Hunnypot Does...
Powered by CircleSquareLA


Written by 

Living in California,  you develop a love-hate relationship with driving.  Some people hate driving, even for 10 minutes, while others love the prospect of getting behind the wheel.  I happen to belong to the latter.  For me, It’s a little bit of peacetime for myself; therapy if you will.  This past Saturday I was afforded over 2 hours of alone time in my four-wheeled bubble.  I was driving from Orange County to Agoura Hills to see one of my boyhood heroes, former KISS Lead guitarist Ace Frehley in concert.  I spent most of the two hours re-familiarizing myself with his music; the oldies from the ’70s and of course his solo efforts.  Some of the memories that his music conjured up for me were those days in my bedroom listening to their live album, Alive II, staring at the gatefold for hours and imagining myself in the crowd watching the spectacle that was KISS.

I distinctly remember back in those times that I always thought he was the coolest of the four . Oh sure, Gene Simmons spit blood and blew fire across the stage, and Paul Stanley presumably could snap his finger and be adored by every female in the crowd.  But Ace was just cool.  Oddly, as crazy as he was, he always seemed like the most normal of all of them.

Since his exit from KISS in the early ’80s, Frehley has enjoyed a decent career on his own.  He’s put out a few albums here and there which seems appropriate because while onstage he always appeared to be the reluctant frontman.  A bit shy perhaps.  Free to continue his career at his own pace, I get the feeling that he just wanted it to be about the music and he wanted to play guitar.  Again, every-man's rock star.

When I finally entered the show this very distinct feeling washed over me which felt like I walked into a room full of friends.  Everybody was smiling, polite, and just plain enjoying themselves.  The night began with a set by a band called Like It. Out of New York, these four guys played a pretty decent set of originals and mixed in a little bit of comedy, keeping the whole evening very light and loose.  You probably won’t hear any of their stuff on the radio soon, but they were a boatload of fun just the same.  Looking back a perfect band to open the night.

Finally, the stage crew was finished and the band members each took their position one by one.  The crowd let out a massive roar when Ace made his way to center stage.  He worked the crowd up a bit more, then finally belted out his patented 1-2-3-4 and there it was, the first notes of the classic, “Rip it Out”.   I immediately felt they were on point and this show was going to be something special.  The sound was loud and clear, the guitars big and clean, drums rattling the remaining glassware from dinner.  Bottom line, we were off and running!  Finally, Ace broke into the first line of the song and that was the cherry on top.  Holy crap this was phenomenal!

The second song, “Parasite”, for me has one of the most devastating riffs you’ll ever hear in rock and roll.  It came early in the set on this night.  Originally sung by Gene Simmons when this song came out (apparently because of Ace’s lack of confidence in his singing voice).  Ace has embraced this classic and delivered it with every bit of confidence and quirkiness he could muster.  The band that Ace has surrounded himself with were no slouches either.  They uncorked “Strange Ways”, “Shock Me”, “Cold Gin”, and "Hard Times” as if they were their own.  Truly outstanding performances one and all.  Also included in the evenings mega-set were “She”, “Rocket Ride”, and “Rock Soldiers”.  Each was delivered perfectly and shook the Canyon to it's core.

This tight-knit, professional unit blasted through their set with precision and ease.  Just like every other great show, you leave thinking they could have gone on for another hour.  This was truly a show to remember for years to come and a true bucket-list performance for sure.  Ace Frehley and his band-mates succeeded in transporting me back to my room in the ’70s on this night and gave me plenty to ponder on my 2-hour drive back home.

John McAteer

Photojournalist - Orange County

Website: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Twitter