Artist: Ace Frehley
Venue: Playstation Theater (New York, NY)
Label: eOne Entertainment
It was awesome to find the great Ace Frehley performing tonight at the Playstation Theater because while this would be the musicians third gig in the immediate vicinity in the space of about six months, I didn’t get to the shows that took place at the nearby B.B. King Blues Club. Yeah, I was really heartsick about it but that is life in NYC. Sometimes there are a hundred things happing on a single night and sometimes there is nothing. For those shows it was the first one but that was then and this is now and I was ready to be one of the assembled Rock Soldiers with so many music loving friends. Opening the show would a band called Simo but I wouldn’t be able to see them since I was convening with a group of fellow KISS fans down at a favorite concert watering hole called Smith’s. I also had someone’s ticket and needed to make sure they got it and didn’t miss a moment of the original Spaceman.
Ace and Company would go on a little after 9pm after a piped in “Fractured Mirror” from his 1978 solo album was played and as expected he would start the rocking with the now very classic “Rip It Out”. He’d follow that one up quickly with “Toys” from his “Space Invader” album (which was his first for the eOne Entertainment label back in 2014). He was sounding great and so was the band which features Richie Scarlet on guitar and vocals, Chris Wyse (formerly of The Cult) on the bass and Scotty Coogan on drums and lead vocals. This has been the band for a few years at this point and they are locked solid together and have a real visible synergy happening up on the stage. “Emerald” would be the first presentation from his latest album “Origins” and I love how he does this one in the true spirit of the great Thin Lizzy and the much missed Phil Lynott. The album is great and features numerous tunes that inspired the musician along with the ones that tip the hat to his KISS years. Those masked man times began with the song “Parasite” that Ace would sing and this one is also a part of the new “Origins” album. It would be followed by a rousing version of “Love Gun” sung by drummer Coogan. In my humble opinion, Scot has one of the best voices on the drumming side that I have heard in a while and he does the KISS material justice.
The Space Ace would roll back to 1978 once more for “Snowblind” which is always a great one to hear and then it was a fast forward to “Anomaly” for the song “Sister”. So far so good to me as the guitars were crisp and the riffs were hotter than hell if you can pardon the all too obvious KISS pun. “Rocket Ride” would follow these tunes and so far, the set appeared to be very similar to the gigs that I had missed. I was going by the friends who caught him at those last shows and the similarity made me feel that I didn’t miss a whole lot that would have upset me. The Led Zeppelin cover of the Willie Dixon track “Bring It On Home” was next and while this was good, I would have so preferred that he did “White Room” or “Magic Carpet Ride” since those tunes cook on the new CD. Oh well, you can’t always get what you want as the Rolling Stones would say. “Rock Soldiers” had everyone at Metal attention and raising fists into the air – This tune has been a favorite since I first heard it on Ace’s first ever post-KISS solo album. A brief bass solo by Chris Wyse found him singing one of the more underground KISS selections of “Strange Ways”. This was sung by Peter Criss on the “Hotter Than Hell” album and Chris does a great job of it. Ace’s personal anthem to our metropolis would be next up with “New York Groove”. This one was one of the tunes that the entire audience was singing along with. For the Ace shows, its songs like this one and of course ALL of the KISS numbers that get the biggest reaction from the fans. I know that I was screaming and so were the many friends that I chanced upon in the crowd. That’s never a bad thing.
The song “Too Young To Die” was dedicated to the late Mark St. John and sung by Richie Scarlet who was a whirlwind of activity during the show. It’s really great seeing him in the Ace band again because they work together like Springsteen and Van Zandt or even Mick and Keith – a perfect Rock and Roll combo united for the cause of music. From here on out would KISS material until the end and that is always fine by me and it would begin with “Shock Me” and bring us into the masterful guitar solo and the smoking guitar. No fireworks though but that cannot happen in this sort of space but man did Ace sound fantastic for this. All of the guitar slingers in the room were rooted in place as their hero showcased the reasons he remained so special in their minds. While Ace would take small moments to chat with the crowd, there wasn’t a lot of it but he did point out his sobriety before playing the classic “Cold Gin” from the KISS debut of 1973. He said he isn’t going to drink but that shouldn’t stop us from doing so and just be careful (or something of that nature). Ace has been sober for about ten years if my memory is correct. The show would end with two equally important tunes in the KISS repertoire with “Detroit Rock City” and “Deuce”. I couldn’t find anything to balk about because we were entertained from beginning to end. Ace would throw guitar picks out into the audience from the beginning of the show until the end but I didn’t manage to get any of those which was a bit of a bummer.
Full Ace Frehley Concert Gallery: HERE
1. Fractured Mirror (Intro Tape)
2. Rip It Out
4. Emerald (Thin Lizzy)
5. Parasite (KISS)
6. Love Gun (KISS)
9. Rocket Ride (KISS)
10. Bring It On Home (Willie Dixon)
11. Rock Soldiers
12. Chris Wyse Bass Solo
13. Strange Ways (KISS)
14. New York Groove
15. 2 Young To Die
16. Shock Me (KISS)
17. Ace Frehley Guitar Solo
18. Cold Gin (KISS)
19. Detroit Rock City (KISS)
20. Deuce (KISS)
Official Website: http://www.acefrehley.com