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Creator, Director and Executive Producer of Landmarks Live, Daniel E. Catullo
Creator, Director and Executive Producer of Landmarks Live, Daniel E. Catullo

KISS NYE Dubai show costing nearly eight figures says organiser

We get a behind-the-scenes peek into the UAE’s biggest New Year’s party with event producer Daniel E. Catullo


David Light

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Published: Sun 27 Dec 2020, 6:04 PM

Last updated: Sun 27 Dec 2020, 6:10 PM

IF THERE WERE ever a more apt act to convey the perfect mix of sentiments we must all be feeling leaving 2020 and entering an era of hope, we can’t think of them. With their notorious concerts and bombastic stage presence KISS have been providing much-needed doses of enthusiasm and rock spirit for decades. Titled ‘KISS 2020 GOODBYE’, this New Year’s Atlantis The Palm extravaganza (which will be streamed globally as well as in front of a socially-distanced crowd at the hotel) is not only set to stun, but break records in the process. We spoke to the main man who is bringing the show to Dubai: Creator, Director and Executive Producer of Landmarks Live, Daniel E. Catullo, to find out everything we could about the performance.

How did the idea for holding a live, virtual KISS event come about? Why did you choose Dubai?

I worked with KISS back in 2005 and I wanted to have a crack at doing a bigger show with them. Somehow, I developed a reputation of producing challenging shows, whether doing one with Andrea Bocelli at Palazzo Vecchio, the Foo Fighters at the Acropolis or pulling off the biggest show of the year in the middle of a pandemic.

Hosting the KISS show in Dubai was a logical step. The United Arab Emirates is among the world leaders in mitigating the spread of Covid and continues to effectively manage the pandemic given the government’s extraordinary response measures. It makes sense for us to bring Landmarks Live to the UAE.

2020 has silenced the music industry and momentum has been at an all-time low. Landmarks Dubai’s live NYE concert special is intended to help the whole world begin to look ahead. In true KISS fashion, it will be larger than life. It’ll be a unique global streaming travel and music series.

How easy or difficult has the process been since the idea’s inception?

Working with KISS is a dream come true for me. To be able to capture them in such an explosive and record-breaking way will certainly be a highlight of my career. Logistically, this was the largest undertaking I’ve ever done and during a pandemic made it all the more challenging. Our crew is comprised of over 400 people, most of whom are based in Dubai. It has been a very complex show to put together: almost five months of planning, hundreds of working crew, coordination with the Dubai Government, major coordination with the band; this show will go down in the record books. We’re also filming a documentary on how we are pulling this show off. We’re doing the biggest production in KISS’ history!

The most arduous task has been developing a safe Covid compliance protocol amid the pandemic to ensure no virus transmission among the crew. The crew will essentially create a bubble for the show setup, particularly the few staffers who will be in direct contact with KISS. American Hospital is conducting daily testing. We have to take beyond-extraordinary measures to keep people safe.

Have you put on a virtual show before?

I’m the biggest live concert fan, so it’s always a challenge to be able to capture that environment on screen. KISS makes my job easier because their performances are always compelling. From a production standpoint, the show is going to be record-breaking. We are plotting one of the highest production livestream experiences in Covid times. Filmed with more than 50 cameras and 360-degree views, the show will be filmed in 4K and can be seen globally with a 1080p resolution livestream and ticketing powered by Tixr, available on any computer, mobile, and Apple TV.

Do you think this could be a future for touring bands even when the pandemic passes?

Absolutely! We plan on bringing a host of other shows to Dubai for season 2 of Landmarks, particularly as the UAE continues to take the necessary measures to be the fastest country in the world to recover from this pandemic.

The pyrotechnics show accompanying KISS is a great draw, what are your hopes for the display?

We are hoping to set a new world record for the biggest pyro show, with nearly $1 million (Dh3.7million) spent on pyrotechnics alone. We’re also looking to set a new world record as the highest grossing live concert stream of a rock band.

I am a current world record holder for most cameras ever used in a live concert recording with 239 cameras, so I’m looking to get another world record!!

Ball park, how much is this setting you back?

The whole set-up will cost almost eight figures. As I said, the pyrotechnics alone will cost nearly $1 million and the Covid compliancy expenses total another $750,000 (Dh2.8 million).

What are you most looking forward to on the night?

Spreading a sense of hope across the globe. In the past few weeks, we have seen everybody come together in the music industry as the creative community sees that there is light at the end of the tunnel. We are going to go back to doing big shows again.

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