I have been a huge Ace Frehley fan since I was probably 8 years old. He was my very first guitar hero. I had only seen him play with Kiss and I have never seen him love as just Ace Frehley. When I saw he was opening for Alice Cooper, I couldn’t click the purchase ticket button fast enough. This was also the first concert I had attended since Covid began around 19 months ago so it was even more exciting.
The concert began at 7:30pm on October 7, 2021. We arrived in plenty of time because I was damn well sure going to make it to see the opening act, because, well, as was the opening act. We stand in line to get stamped with proof of vaccination (or proof of negative covid test) and then go in line again to go through the metal detector and all good so far. I don’t know why I said “so far”, because we ran in to ZERO issues all night. It was supposed to rain…None! The weather was a little chilly, but felt great. We hit the restrooms (TMI) and then went and bought some bottled water…except…they don’t sell bottled water anymore…WHAT!!! Nope. It is now in a can…huh???
Yes, they sell water in a can now so I guess non-drinkers don’t get harassed for not drinking as it looks like a beer can. I have to admit, it looks pretty damn cool for water. We then hit the merch table and there were a ton of Alice stuff and only a little Ace, but I saw Alice 3 years ago almost to the day, so I went with the Ace Shirt. They were already out of XL size, so I went 2XL and I hope it shrinks…
Then we get to our seats at around 7:15 with time to spare. At 7:25, the lights go down on the stage and then wham…the show starts…5 minutes early…WHAT!!! The band came out and then Ace was introduced and we were off to the races. I can’t remember and time in the 100’s of shows I’ve seen that a show started EARLY!! And what a show it was. My only complaint was that Ace only really played songs from Ace’s time in Kiss except for the 2 covers (because he is touring for Origins, Vol. 2 which is a covers album). Now, the crowd loved it and well, so did I. Heck, look at the setlist…
- Rocket Ride
- Rip It Out
- Never in My Life (Mountain Cover)
- Good Times Bad Times (Led Zeppelin Cover)
- Detroit Rock City
- New York Groove
- Shock Me
- Ace Guitar Solo
- Cold Gin (with a little Black Diamond thrown in)
Ace played for almost an hour and it flew by. Let me tell you, the minute I heard “Rocket Ride’s” opening riff, I got goosebumps as that was one of my favorite Ace songs with Kiss. And the band nailed it. Ace sounded like I expected which was a little slurred lyrics at times, but mostly he sounded fine and it took me back to my childhood. They immediately went in to “Parasite” and again…goosebumps. I was doing my best air guitar, drumming and whatever but I was so in to it. My daughter was with me and I think she was laughing at me. But I don’t care!!
We next get in to “Strutter” which was sung by the bass player, Philip Shouse, and what a job he did. Great vocals and more great guitar playing by Ace. As he stumbled around stage, looking like he was going to fall over at any time (which my daughter found humorous), Ace wailed on that guitar. Did he hit every note perfectly, hell no, but did I care, hell no!! Ace was being Ace and that is all I cared about. And the fans were going crazy!!!
He blasted through “Rip It Out” and then went in to the two covers. The first cover was “Never in My Life” by Mountain. They only played it for a bit and went in to the solo and then directly in to Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times Bad Times” and they nailed it. Ace did the vocals and most of the playing while one of his two other guitarists, picked up the 2nd solo on the song.
After that, Ace introduced the next song “Detroit Rock City” giving Paul Stanley all the credit for a great song. This one was sung by the other guitarist and he did a fabulous job. And what can you say about Ace’s band. They were amazing. They definitely picked up any slack that might be left while Ace took his time getting back to the mic on numerous occasions. His band was Philip Shouse on bass, Matt Starr on drums, Ryan Cook and Jeremy Asbock on guitar. They had all the energy and were running around keeping everyone entertained. They were great.
Ace went back stage and grabbed a new guitar and came back out. The guitar was flashing lights and the song was “New York Groove” and the crowd went nuts. If that wasn’t enough, he went in to “Shock Me” next and then right in to the solo. Ace’s playing was really fantastic all night, but the solo was weird. He played little riffs/solos from various songs it sounded like, before finally getting to the classic Ace schtick we know and love. No, he didn’t shoot rockets out of his guitar, but it did smoke. It was a lot of fun.
The set ended with the band doing “Cold Gin” and at the end through in a little “Black Diamond” for good measure. The final song was the Kiss classic “Deuce” and the whole crowd was singing along…actually they never stopped singing as we were all singing along to every song. The crowd was there to see Ace just as much as they were to see Alice. Not too many shows had a full house when the opening act showed, but this one did and they stood the whole time and loved it!!
I loved it. It was Ace being Ace and that is the only Ace I want to see. I do wish more Ace solo songs were played, but I will take Kiss songs any day of the week. I guess I would say my biggest complaint was I don’t think Ace introduced the band and he should have. They keep that show moving and interesting and deserve a lot of credit. My daughter enjoyed it even if the only song she really knew was “Detroit Rock City”, but at least she knew that one. I had to repeatedly tell her, that Ace was old and his body didn’t move like it used to do. I am thrilled I can finally say, I saw Solo Ace live in concert!