Ace Frehley

It’s clear from the sea of Ace Frehley and KISS t-shirts, several visible tattoos and the face paint, that there’s much love for the Spaceman. Even after he left KISS there was a loyal following that’s continued on through his solo albums and various incarnations and for good reason.

Although KISS hard rock and glam mixture includes make up, killer costumes, stages of fancy lighting and a hell of a lot of cult like marketing, one of the reasons they’re so successful is the strength of the song writing and some of the fan favourites are written and performed by Ace. So on this warm Melbourne night, it was no surprise that fans would be lined up early outside The Forum to rush in and get the best spot in the venue awaiting their idol.

Promoter John Howarth walked out to a packed house and introduced who we were all waiting for, the legend that is Ace Frehley! The room’s vibe had hit the right sweet spot for the night and after some atmospheric music to build the buzz it was straight into the staple opener for this tour, 'Rocket Ride'! It was not only the opener but also one of the crowd favourites of the night with the to be expected chorus singalongs.

In 2004 Guitar World named the self-taught Frehley as the 14th Greatest Metal Guitarist of all time. His body of work and song writing is brilliant, his style and technicality is stunning and some of his solos rank high in many best of lists the world over. We were treated to many of those including KISS classics like 'Shock Me', 'Strutter', 'Love Gun', 'Talk To Me', 'Detroit Rock City', 'King Of The Night Time World' and 'Strange Ways' from their 1974 album Hotter Than Hell which has been touted as including one of the greatest guitar solos of all time.

The KISS classics are to be expected stand outs but also new tracks like 'Toys' and the title track from his latest album Space Invaderwere incredible. 'Toys' has that distinctive Frehley style riff that instantly hooks you and gets your head banging coupled with some howling guitar work throughout and a killer solo.

It wasn’t just Ace that was brilliant. His band consists of guitarist Richie Scarlet (who played on Ace’s 1989 Trouble Walkin’album and has toured with Sebastian Bach), bassist Chris Wyse (Ozzy Obsourne and blew us away while performing with The Cult on their last Australian tour, also played on Ace’s latest album, 2014’s Space Invader) and drummer Scot Coogan (Lita Ford, Nikki Sixx and played on Ace’s 2009 Anomaly album). This goes to show you the calibre of who else was on stage. It was an absolutely solid set filled with a stack of classics, some new tracks, epic bass and drum solos as well as of course jaw-dropping guitar solos.

During the KISS songs that Ace didn’t sing on, the vocal duties were shared by the band with Coogan doing Paul Stanley’s, Scarlet Gene Simmons and Wyse Peter Criss. Given Ace’s profile it’s great to see all the members still sharing the spotlight. Wyse’s bass solo was epic. From some guttural and downright dirty low-end riffs to higher more melodic finger tapping, such a pleasure to watch. However, none could quite top Frehley, he just oozes charisma and style as well as the signature solos with his Gibsons; one that lights up during New York Groove as the stage lights are turned down and his trademarked Les Paul with the customised pick up that has smoke pouring out as he’s tearing through a solo; both originating back in the ‘70s but still so cool to see live today.

After finally seeing him live, I think it's time that KISS should drop the "You wanted the best, you got the best..." intro and pass it on to Ace forever.

Highlights: Easily '2000 Man' and 'Deuce', 'Strutter', 'Detroit Rock City', 'Love Gun', 'Space Invader', 'Rock Soldiers', 'Talk To Me', 'New York Groove', '2 Young 2 Die' and the one that’s stayed in my head since the gig finished, 'Toys'.

The Dwarf's photo gallery by Barry Takes Photos:

'2000 Man' at The Metro Theatre, Sydney (Thursday April 30, 2015)

The complete Sydney concert at The Metro Theatre:
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