Paul Stanley certainly couldn't have picked a more crowd-pleasing garment to wear for Kiss' encore Monday night at Capital Centre. When the band reappeared to play "Strutter," Stanley came out wearing a Washington Redskins jersey, a wily move that of course received a roar from the audience.
Not that Stanley needed a show of burgundy and gold to grab audience approval. There were plenty of other gimmicks to please the fans at the half-full arena. Gene Simmons did his fire-breathing act, and during his solo, his bass shot out fireballs that blew up a pair of speaker cabinets. Stanley regaled the audience with ribald tales of his hedonistic pursuits and smashed his guitar at the show's end.
The sound mix turned Kiss' raunchy tunes into even harsher slabs of hard rock. Stanley's vocals were much too high and became increasingly annoying, especially since he persisted in screaming his braggadocio song introductions. Simmons' bass was a muddled, muffled thump. Old tunes like "Detroit Rock City" and "Rock and Roll All Night" were entertaining enough because of their sheer velocity and basic pop structure, but the newer material from the "Crazy Nights" album was repetitive and lacked all of the studio sheen that makes music like this palatable in small doses.