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Shepherds Bush Empire, London 17 December 2009
comments by Paul Stanley are to be believed, Ace Frehley is a washed up
alcoholic barely capable of standing up, let alone performing. As the
clock ticks perilously close to 10.00 tonight, with still no sign of
Ace, we start to wonder whether there may be some truth to Stanley's
original stage time of 9.00 had already been put back to 9.30 and with
no show at just before 10, the crowd were starting to lose patience –
boos were starting to break out and the natives were restless. Then on
the stroke of 10, the band finally appears and launch into Rocket Ride
at ear-splitting volume. The Space Ace has finally touched down in
Shepherds Bush and he's here to rock.
The set is
quite a bit different, and shorter, than the set Frehley played at last
year's show at the Astoria. With a blizzard blowing up outside, it's
appropriate we get Snow Blind from the original '78 solo album, as well
as a great version of Speeding Back To My Baby, but no New York Groove.
tracks from the excellent new album Anomaly are featured tonight, with
Outer Space proving Ace has not lost his songwriting skills. Rock
Soldiers, complete with crowd sing-along, is the only song from the
Frehley's Comet era to survive.
The rest of
the set, not too surprisingly, is made up of Kiss material. What is
surprising is that a fair few of these Kiss songs are not the ones
penned and sung by Ace. Parasite, Deuce, Love Gun and Shout it out Loud
all feature, as well as the obscure Love Her All I Can from the Dressed
To Kill album.
Of the songs
originally sung by Ace in Kiss, only 2,000 Man and Shock Me, featuring
the obligatory smoking guitar solo, make the set tonight. The reason for
this, we discover half way through the set, is that Ace is suffering
from a bad throat tonight, having played seven shows in eight nights. He
is therefore relying quite heavily on his band members to help out with
the vocals on quite a few of the Kiss numbers, and getting the crowd to
do their bit too.
understandable under the circumstances, it's a shame as we don't get a
lot of the great Ace Kiss originals we could have got such as Hard
Times, Talk To Me and Torpedo Girl. And let's face it, before next
summer Kiss are gonna be in town to play the likes of Love Gun and Deuce
Still all in
all this was a most enjoyable show, even if Ace wasn't quite in top
form. He finishes with an explosive Cold Gin and takes off back to outer
space, until next summer when he is scheduled to return. If his throat
recovers and he hits the stage on time, I think those shows could be out
of this world.
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