It might have been a school night but that didn’t stop the rock enthusiasts from venturing out to see two of the biggest names in rock history together on the one bill – Gene Simmons and Ace Frehley. What makes this show even more extraordinary is the massive marathon long haul flight to get to Adelaide from Quebec in Canada, four flights, layovers and rolling in to town late on show day and you wouldn’t even know it. The performance was a little ‘loose’ but everyone looked like they were having a blast up on stage.
Gene’s band which was the same band for Ace Frehley’s set were super tight and no doubt were the best of the best featuring guitarist Phil Shouse, drummer Jarred Pop, guitarists Jeremy Asbrock and Ryan Cook. Incredible musicians who coincidentally did not rehearse with Ace Frehley literally meeting an hour before the show and didn’t skip a beat.
Ace Frehley has a huge fan base here and there’s plenty of love for the “Spaceman” (aka Space Ace) as he whipped up a storm before Gene came out. As the lights went went the band walked out to Fractured Mirror before tearing the Ent Cent a new one with Parasite. Ace seemed in pretty good spirits saying that he was happy to be hanging out with his pal Gene Simmons not knowing where the “fuck he is”. Hard Times was great and The Rolling Stones cover 2000 Man was solid. Ace said “try 2018 Man” commenting on all the rock soldiers out there proceeding to play Rock Soldiers.
The big Kiss songs kept a coming with Love Gun, Rocket Ride and Strange Ways and then throw in Rip It Out from his first solo album. Playing with his new band was that fresh Ace couldn’t remember their names saying that he needed to write them down. Talk To Me was a big hit here in the eighties followed by Talk To Me to which Ace commented that “we tried, it’s a retro guitar that doesn’t stay in tune” and that he should bring an extra one next time. New York Groove seems to be a set staple these days and Ace kept the humour going by saying that with him being added to the Kiss Kruise resulted in it being sold out. Ace got insightful saying with all the unrest, hurricanes and shit going on nothing would Shock Me complete with guitar solo and smoking guitar. Running out of time there was a quick poll for either Detroit Rock City or Cold Gin with the later being played. It was a solid set from Ace who would later return to play with Gene Simmons.
Gene Simmons was great despite being jet lagged taking fans through the vast back catalogue of hits. Gene asked how it sounds and that they were not messing around saying that we will have a good time. Right from first drop it was Deuce and Shout It Loud was great. Asking for a towel Gene said he was sweating like Mike Tyson at a spelling bee then playing Kiss’s first single Nothing To Lose followed by Almost Human. There were a couple of songs that they didn’t quite hit it with Love ‘Em, Leave ‘Em and Two Timer prompting Gene to say that they’ll do that all night until they click and that it was all about having fun as they didn’t know what they are doing.
The band was back on track with Calling Dr. Love and Radioactive asking the crowd if they remember Mr Ed or The Three Stooges and that they were Five! Gene spoke about “this chick” who approached him about wanting to sing with him dragging her up on stage (well Rose from Mere Machine) to sing I Was Made For Lovin’ You. Not a bad feather in the cap to have there. There was more Kiss classics with Do You Love Me and Sweet Pain. There was a nod and a wink to some all time legends such as Little Richard and Chuck Berry prompting an insightful quote from Gene saying that their music was “the seed from which victory came”. So with that was a tribute playing the Little Richard cover Long Tall Sally.
There was a big cheer when Gene announced that there would be a three year long final tour before rocking in to the Love Theme From Kiss. War Machine was cool and She’s So European was changed to She’s So Australian. The Australian accents need a bit of work though! I’m not a huge fan of seeing crowd members up on stage but no doubt it would have great to be talking about how they were up there singing on I Love It Loud. Let Me Go, Rock ‘N Roll was great and seeing Ace rocking with Gene on Rock And Roll All Nite was a great way to bring the show to a close. I don’t think there would have too many people disappointed with what they experienced.
Live Review by Rob Lyon