Live Review: Ace Frehley at the House of Blues, Hollywood, 3.25.08 Print
Sunday, 06 April 2008 18:35
Image By Ronny North - GJD Contributor
I was really psyched when I heard that Ace Frehley was doing a tour this year. My connection to Ace began at the age of fourteen when I received KISS's Destroyer record for Christmas. That spring my father took my brother and I to see our first concert in 1977. It was KISS on their Love Gun tour at the peak of their fame. After seeing the band live in action, Ace became my first guitar hero and KISS became my favorite band. I decided to start playing guitar, and I wanted to play like I Ace in the worst way. He is really the reason I play guitar today.

Heading into the show at the Hollywood HOB, I didn’t know what to expect since he hadn’t toured solo in years. I have seen Ace play live in KISS several times over the years, but for whatever reason I have never seen his solo tours.

When we arrived at the House of Blues for the show, there was a great crowd in attendance. I decided to watch the show from behind the soundboard so I could see and hear everything perfectly. Soon the house lights went out and intro music came on with a cool women’s voice doing a count down from the smoke filled neon lit stage and then some lasers started going off. It all looked great. Then Ace hit the stage with his band and his trade mark Cherry Sunburst 3 pickup Gibson Les Paul in his hands and dove into his song “Rip it Out”.

From the start, you could tell that Ace was playing and singing in great form and his band was tight. Throughout the evening they played all Ace’s hits from his solo records and some KISS classics as well. Some of the songs they performed were "Shock Me", "Fractured Mirror", "2000 Man", "Rocket Ride", "New York Groove" (where he played his light up guitar), and many more.
Being a guitarist myself, I was curious to see how Ace's playing was these days. He’s probably playing better than I have seen him play in years and really does have a unique signature guitar style. Ace was playing all of his classic solos perfect and had that great classic "Ace tone" and was obviously having a great time on stage - and seemed very relaxed and chatted with the very appreciative crowd throughout the show. As you would expect, Ace did his patented extended guitar solo with his guitar catching on fire, and needless to say, it brought the house down. The place was packed and the crowd was with him the entire show.

Ace’s band on this tour consisted of Scot Cogan on Drums and vocals, Anthony Esposito on Bass and Vocals, and Derrek Hawkins on Rhythm guitar and backing vocals. Both Anthony and Scot took turns singing lead on some of the classic KISS songs, and being a major KISS fanatic myself I can honestly say that the KISS songs sounded better than I’ve ever heard KISS do them in recent years. Some of the KISS songs the band performed were "Parasite", "Cold Gin", "Love Gun" to name a few. During the show, it made me realize how many great songs and classic riffs that Ace has come up with over the years. He is really one of the legendary guitar greats - and if you get a chance you definitely have to catch him on his current tour.

When I got home from the show I was very inspired. The first thing I did was pick up my Les Paul and started playing ‘Rocket Ride”. Isn’t that what it’s all about????