|Ace in Seattle. (All Andy photos and videos)|
As a KISS fanatic in 1978, I was faced with a serious conundrum. I know I wasn't the only KISS Army card-carrying member who was in this predicament, but it seemed liked the weight of the world was on my scrawny 11-year-old shoulders.
While staring at the rows of new releases on Sept. 18 at Music Plus in Hermosa Beach, CA, I had a brutal choice on my rock n' roll plate: Ace, Gene, Paul or Peter? As in which solo album would I purchase with my allowance cash from mowing the family lawn, taking out the trash, etc. I could only afford one of those albums at the time... goddammit, which one would travel home with me?
I scratched my head and went with Ace since he was my favorite band member because he seemed like the most wacky and original of the bunch, plus his riveting guitaristry blew my mind each time I cranked my albums. While walking toward the cashier, an older friend of mine from the baseball diamond spied my Ace album and asked why I didn't grab Gene's. C'mon man, you're making this even harder for me now! But I went with Ace's and it would soon be spinning on my turntable as I grabbed my tennis racket to play some stunning guitar along with my favorite tune "Rip it Out" and the other gems. (I never got the other solo albums, but I did grab Gene's "Radioactive" single, which is awesome.)
I heard from a school pal whose family had the subscription ON TV that he saw a KISS concert on there and was mesmerized by Ace's smoking guitar. I'd seen photos but never caught a clip of the action. Another buddy had actually seen KISS and showed me his photos from the nosebleed seats since I needed proof. I was fucking jealous, of course.
Although I never caught KISS in their heyday, Cat and I along with our friends Linda and Kevin witnessed the original quartet at a glorious concert in San Jose on their reunion tour in 1996. We were a few sections up from the floor on Ace's side of the stage and I was stoked beyond belief to see my main man, The Spaceman, display his guitar wizardry in the flesh.
So, where does this all take me now?
Well, last night Cat and I along with our KISS aficionado friends Gregg, Andrea and Mark who roadtripped it to Seattle from Portland entered Ace land at the Neptune Theatre. Mr. Frehley and his band wailed through my old fave "Rip it Out," plus ragers like "Shock Me," "Rocket Ride," "Parasite," "Cold Gin," "Love Gun," "Deuce," "Detroit Rock City" and much more. Pearl Jam's Mike McCready joined the fray onstage to supply some axework to "Cold Gin" (video clip below).
And yes, there was some smoking guitar action -- right in my face -- as witnessed in the video in this entry. There was flashing guitar as well during "New York Groove" and blistering leads galore, of course.
Ace can still bring it hard, man, and yeah, that solo album still holds up after all these years.