Last Sunday the Tarrytown Music Hall in Tarrytown, New York hosted the original Spaceman himself, one of the great founders of KISS, Ace Frehley.
Once I received word that Mr. Frehley was going to be coming within 15 minutes of me I knew I had to go. As much as I would love for the orignal Kiss lineup to reunite, I know that is not likely, and besides, I really like Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer. So I must trek out on my own to see Ace and Peter Criss.
I arrived at the small venue and was immediately excited. This concert was going to be intimate and up close. The show promptly began at 7:00 with the opener, Simo. To say the least, they are now one of my favorite bands. I will have a post on them later.
After Simo’s 30-45 minute set and a quick stage setup, Ace came out in all his glory singing one of his signature Kiss songs “Rip it Out.” There was something about his presence that demanded your attention. His saunter onto the stage emulated royalty.
Throughout the set Ace went through many of the songs he sang lead on while in Kiss including “Parasite,” “Shock Me,” and “Cold Gin.” He also sang his signature solo hits “New York Groove” and “Rock Solider.” He sang a few songs that were lesser known off his solo albums as well as a few covers. Ace’s voice was on par. I was a bit surprised at this initially due to his well publicized addiction problems. His voice didn’t portray that struggle. His vocals were just as strong as they had been in the 1970’s
Although Ace has been long removed from Kiss, the show was not without its antics. He still had his solo smoke guitar that emitted enough smoke to reach the balcony. During “New York Groove,” my favorite number, he had a guitar lined with lights. It was pretty awesome when they took the stage lights down and all you saw was a guitar lighting the stage.
Then there’s Ace’s guitar solos. Really, who can compete? His style is one of a kind.
But sadly, those were the biggest highlights for me. The rest of the concert was simply a band rocking out with a dash of a Kiss tribute. The band sounded great, but it wasn’t the same hearing “Love Gun” sung by a random drummer. This pattern continued through songs like “Detroit Rock City” and “Deuce.”
The band was phenomenal, but they weren’t who I wanted to see. They were all very talented in their own right, but I didn’t pay to see a jam session. There was this awful bass player (I think it was bass). I don’t even think he was playing half the time with the way he was swinging his guitar around. He acted like he was strung out on something and that he was the star of the show. In many ways, he distracted from Ace big time.
As I walked away from the concert I felt it was sub par. I wish that Ace had played and sang more of his solo material and done just a medley of his Kiss songs. He has an excellent solo catalog. Although I am not familiar with all his solo albums, I wanted to see Ace Frehley and the artist he is alone.
Basically, the concert needed more Ace.
In the end I am glad that I attended the show. It’s not everyday that you see a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame play and beyond my previous comments, I didn’t walk away unsatisfied. I just felt it was mediocre and I know it could have been better.
Next time, Ace just needs to be Ace and bask in his personal musical glory.