The House of Blues Cleveland located in the Rock ‘n Roll Capital of the World welcomed guitar icon Ace Frehley with open arms. A line wrapped around the venue with anxious KISS and Ace T-shirt wearing fans waiting to get their glimpse of Space Ace, on his Spaceman 2019 Tour.
With sparse tour dates on the schedule, Cleveland was lucky enough to be a stop on this tour, and the fans showed up and packed the venue. Located less than one mile from the Rock & Roll Hall Fame, where Ace is enshrined as a member of KISS, The House of Blues was a perfect venue for a tour stop. With great views of the stage from just about anywhere in the venue, it provided an up-close and personal experience.
Ace’s unorthodox playing style did not keep him from rising to become one of the most popular rock guitarists in the world back in the seventies. His sound and style are his biggest asset, allowing him to set himself apart from industry standards even to this day. His unique approach seems to mirror his demeanor and is a treat to catch live.
With his Bronx Boy accent present in his vocals, Ace serves up a straight forward performance. Suited up in Ray-Bans, an embroidered jacket, a t-shirt, and cowboy boots he shed the full production years ago. Here tonight with his energetic backup band, Ace was ready to share cuts from his storied career.
As the track Fractured Mirror played over the house system, the crowd was chanting “Ace, Ace, Ace…“. It did not take long for Ace to make his appearance at center stage and strike up Rip It Out as the first song of the night. Quickly moving on to Parasite you could get a glimpse of what ’74 brought the world while watching Ace rip through this song and its awesome guitar riff.
As they approached the halfway point and finshed up Rocket Ride Ace asked, “Is that loud enough? We can fu**in’ turn it up.” It was plenty loud, and it sounded great throughout the venue.
Check Out the Mission to Mars Video
The middle of the set featured some deeper cuts. It was a great surprise to hear Strange Ways and the Rolling Stones cover 2000 Man. These songs set the table for the rock anthems to follow. Rock Soldiers, New York Groove, and Shock Me (which featured his lengthy smoke-filled guitar solo) brought the power rock back to the stage as they closed in on the end.
Ace lamented prior to the final song in the main set, “I don’t drink no more. But back in the Seventies, I drank a lot. When I say a lot… I mean a lot! I wrote this drinking song. I think I wrote it on the Subways of New York. It’s called Cold Gin.” As he played the opening chords it felt as raw as the day it was written.
Ace and company exited the stage for a moment to cheers and the chants of “Ace, Ace, Ace…” struck up again in anticipation of an encore. To the delight of the crowd, he had saved two of the most powerful songs of the night with Detroit Rock City and Deuce.
The energy the backup band had tonight created a serious backbone for Ace’s laid back delivery. With a set split with classic KISS tunes and Ace Frehley solo cuts, it was a celebration of everything Ace Frehley.
On point delivery, without the use of a full stage production or backing tracks, gave the night the raw feel rock ‘n roll is supposed to have.
Get up on stage, make your instrument speak, and connect with the crowd – that’s how it’s supposed to be done. It was all that one could have expected and more with the intimate setting making for an in-the-moment feeling all night.
Ace said it best back in 1987, and it still rings true today – “Rock soldiers! How do we know? Ace is back and he told you so.”
- Rip It Out
- Hard Times
- Watchin’ You
- I Wanna Go Back
- Rocket Ride
- Mission To Mars
- Strange Ways
- 2000 Man
- Rock Soldiers
- New York Groove
- Shock Me
- Cold Gin
It’s still not too late you line up your date with Ace. A handful of performances are still on his limited date schedule.