Live photos and review: Kiss is doin' it for the kids. Literally

Photographs by Taso Hountas

Kiss frontman Paul Stanley doth—didth?—protest too much. Twice during Nassau Coliseum's Friday night show (a well-oiled rock spectacle), he insisted that his band wasn't going to tell you how to live your life. He wasn't going to tell you to become a vegetarian. He wasn't going to tell you to save the whales or the baby seals. And still, for all of his nontelling—and green spurts of flame and confetti blizzards—Kiss was very much insisting on something. You could see it in the preponderance of adorable eight-year-olds in face paint. Or the fact that the band didn't trot out its smutty classics "Cold Gin" or "Strutter." This was Kiss as family entertainment. "Look at all the Kiss children!" enthused the singer, cameras swiveling on the crowd. There was no swearing. And if Daddy hoisted you up on his shoulders to observe the jackass sashaying on a platform singing "Love Gun"—well, that was what rock stars did, honey.

Touring behind its shockingly okay new LP, Sonic Boom, Kiss also reminded anyone who needed it of the resiliency of its act. Even with two original members replaced by dutiful clones (Tommy Thayer on guitar and Eric Singer on drums), the band worked through a two-and-half-hour set with exuberance and panache. And you could actually hear the music, another concession to the youthful crowd; the volume was notably low for the Uniondale venue. But riffage was beside the point. You go to a Kiss show for the stunts, like Gene Simmons spitting blood and fire. The crowd roared its approval. The set list was appropriately 1970s-heavy, with numbers like "Parasite" supplanted with video backdrops of swarming amoebas. (Occasionally, a shot of dcolletage flashed the audience—you really had to be looking.) Unwittingly, Stanley captured the drawbacks of courting the kiddie crowd: "There's no sitting down at a Kiss concert!" Fine, Paul. Can we go home yet?