with one of the original costume designs for Gene.

Many effects and ideas were brainstormed for the Dynasty tour (stage), many got scrapped:

  • Laser Light Curtain - This effect consisted of vertical laser beams running between the stage and the truss, with one meter apart of each beam, it was only used once at the first show of the tour but the audience only saw a blue haze, the laser equipment was returned to be repaired but was never seen again. The manufactures later sued the KISS company for apparent non-payment.
  • Inflatable KISS Logo - A twenty foot high inflatable KISS logo, it was to be build by the same people who made the inflatable furniture for the KISS suite in the KISS Meets The Phantom Of The Park movie.
  • Animated Sam The Serpent - Sam The Serpent was to be brought alive through animations. Glowing eyes, snarling and bearing his teeth, flapping his wings and breathing fire just like Gene.
  • Illuminated Drum Sticks - Peter was to get drum sticks with a neon effect, each of 1 diameter by two feet long. Obviously scrapped because of the costs, each pair of sticks would approximately cost $6,000!
  • Animated Lion - Another effect for Peter, an animated lion, like the ones you would see in theme parks, it was to be life like, even so far that people who had backstage passes would believe they had a real life lion with all the tight backstage security planned around it.
  • Sparks From Ace's Hand - A effect for Ace, he would shoot sparks out of his hands through a small metal box, this effect eventually morphed into the sparks he would shoot out of the neck of his guitar together with the rocket.
  • Extended Fire Effect - A effect for Gene, after Gene would breath fire like he would normally do, he would stick the fire dagger into its stand and Gene would stand back and he would be engulfed in flames, several things could have happened, a ball of flames that would move and Gene would appear on the other side of the stage, Gene could rise up from the stage, or the flames would diminish and turn into smoke and Gene would step forward out of the smoke.
  • Laser Eye Beam -  A effect for Paul, he would wear a device that would emit a laser beam out of his starry eye, just like the effect in the Phantom movie, this was scrapped because it was to dangerous for Paul himself as the back of the device was not shielded and radiation was also a issue. Eventually they spend a quarter of a million to invest in a laser show for nothing. The systems failed to work properly at the first shows and the band refused to tour with them. ( The laser eye effect would eventually be used by German metal band Rammstein).
  • Lightning Emitting Guitar - A effect for Paul, a laser beam would shine down from the light truss and Paul would hold his guitar up to the beam, and it would break the laser beam into many more laser beams. As it would also shoot into the crowd, this was clearly too dangerous.
  • Magic Tricks - Various magic tricks were brainstormed to be used during the show, like Peter entering a empty animal cage, a flash from Gene, a gesture from Ace and poof, Peter would have been transformed into a real life lion or tiger. A known magic trick like magicians perform on stage. Another effect would have been the band would disappear into thin air after a song or 'de-materialize' like in Star Trek through the use of four tubes that would be hoisted down from the lighting truss.
  • KISS World - Something that had been talked about since 1978 was a real "KISS World", a (traveling) amusement park that would have various KISS rides, 3D movies, a KISS museum, etc... With the poor economy this idea was scrapped but the idea came up again in 2003 but still hasn't seen any realization in it happening besides being in an animated for for the direct-to-DVD animated movie Scooby-Doo! And KISS: Rock And Roll Mystery! where KISS World is an actual amusement park.

The Making Of A KISS Show - 3-2-1 Contact

A excellent short from the PBS show '3-2-1 Contact' showing how a KISS show was created back in 1979 including a look how the Dynasty stage was set up by its dedicated road crew! Recorded at the Abilene, Texas, October 27th, 1979 show.

     Stage Props:

  • Fire Engine Lights
  • Fire Engine Siren
  • Fire Helmet
  • Round Hydraulic Drum Riser
  • Huge Drum Riser Cat Curtain
  • Hydraulic Lifts
  • Fireworks
  • Flash Pots
  • Confetti Storm
  • Blood Spitting
  • Ramps
  • Smoke Pots
  • Gene Flying
  • Sam The Serpent
  • Bombs
  • Mirror Ball
  • Dry Ice Smoke
  • Ground Flamethrowers
  • Fire Breathing
  • KISS Logo
  • Smoking & "Burning" Flying Guitar
  • Flashing Guitar
  • Rocket Shooting Guitar
  • Paul Smashing Guitars

Ace's new guitar that could flash in different patterns.

Typical Setlist:

01. 'King Of The Night Time World'
02. 'Let Me Go Rock 'N Roll'
03. 'Move On'
04. 'Calling Dr. Love'
05. 'Firehouse'
06. 'New York Groove'
07. 'I Was Made For Lovin' You'
08. 'Love Gun'
09. '2,000 Man'
10
. 'Christine Sixteen'

11. 'God Of Thunder'

12. 'Shout It Out Loud'

13. 'Black Diamond'


Encore:

14. 'Detroit Rock City'

15. 'Beth'

18. 'Rock And Roll All Nite'

Special Shows / Happenings:

- Lakeland Civic Center, Lakeland, FL, June 14, 1979 -

This was to be the first official show of the tour, but it got cancelled because of the poor lack of ticket sales. The band instead used the Civic Center

for a full scale dress rehearsal with local and international press present.


- Civic Center, Savannah, GA, June 20, 1979 -

Even though this show was canceled, they recorded their promotional videos for 'I Was Made For Lovin' You' and 'Sure Know Something' at this stadium as produced and directed by John Goodhue. Ace was arrested on the 19th in Savannah for allegedly walking away from a charter fishing boat cruise without paying the tab. Gene debuted his regular Dynasty costume instead of his previous earlier "crab" like version.


- Capital Centre, Landover (Largo), WA, July 7/8, 1979 -

Both shows were archived by the in-house video crew but the tape of the first night was useless, the band was so loud the first night that that it caused a fluctuation in the video signal and the tape was deemed useless. The second night also shows a bit of fluctuation but it's quality is allot better. The performance itself is not, Paul forgot the words during his own song 'Move On' and Peter botched 'Beth'. Something he would do several times more during the tour.


- Veterans Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo, NY, August 8, 1979 -

Gene's flying rig malfunctioned after it lowered him down during Peter's drum solo causing him to hang five feet above the stage for a few seconds,

what probably felt like hours for Gene, lasted a few seconds before the road crew managed to fix the issue.


- Pacific Coliseum. Vancouver, Canada, November 19, 1979 -

The opening band, Loverboy was booed off the stage during their third song. During the show Peter fell off his drum stool between songs, as he was too high to function.

Paul briefly went up and played drums while the band was throwing out towels prior to the encore.


- Hirsch Memorial Coliseum, Shreveport, LA, December 8, 1979 -

The show was cut short when Peter purposely started dragging the tempo to a standstill at the end of his drum solo in 'God Of Thunder', KISS returned to play

'Shout It Out Loud' and 'Black Diamond' but there were no encores at all. Years later he admitted to do this on purpose just to piss off Gene and Paul.


- Mississippi Coliseum, Jackson, MS, December 10, 1979 -

Peter stopped playing during 'Move On' and walked off stage leaving the rest of the band finishing the song without him. After 15 minutes the band returned and stated that

Peter got "hit in the eye by a fragment of a broken drumstick". But later Peter performed 'Beth' looking perfectly fine, after finishing the song he threw the microphone on the floor and stormed off stage again. In Peter's memoir, "Makeup to Breakup", Peter stated that he was fed up with the band and  walked off the stage and

Paul made up the broken drumstick excuse.

KISS Army sponges fell from the mirror ball at the end of every show during the Dynasty tour, pictured on the right during 'Rock And Roll All Nite' at the  July 8, 1979, Largo show.

- Mississippi Coast Coliseum, Biloxi, MI, December 12, 1979 -

In 1994, Peter Criss recalled this event during a interview with Curt Gooch:


"I threw a drumstick at Gene, but i didn't mean it. I was always just throwing sticks out. It bounced of Gene's head really cool; it really bounced. He turned around and he was at one of his demonic stages where he didn't know where he was and he went crazy. When i got downstairs, he came around and walked up to me and kicked me in the ankle, and it really hurts. I said. 'You son of a bitch, what was that about?' He said, 'Don't you ever throw a drumstick at me!' I said, 'Gene, i was only doing it as a joke, man, I didn't mean it, but no one f*cking hits me,' and i went crazy. The audience is screaming for us, and our road manager is going nuts...'


'He rushes us up to the encore, and i was thinking all through the song. 'Do i hit him immediately or do i whack him one in the back?' Sure enough, the minute the song ended, I quickly got off the drums, because i wanted to be the first one back there waiting for him to come through the curtain, so i could hit him in the face. He came walking back, and i grabbed a champagne bottle. I broke it, and i went at him with it, and everybody jumped in and broke it up. Later in the dressing room, Paul said, 'great, Gene Simmons kicks drummer of KISS, KISS drummer kills Gene Simmons, band's over with."


- Sports Arena, Toledo, OH, December 16, 1979 -

This was Peter Criss's last official performance with KISS until 1996.

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