September 15th was a tough night to play a gig in Chicago thanks to the massive AC/DC show at Wrigley Field, and the not quite half full Aracada Theater reflected that. But despite that or maybe because of it, Ex-KISS guitarist Ace Frehley rocked the house in St. Charles, Illinois, bringing his A-game and playing with a serious amount of energy and panache.
Opening up the show with 2014’s “Toys” and “Gimme a Feelin’,” both from the Space Invader release, Ace was on fire as he played his iconic Gibson sunburst guitar with the lightning bolt guitar strap (and a NASA sticker on the back). “Rocket Ride” and “Parasite” were the lead ups to crowd favorite “Love Gun,” sung by drummer Scott Coogan. Ace had help from his talented band, and in return he featured solos for everyone, including bassist Chris Wyse.
After years of heavy drinking and hard partying through the height of KISS’ fame, Frehley told the crowd that the night of the show marked his nine-year anniversary of sobriety. But that certainly didn’t detract from the 64-year old’s true rockstar status: he never once took his sunglasses off, and he was wearing a black t-shirt that read, New York City, paying tribute to his home town. The singer got a break when he had Wyse sing lead on “Strange Ways” and let guitarist Richie Scarlet sing “Breakout.”
Smoke poured from Ace’s guitar during “Shock Me,” and he went right into a ripping solo. Frehley closed the show with “Detroit Rock City,” and the one most people came to see– “Deuce” from his 1978 solo record.
AC/DC may have been playing right down the road, but inside the Arcada Theater, there was only one legend worth watching, and he definitely didn’t disappoint.
– Laura Sedor