Live Gig Report and Photos: Robert Cavuoto
There can be only one Spaceman and Ace Frehley is it! Former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley took a detour on route to his home planet, Jendell, to perform a blistering set at the Playstation Theater in New York on September 23rd.
Not many bands today still embody the spirit of a classic rock band but Ace always hits the mark. Armed with his signature Gibson Les Paul and dressed in a blazer, Led Zeppelin shirt, with sunglasses; Ace took his fan on an almost two hour time traveling space ride through past and present. Delivering tracks from Kiss, Frehley’s Comets, and his solo CDs. Many of which were written 30 to 40 years ago, yet they still stand up to the test of time.
There are a distinct stage chemistry and comradery between the band members; you can see why Ace assembled them. On guitar & vocals is long time Ace friend, collaborator, and madman Richie Scarlett, Chris Wyse of The Cult was on bass & vocals and Scott Coogan on drums & vocals. The band laid down a solid driving beat like a runaway train giving Ace plenty of space to fill the gaps with soulful leads and soar. Each member got their time in the spotlight. Chris had a bass solo and sang “Strange Ways.” Scott took on vocal duties for a few Paul Stanley’s classics like “Love Gun” and “Detroit Rock City.” Richie put on a pyrotechnic display of guitar acrobats and sang “2 Young2 Die” which he dedicated to Mark St. John.
At 65, Ace continues to showcase his ability to be a legendary guitarist and a premier frontman. His voice was in perfect form tonight and provided the icing on the cake for his playing.
Ace has always had his own undeniable and identifiable style of playing and songwriting that marries melodic riffs with catchy choruses. His leads are like mini-symphonies and just as memorable as the songs themselves. He has an uncanny ability to create a wide variety of songs then tie a ribbon around the collection live to have them all sound like one cohesive unit whether written 40 years ago or on a recent solo CD. Tonight he assembled the perfect combination of songs that mirrored just that; highlights included “Rip it Out,” “Rocket Ride,” “Snow Blind,” “Cold Gin,” “Sister,” “New York Groove,” and “Rock Soldier.”
With a can of Coke in hand, Ace announced he is in his 10th year of sobriety casting any doubts that he is in total control. His performance and searing guitar playing were spot on where no fan left disappointed.
Three-quarters into the show, the moment fans had waited for arrived; Ace exploded into “Shock Me” with his blue and silver smoking Les Paul. One of his most iconic songs combined with a 10-minute solo while smoke billowed from his guitar.
Ace Frehley and his band provided an evening filled with tremendous flashbacks from the 70s, great guitar playing, and created some amazing memories with his latest songs.
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