with opener The Harlis Sweetwater Band
The House of Blues
December 7, 2014
Writing and Photography by TourBusLive.com
KISS was everything to the children of the Seventies. They were OUR super-heroes. They were OUR Beatles. They were OUR band. They were the masked faces on our lunch boxes, our bed sheets, and even our underwear. And, at a time when there was little choice other than disco on our radios, KISS became something this fan (and fans like me all over the world) could sink our rebellious teeth into. KISS was (and still is) rock and roll.
So it’s no surprise that the four original members of KISS – Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss, and Ace Frehley (the unlikely target of my early teen infatuation) – are cited as influencing more of today’s rock and roll musicians than any other band. Period.
And, regardless of his exit from KISS all the way back in 1982 (with a questionable reunion in 1996), lead guitarist and resident spaceman ACE FREHLEY still tops all the lists – “Best Guitarist” or “Greatest Guitar Solos” or whatever Guitar God list they are compiling at the moment. So, yeah, Ace Frehley has no problem attracting huge crowds of fans whenever he ventures out on tour – which is, at best, rare.
Okay, okay…seeing ACE FREHLEY is not the same as seeing KISS, but I assure you, it’s the next best thing.
Luckily for us, ACE FREHLEY brought his short (it began only a hair over three weeks earlier) SPACE INVADER TOUR to an end on December 7 right in our own backyard at the House of Blues in Anaheim. Touring in support of his sixth solo studio album SPACE INVADER (which peaked at no. 9 on the US Billboard 200), Ace, who proclaimed on stage that he is now eight years sober (thankfully, as his dependency issues were the reason we KISS fans missed out on seeing him as much as we would have liked over the years), brought along guitarist RICHIE SCARLET and drummer SCOT COOGAN, who have both previously recorded and toured with Ace, as well as CHRIS WYSE (formerly of The Cult), whose mega bass solo mid-way through the set kicked some major ass.
And while the faithful KISS and Ace fans packed the House of Blues on a Sunday night, the sold out crowd did get a little feisty as they waited more than an hour for Ace to make an appearance after opener THE HARLIS SWEETWATER BAND had finished (a great, GREAT local band, by the way – check them out at http://www.harlissweetwater.com). But the impatient mob quickly forgot all about his tardiness the second Ace took the stage. Looking healthy and sounding happy at the microphone in between songs, the 63-year old guitarist played more than a 90-minute set filled with enough KISS songs to keep any KISS fan happy, enough Ace songs to make us all happy, and enough ripping guitar solos to keep Ace’s badass triple pickup cherry sunburst Gibson Les Paul happy. OH, and let’s not forget the epic solo following (as it always has) “Shock Me”, where Ace literally made his Les Paul smoke. Seriously signature Ace – as if 1977 was only yesterday.
Okay, so it’s not 1977, but 2014 still has ACE FREHLEY – so how bad can it really be!!
*SPOTTED IN THE CROWD: Surprisingly, two musicians other than those on stage made the drive to Anaheim – Guitarist John 5 (Rob Zombie) and drummer John Tempesta (The Cult). John Tempesta John Tempesta
(Fractured Mirror pre-recorded intro)
Rip It Out
Gimme A Feelin’
King of the Night Time World
(Chris Wyse bass solo)
New York Groove
(Ace guitar solo with Smoke)
2 Young 2 Die
Detroit Rock City