By Greg Kot
Photo by KISSonline
Once you've seen a giant demon in silver platform boots sprout wings and spit blood and fire, what's left? For Kiss, that shtick was outrageous enough to get them noticed in the '70s until they were the biggest band in the world.
On Friday at the United Center, not a whole lot had changed. Rock's answer to the Ringling Brothers - Kiss cofounders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley - brought the circus to a near-capacity audience. Fans were blinged out in vintage Kiss tour T-shirts and face paint. A few adolescents have enlisted, but the Kiss Army consisted mostly of folks who came of age in the mid-'70s, back when 10-year-olds were toting Kiss lunch boxes to school and rocking "Kiss Alive" on the stereo loud enough to annoy Cat Stevens fans everywhere.
Still selling loads of tickets, Simmons and Stanley run the greatest self-marketing machine in rock history, perhaps the first pair of businessmen-rockers to put the "r" in band, as in "brand." They keep finding new ways to sell themselves: In the '70s it was everyday-is-Halloween masks; at Friday's show, $30 got you a USB leather wristband containing digital files of the night's performance.
The garish black-and-white makeup was intact, as it was when the band brought a shot of glam to New York City grime in 1973. Simmons wore his 60 pounds of demon regalia, while Stanley was the bare-chested star man.