Legendary guitarist Ace Frehley’s debut headlining show at Whisky A Go-Go brings out the KISS Army’s rock soldiers to the Sunset Strip.
Legendary KISS guitarist Ace Frehley headline The Whisky A Go-Go for the first time ever on February 27 and he did not leave without tearing the roof off of the joint. The 71-year-old rock icon looked great and was in High spirits as he continually tossed guitar picks to the fans and shared stories about his life in music.
“The Spaceman” may have been unmasked but he definitely brought back the same raw energy and ferocious hard-rockin’ energy that helped make KISS one of the biggest bands in the world. Frehley started the show at around 9:45 p.m. and immediately had the crowd fist-pumping when he opened the show with “Rip it Out,” the killer opening track to his 1978 KISS-related solo album. The second the opening chords of “Rip It Out” started to echo throughout the room, the suddenly ubiquitous devil’s horns salutes let you know the crowd of diehard rock soldiers from the KISS Army were pleased.
The legendary guitarist has inspired probably half of the rock bands of the last five decades, and the crowd at the Whisky was made up of a good mix of young and older fans, many of them sporting KISS t-shirts.
Frehley never sounded better, tearing into another track from his first solo album. The hard-rockin’ “Snow Blind” actually seemed like the perfect theme for the evening considering that the weather that night was so severe that it was snowing in parts of Hollywood, and the show looked like it may have been in jeopardy. But the fans turned out and the nearly sold out show was packed all the way to the back of the room.
The former KISS shredder kept the solo vibe going a bit more, rolling through “Speedin’ Back to My Baby” before taking the show up a first notches with KISS’ “Parasite.”
It was hard to tell who was having a better time, the crowd or the band on stage. Frehley’s band was amazing and included longtime drummer Matt Starr, a frequent guest artist at Whisky’s Jam Night Hollywood who was especially spot-on while covering KISS’ classics, including effortlessly handling lead vocals on “Detroit Rock City.”
Before kicking into “Rock Soldiers'” which is arguably one of Frehley’s best solo songs, he provided a brief music history lesson. The NYC-born singer-songwriter mentioned that he wrote the song with Chip Taylor, who, he said, is Angelina Jolie‘s uncle and Jon Voight‘s brother. (Taylor also wrote the classics “Wild Thing” and “Angel of the Morning.”) “Rock Soldiers” had the crowd joining freely on the chorus at full volume, helping Ace deliver his anthem about keeping the flame of rock and roll alive. It was especially cool to experience this ode to hard rock devotees at the iconic Whisky during Frehley’s first-ever headlining gig at the world-famous L.A. club.
Before closing out the show, Ace covered his Frehley’s Comet era with “Insane” and, of course, delivered his biggest solo hit, “New York Groove” plus a few more KISS staples that he co-wrote, including “Rocket Ride” and “Getaway.”
He also included “Shock Me” in the set after revealing that he was inspired to write the song after being electrocuted during a KISS concert in Clearwater, Florida, in the Seventies.
Frehley closed out his stellar headlining show with the KISS classics “Cold Gin,” and, for an encore, “Deuce,” but not before delivering a 10-minute guitar solo that was so hot it was literally smoking. Ace introduced his slick new Gibson guitar with blinking LED lights that proceeded to smoke as he soloed.
After he spent most of the show tossing out guitar picks to fans throughout the crowd, Frehley let them know that he had as good of a time as they did. “I’ve been playing guitar for 50 years, and I never had a lesson!” he announced with a laugh that seemed to indicate that even he was awed by the show.