Ace Frehley – American Tour 2021 (Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre, October 7, 2021) – Concert Review

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, Liquid Death is the name of the Water!! I’ve seen it all now.

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…

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Kiss – “Off the Soundboard: Tokyo 2001” (2021) – Album Review ( The Kiss Review Series)

After over a year of reviewing everything Kiss and pretty much everything in my collection, we are finally to very last Kiss record in the collection…I am sure it won’t be the last as they will release more over the years to come and I will add them to the series. For now, this is it though. Kiss has finally realized they can make money on these Kiss Bootlegs that are out in the wild by finally releasing their own Bootleg Series called “Off the Soundboard”. First up for them is the show from Tokyo 2001 which is a short era of the band that has little to no representation anywhere else. It was with the line up of Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley, of course, but also features Eric Singer on drums and Ace Frehley on lead guitar. This line-up was only around a very short time right after the first Farewell Tour that was really a farewell to Peter. And it is this line-up that is the major selling point which is why they highlighted it on the front cover.

The album came out last month on June 11, 2021 and it is great to go out on the Review Series with a new release, but do note, I would’ve bought it no matter what. The packaging is really fantastic and yet very simple. Kiss brilliantly gave the set a look like it was really a bootleg. It looks like cheap cardboard box with everything just stamped on to the box. It looks cheap and yet it is that cheapness that is the brilliance. The vinyl are on a white label that looks like the info was also stamped and typed on to it which gives it even more of a bootleg feel. If it is going to be an official bootleg, make it look like one and they did. I hope this is the beginning of a lot of great shows that are out there in the bootleg world and yet we will get a cleaned up mix with some great sound and this one is a perfect start.

The show for this release was on March 13, 2001 at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. This was actually part of the Farewell Tour and really close to the end. As I mentioned earlier, by the time this show was done, Peter was gone and Eric Singer was brought in. This set list is impressive. It contains 21 songs and includes all the solos, the great Paul Stanley banter and all mistakes which is exactly what you want from a bootleg. The show is over 2 hours long and does cover 3 LPs. Kiss didn’t skimp on this release in the least.

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Kiss – ‘Love Gun’ (1977) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

Kiss were flying high. Their popularity was growing by leaps and bounds and so much so that they were voted the most popular band in the U.S. beating the likes of some other famous bands maybe you’ve heard of them…Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith.  Nah, I didn’t think so.  They appeared in their first comic book, “Howard the Duck #12: “Mind-Mush!” (May 1977)’ and later that year they had their own comic book with “A Marvel Comics Super Special #1: A Marvel Comics Super Special!: Kiss (1977).  For this, they used their own blood to mix in with the ink.  They were becoming the merchandising kings they are still today.

With that popularity needs to come new music and 6 months after the release  of ‘Rock And Roll Over’, the band was back in the studio to record their 6th studio album.  The band brought back Eddie Kramer to produce and man the boards in hopes to maintain the direction that ‘Rock And Roll Over’ was taking them. And on June 30, 1977, the album came out and immediately went platinum with sales over 1 million.

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The album became the first studio album to feature all 4 band members singing a song as Mr. Ace Frehley finally sang a song and what a beast of song it was.  And another interesting fact, this is the last album to feature Peter Criss on all the songs.  What does that mean?  That means that the next two studio albums (not including the solo albums), Peter doesn’t play all the drums, in fact, very few of them.  All this despite the fact he is prominently featured on the cover of the album and still tours.  We will touch more on that fact in future posts.  The band was still in tact with Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley and Peter Criss.  That still wouldn’t change for a couple years. Continue reading “Kiss – ‘Love Gun’ (1977) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)”

Kiss – The Box Set (Disc Two 1975-1977) – Album Review (Part 3 of 6)

Welcome back to Part 3 of the 6 Part series. We have already talked about the Box Set and its packaging in Part 1 and we covered Disc 1 in Part 2 which covered the years 1966-1975.  That set gave us 12 Unreleased tracks.  This one has a lot, but not quite as many. For Disc Two, we get 8 previously unreleased tracks out of the 20 tracks on the disc.  And it is those 8 tracks we will spend most of our time here today on.  The rest will get covered when I actually do a Kiss series later down the road.

I am sure now you are wondering the what is the track listing for this disc if there are 20 songs and I am going to show you in pictorial form with this picture of the back of the CD case with Paul’s Starchild face covering the whole rear of cover.

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The first four tracks on this are taking from the Alive! album which was released in 1975 and since they are previously released will skip over them and get to the three previously unreleased tracks that come up next.

First we get the song “Doncha Hesitate” which was written by Paul Stanley.  The song was recorded as a demo and one of the few times the whole band would get together to record a demo.  However, there are different stories on when it was recorded.  Gene says it was recorded for ‘Dressed to Kill’ when they were trying to come up with more songs. Paul says it was written after ‘Alive!’ and before ‘Destroyer’ which are both after ‘Dressed to Kill’…so not sure who is write on this one.  The song is great for a demo as it is very raw and rough around the edges, but it falls flat as an overall song which is probably why it was never used.  I do like it though and always great to have unreleased tracks that were not used in any other song.

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Next we get the demo of a song called “Mad Dog”“Mad Dog” was recorded as a demo for the ‘Destroyer’ album along with numerous other songs that Gene had (some of which went on his solo album – not this one).  As they were picking through songs, Bob Ezrin would pick pieces of the demos and they would end of making a new song.  The riff from this song will sound familiar as it would become the riff in the song “Flaming Youth” on ‘Destroyer’. The song kinda sucks, but it has a great solo included and I love the song “Flaming You” so I actually dug this one a bit for that connection.

“God of Thunder” is a demo and the song was originally written and sung by Paul Stanley.  This to me is one of the gems on this Disc because it is so cool to here how Paul envisioned the song.  You can see why Bob Ezrin had Paul give it to Gene to sing because the theme, the sonics and the lyrics all scream Gene’s demon character.  Paul’s version is a faster tempo and less eerie as the final version, but it is fun and a rocking song.

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We go through some songs from ‘Destroyer’ before we get to the next demo which is “Bad, Bad Lovin”.  When you hear this one start up, you know it is the demo for the song that would become “Calling Dr. Love”. The verses are pure “Dr. Love”, but the chorus of “Bad, Bad Lovin” is so bad and doesn’t even fit with the feel and vibe of the verses.  Re-working it become “Calling Dr. Love” was definitely the way to go.  And cool that they put “Calling Dr. Love” as the next song on the album.

“Mr. Speed” is the demo of the song from ‘Rock & Roll Over’.  It is not my favorite song to begin with and this does nothing to make up for that.  This version has Bob Kulick on guitar and not Ace, but it is a demo so no big deal.

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We are going to skip the next batch of songs as they have all been released on albums and we will go to the next unreleased track which is a Soundcheck recording of “I Want You”. It was recorded in August 1977 at the soundcheck  at the Los Angeles forum.  Being a soundcheck, it is loose and a freaking blast!.  I love this song to begin with so any cool version I can get is fine by me.  Another favorite of mine on this disc.

The next demo is of the Kiss Klassic “Love Gun”.  Paul demoed this in New York with drummer Steve Korff of the band The Planets.  Paul played the bass and guitar for the demo.  That machine gun drum fill is the heart & soul of the song and was only replicated by Peter Criss as Paul came up with it.  The demo was pretty complete and sounds really close to the final version so not much was tweaked on this one.

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The last track is the Gene Simmons demo of a song called “Love is Blind”. It is one that was never recorded and it is Gene on all the instruments. And if you listen closely, you can here the click track in the background.  It doesn’t sound anything like Kiss, but maybe would have fit on his solo album as it was so diverse.  Gene felt it had more of an Eagles feel to it and I can hear that it in the overall sound.  A really cool track to me.

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And that is all the unreleased tracks.  Another great disc and almost as good as the first one, but not quite.  The 8 unreleased tracks are fantastic to have in the collection and I think this disc will get almost as much spin time as the first one.  Overall, I will score this one a 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars.  These first two discs were the majority of the Unreleased tracks from the set.  There are only about 10 more over the next three discs so I am going to have to review those slightly different otherwise they will be short reviews.  Until then.  Enjoy!

Check it out and let me know what you think. If you want to go back and read Part 1, click on the link below:

Up next is Disc Three 1976 – 1982 (Part 4 of 6)

My Sunday Song – “Shock Me” by Kiss

For My Sunday Song #133, we are tackling one of my favorite Ace songs from Kiss called “Shock Me”.  It was off the 1977 album, ‘Love Gun’ and it was actually the first song Ace had the lead vocals on.  He had written other songs, but never sang.  Ace intended for Gene to sing, but Gene pushed it back and encouraged Ace to sing this one.  And thankfully that happened as it was a showcase for Ace during their live shows.

On December 12, 1976, Kiss was in concert in Lakeland, Florida when Ace touched a railing that had not been properly grounded and let’s say he got the shock of his life.  That incident was the inspiration for the song even though that is not what the song is about.  The song is about one of Kiss’ favorite subjects.  Nope, not rock & roll, but sex.  That is right, sex.  I know!!  You are surprised and you can’t believe it, but it is the truth.

Now Ace doesn’t have the best voice, but he has a great rock voice.  It is a little gritty and dirty and it is rough just like rock should be.  If you want a pretty voice, go listen to pop music.  I believe I read that Ace recorded this by lying down on the ground.  I don’t know if that is true, but that does sound like something he would do.

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