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Kiss’ Gene Simmons sets a mega-VIP event at Rio

Updated March 8, 2023 - 6:48 am

The Kats! Bureau at this writing is South Point Showroom, where Human Nature is sound-checking the first of three shows through Thursday night. Andrew and Mike Tierney and Toby Allen reliably sell out this place.

The act continues in Vegas without founding member Phil Burton, who has returned to Australia. No matter. It’s now an Aussie triumvirate, singing “I’ll Be There,” undaunted and in fine form. There is no town like Motown, as they say.

More from this scene, and elsewhere.

Simmons gets private

Gene Simmons of Kiss is hosting a VIP event May 5, 6 and 7 at the Rio, home of the Kiss by Monster Mini Golf and World Museum attraction. You can’t miss it. Just take the escalators coming off the Flamingo Road garage and you’ll find the Simmons golf cart — with its demon face paint and protruding tongue — parked out front.

“Maybe that is the cornerstone,” Simmons said in a phone chat Tuesday. “We just want to have fun. That is what Kiss has always been about. We certainly don’t know the secret of life, and actually I don’t care. We’re all just passing through, and while you’re here, smile and enjoy yourself.”

Simmons’ appearances on May 6 and 7 are already sold out. But tickets are left for May 5. You get a dinner at the hotel’s 50th-floor VooDoo Steak, pieces of Simmons’ personal collection of Kiss memorabilia, a commemorative plate (licking optional) and a performance by Simmons’ band in the Kiss by Monster Mini Golf Space.

This opportunity is priceless but not cheap, with two-day ticket prices have been set at $4,955.

“This is for a limited number of people, 100, maybe 200, and real fans,” Simmons said. “We’re going to close the doors and spend quality time with the fans for a full day. We are taking over the entire restaurant.”

Kiss is not scheduled to play Las Vegas and is taking on its “farewell” tour this year, ending Dec. 1-2 at Madison Square Garden in New York. There is no formal plan to return to a residency run after the band’s series at Zappos Theater scheduled for December 2021-February 2022 was called off.

Asked if Kiss would ever play a show again in Vegas, Simmons said, “I actually don’t know because we have been so inundated by people wanting to see us wherever we go. I mean, every guy whoever washed my dog or did my dry cleaning is hitting me up for tickets for his entire family, three generations back. Vegas? I don’t know, it would be nice to do a Vegas residency. But I don’t know any of these things.”

Simmons is excited about the merchandising power of the Kiss brand, even after the band discontinues live performances.

“We have Kiss everything — I want to sell Kiss Air,” he says, referring to actual oxygen. “Have you seen the Kiss air-guitar strings? Just a plastic bag with nothing in it. People buy cases of them. We have condoms and caskets.”

Simmons chuckles. “I’m thinking of a church, ‘Kiss-Tianity’ What do you think?”’ It’s like everything else in the Kiss empire, just throw open the doors and await the masses.

News (and hot) flash

My head-shaving event for St. Baldrick’s Foundation’s citywide campaign is set for 7:30 p.m. March 15 at “Menopause The Musical” at Harrah’s Cabaret. The cast is excited about this. Maybe too excited. Who knew there were so many salon hobbyists in this city.

A minimum donation of $25 per ticket (a mere pittance) is required. Reserve seats by emailing st.baldricks.glistentertainment@gmail.com. Guests can also bring a check made out to St. Baldrick’s Foundation that night, and we’ll also take cash so long as it doesn’t have choo-choo trains on it.

This event is to promote the citywide St. Baldrick’s Foundation events. The campaign is anchored by the March 18, shaving spectacular at the Brooklyn Bridge outside Nine Fine Irishmen at New York-New York. Go to stbaldricks.org and search “Katsilometes” to support and to learn more about the fight against childhood cancer.

What works in Vegas

Storm Large has wiped out, or is about to, her shows at Myron’s on Friday and Saturday. I met Large at Carnegie Hall about eight years ago when she headed up a Sinatra tribute co-starring Frankie Moreno, Ryan Silverman and Tony DeSare. Wild night. The old hall was barely big enough for that show.

Cool Hang Alert

“The ‘68 Special” is resurfacing at 9 p.m. (doors at 8:15 p.m.) Thursday at Liberace Garage on 5115 Dean Martin Drive #905. This is the first time the Liberace Garage performance space has made it into the CHA. But this is hardly our first mention of ace Elvis tribute artist Justin Shandor, who heads up this revival of The King’s ‘68 comeback special, which preceded his return to live performance the following year at the International.

Martin Zimmerman, Elvis Lederer (who had never been in an Elvis show until this one) and Pepe Jimenez are the backing band. DJ Liz Clark (a March 1 birthday) produces; go to fablv.us for info.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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