‘Be Advised: Paul Stanley Is Down’
Kiss were moments away from a show when they had to face the challenge of playing as a trio, as Paul Stanley suffered a potentially life-threatening health alert. But the incident gave the band yet another chance to prove to fans, in Gene Simmons’ words, “You work hard for your money, and we work hard for your money.”
The concert -- on July 27, 2007, at the Soboba Casino Arena in San Jacinto, Calif. -- was to be the last of a four-night mini-tour called Hit ’N Run, although two additional appearances were later added. Stanley, who was 55 at the time, had attended the soundcheck as normal, but later in the evening reported feeling ill.
The moment was dramatized in the not-quite-reality TV series Gene Simmons Family Jewels (Season 3, Episode 1, if you want to track it down). The Kiss crew's radio sparks to life with the message: “All staff be advised: Paul Stanley is down.” Simmons demands to be taken to see his colleague immediately, while staff calls for an ambulance and a police department escort, although the images shown onscreen are of a firetruck driving past.
The show was delayed for an hour while fans waited in the arena. Finally, Kiss manager Doc McGhee appeared onstage to introduce Simmons, who said, “Listen up. This is important to us. You’re important to us. Paul’s heart was going at 200 beats a minute. They had to inject him. We were thinking of canceling the show because there was no way for Paul to do the show. He said, ‘Don’t let the fans down.’ Would you like to go home, or do you want us to try to play for you?”
With the audience cheering an affirmative, Simmons, Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer set about delivering a three-piece performance. “This one’s for Paul Stanley!” Simmons said as they burst into opener “Deuce.” With some chopping and changing to allow for their missing lead singer, the show also featured 11 members of the audience onstage providing backing vocals for “Christine Sixteen” and Singer leading the band through “Nothin’ to Lose.”
Watch Kiss Perform 'Christine Sixteen' Without Paul Stanley
As the 14-song concert drew to a close, Simmons asked fans for help with “Rock and Roll All Nite.” “Paul Stanley is here," he said. "I need you to sing loud enough for him to hear in the hospital. He’s listening.”
The following day, Stanley explained what happened. “During soundcheck yesterday, my heart jumped to 190 beats per minute, where it stayed for over an hour, necessitating paramedics to start an IV and give me a shot to momentarily stop my heart and get it into a normal pattern," he said. "Not knowing if this episode was life-threatening made it even more exhausting. After consulting with paramedics and a cardiologist, they confirmed my worst fear. They said I would put myself at risk if I tried to do the show."
Stanley added that he was "very proud of Gene, Tommy and Eric for carrying on without me. I apologize to anyone I disappointed. I’ll make it up to you when I see you again.” He later noted that he had suffered a “rapid heartbeat condition” for most of his life but he’d “never had any type of restrictions.” “When I’ve had an episode, although momentarily disrupting and taxing, it has no residual effect," he said. "This is nothing new and my doctors have known about it. It doesn’t change, hasn’t changed and won’t change my life.”
Stanley missed another show in 2016 as a result of a torn bicep, and Kiss played as a trio for only the third time in their history (having first done so in 1980, when then-guitarist Ace Frehley missed a radio promo event), playing a four-song set at the annual Race to Erase MS charity benefit in Los Angeles.