February 28, 1996: Original Kiss Members Reunite

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kiss at grammys

Peter Criss & Paul Stanley with Tupac at 1996 Grammys

Fans had been waiting 17 years for this moment: Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss together again. And in their original 1970s costumes: the Kiss line-up that had created a legend in classic rock music.

They all appeared together on February 28, 1996 at the 38th Annual Grammy Awards show as presenters alongside Tupac Shakur. They gave out the Best New Artist award (Hootie & the Blowfish) and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal (Hootie & the Blowfish again for “Let Her Cry”). Their appearance was the first promotional salvo for a tour by the group’s founding members that began the following June.

Billed as the Alive/Worldwide tour, it lasted just over a year and was the most successful Kiss tour ever, earning $143.7 million. The band played 192 shows in North America, Europe, Japan, Australia and Latin and South America. The sets, drawn from the group’s early years. were a loyal fan’s dream.

For the reunited Kiss, it was something altogether different. “Everything was wrong,” says Stanley of he and Simmons reuniting with Frehley and Criss. “Those guys won the lottery twice. And when they came back, they were pretty broke. And we could take ‘pretty’ out of that. And yet it wasn’t too long after things started to happen again that they started doing the same stuff. And it just became ugly and no fun.”

Frehley says much the same thing. “It started off great. It was really strange because we wearing our old costumes, and it wasn’t that different from tours from the past. I remember a couple of times doing shows feeling like I’d really gone back in time. It was bizarre. But as the tour progressed, things got weird, people started saying the same old things, pushing people’s buttons, and it wasn’t fun anymore.”

The Psycho Circus album the reunited group were supposed to make together after the tour had only one track on which all four. And as far as the original members of Kiss ever playing together again? “Not a chance,” says Simmons.

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