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Event Review

Ace Frehley
Astoria London - 11/04/2008
Review & photos: Paul Finn

It's been a long wait since any member of KISS made it to these shores and sung (Gene singing to old fogies in Lowestoft doesn't count) but this weekend changed that. The first time in almost 9 years that Ace has played the UK and it was worth the wait!

I was really surprised at the size of the queue when we got there - right round the back of the Astoria and then some! For a show that was supposedly not sold out there was a hell of a lot of people there. We managed to get in just after TigertailZ hit the stage and while I wasn't there to see them they did a great job of getting the crowd ready for Ace.

Once Ace hit the stage and started with Rip It Out the crowd went wild, the whole bloody floor was shaking, Ace was back (and he told us so). The show was made up of mainly his KISS stuff with a couple of Frehley's Comet tunes too, although sadly non of his new material from the new album out "later this year".

Hard Times followed next, it was pretty clear from this that the setlist was going to be full of songs most KISS fans have wanted them to play for years - confirmed by Parasite, Snowblind and I Want You.

Then the solo song I was really hoping he'd play, Rock Soldiers - I love this song, it's just soooo Ace and he nailed it. Next up was Breakout which was dedicated to it's cowriter, Eric Carr, not surprisingly this got a huge reaction from the crowd. Then Ace sung a song which he said was "the last song I recorded with my previous band" - Into The Void. The reaction to this can only be compared to being near the front of the stage when KISS performed Psycho Circus in Wembley, everyone went nuts, most people will probably disagree with me but I really think KISS have overlooked the PC album at live shows, their mistake as Ace has proved.

More classic KISS and Ace next - Strangeways followed by a medley of Torpedo Girl, Speedin' Back To My Baby, Five Card Stud, Trouble Walkin' and Stranger in a Strange Land. Ace also confirmed his return to the UK at Download 2008!!!!

Some time around here Ace announced "get the midget up here" he was referring to our very own Dan Bach who unknown to me had been lifted out of the front row by security. Ace's tour manager led him back stage where he got to view the show from stage left! Ace dragged Dan on stage (twice!) and the crowed went mad - I'm pretty sure everyone in there knew Dan and just how important he is to KISS fans in the UK. Hats off to Ace & his crew for looking after him, quote "we have to look after each other". You more than deserved the best seat in the house Dan!

For me the highlight of the show was yet to come - my favourite 4 Ace songs in a row - New York Groove (with flashing guitar), 2,000 Man (dedicated to Jagger & Richards) and of course Shock Me (with solo & smoke bomb) and Rocket Ride.

And that was it for the main part of the show. How the hell could Ace do an encore when he'd already sung his best material???? Only by belting out some of my favourite KISS songs too!!! Deuce was fantastic, every bit as good as his version on his Live album, it was introduced as "when I was 23 I walked into that loft and was asked to play along to this song" (or something like that). Love Her All I Can (sung by Ace's bassist, Love Gun (sung by the drummer and introduced with a nice complement to Paul Stanley) and finally the show came to a climatic end with Cold Gin.

Well, what else can I say? The show was fantastic, Ace was in great shape, his band were fantastic (as much as I would have liked to have seen Anton, Tod and John, these guys were spot on) and the set list was out of this world. KISS take note, you could learn something from the Spaceman!

Highlights: Into The Void, New York Groove, 2000 Man
Low points: Only one - Ace's Mexican joke!!!