So I’m in New York City for a speaking gig at a marketing conference called ClickZ Live and Ace Frehley is playing down the street at BB Kings in Times Square. Having just witnessed the epic David Gilmour show the night before, I think what the hell, I’ve got to keep the rock n roll momentum alive. What better way to do that then to see one of the greatest guitar players of all time?
I’ve been a KISS fan since I was a kid. Growing up I actually thought that these guys had superpowers. Any why wouldn’t I? No one had ever seen KISS without there makeup in the 70’s, something that will never happen again in this real-time media world where virtually every person on the planet has a media studio in their back pocket. In the case of KISS though, they had the songs and the musical chops to not only sustain that mystique, but to take it to another level and Ace was my favorite member.
It’s the second night of two gigs at BB Kings and the place is pretty jam packed. The guy in front of me is wearing a GnR shirt from the shows last weekend in Vegas, he’s from Spain and went to both and now he’s front row for Ace. That’s a fucking rock n roll trooper for ya. He tells me there is a rumor that Paul Stanley is going to make an appearance, something that turned out to be just that, a rumor. I’m there pretty early because Steve Conte (New York Dolls, Company of Wolves) is opening. I’ve never seen this guy before solo.
Conte takes the stage as the leader of a trio and starts to tear through a set of garage rock anthems that sounded something like Springsteen, crossed with The Replacements, with just a touch of the New York Dolls in the form of a 70’s pop punk guitar driven explosion. It was the absolute perfect way to open the show up and I dug it so much that I ran over to say hello and pick up his latest CD. By the way I asked him if he watches the show Vinyl as I’m a huge fan of the show. He say, “yeah, I watch it, but it’s just entertainment, none of that shit really happened.” We chatted a bit more about the show and other rock n roll topics, he’s a really cool dude for the record.
Next up it was time for Ace to hit the stage. I had no idea he had quite the all-star band touring with him. Richie Scarlet (The emperor of Rock n Roll) on guitar, Chris Wyse (Ozzy, The Cult), and drummer Scot Coogan (Brides of Destruction, Lita Ford). Ace wastes no time getting down to business as the band tears into “Rip it Out” the opening cut on his classic solo album from 1978 (which by the way is the highest charting album of all the KISS solo records). Ace and company keep the jams roaring with “Toys” from 2014’s Space Invader.
Ace Frehley’s new album Origins Vol 1 was released just a few weeks ago and features 12 classic rock jams in true Ace Frehley style. Not to mention, the first song recorded with Paul Stanley in 18 years(Jesus, I’m getting old) a fantastic cover of Free’s “Fire and Water”. The rest of the setlist was pretty much a 50/50 split of solo material and KISS classics. There was something for everyone here from “Rock Soldiers” to “Love Gun” to “Deuce”, “Parasite”, you get the idea. I think the show could have easily gone on for another hour as the crowd was absolutely losing their shit the entire time. New York City loves their Space Man, and he shared the love back with one hell of a live show.
Bottom line: Ace is the fucking man and his band absolutely slays it live. I would go see this show every single night for a month if it was possible. Every fan of rock n roll needs to see this guy live at least once in their life.