As I sat down to write this review I got to thinking, what could I say about Ace Frehley that hasn’t already been said over a 40 plus year career? What can be said about a performer that in his career has had hundreds of millions in record sales, toured the world multiple times, and been part of arguably the biggest band in the world (KISS), not only a part but a founding member? What can you say about a guitar legend and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer? I’m just not sure how to go about answering all those questions, but tonight he came to Riverside Park in the small Appalachian town of Whitesburg nestled deep in the mountains of Southeast Kentucky to play for his Kentucky rock soldiers!
One of the challenges of having an outdoor show during the spring of the year is the chance of severe weather. Unfortunately that chance became a reality tonight. When I arrived at the venue, about an hour and a half before Downtrend was to take the stage, the sky was mostly clear with some dark rain clouds in the distance that seemed to be moving away from us. That changed in a hurry, as soon as Downtrend’s Josh, Mike, J.D. and Jeremy took the stage. They got about 25 seconds of a song played when that weather arrived! They quickly left the stage and most everyone headed for cover. That was the start of a two and a half hour weather delay. Unfortunately that delay ate up all the time slotted for the three opening bands. So we didn’t get to hear from Downtrend, The Steve Sizemore Group or Tuk Smith’s new band Tuk Smith and the Restless Hearts, but they hung around to catch Ace. Why you ask? Because you don’t pass on a chance to see a rock and roll legend!
Ace Frehley took the stage at around 9:45 pm local time and wasted no time showing this crowd why he is a legend. Speaking of the crowd, most if not all stayed through that lengthy delay. Waiting for this very moment when Ace took the stage. He went straight into “Rip It Out” “Parasite” and “Hard Times” talking to the crowd between songs, thanking everyone for hanging around through the weather. He then played “Watchin’ You” a Kiss song from 1974’s ‘Hotter Than Hell’ that doesn’t get played live very often. The Whitesburg crowd may have been wet and tired from the long wait but they were loud and enthusiastic, singing to every song and reacting to everything Ace did on stage. They were about to lose their collective minds because as the night went on the hits got bigger. “Rock Soldiers” “New York Groove” “Shock Me” (complete with smoking guitar solo) and “Gold Gin” closed out his set. But he wasn’t finished! “Detroit Rock City” and “Deuce” finished the night off!
The Evening With…Concert Series does it again! The Space Man, Ace Frehley joins a list of rock and roll legends that have come through our small Eastern Kentucky area. A list that included Glenn Hughes, Brad Whitford, Colin Hay, Vinny Appice, Phil Soussan and Vivian Campbell just to name a few. Keep an eye out for upcoming shows! As always get out and support live music. Support your local venues and bands, yes even Ace and Kiss were a local band at one time.