BY THOMAS S. ORWAT, JR.
Niagara Falls, NY – Rock music legend and former lead guitarist of KISS, Ace Frehley dazzled a sold-out crowd at the 440-seat capacity Bears Den Theater at the Seneca Niagara Casino last Saturday evening. This was the 71-year-old, Bronx, NY native’s first time performing in the WNY area since 2015, when he performed at the Center of the Arts Theater on the campus of the University of New York at Buffalo.
On this evening, ACE performed a very KISS-heavy, 15-song set. While that would be very satisfying for the casual fan, the die-hards in the audience probably would have preferred more material from his solo records. However, ACE only performed three songs from his solo catalog: “Rip It Out,” Rock Soldiers” and “New York Groove.”
While ACE has a reputation of playing and singing a bit sloppy at times, on this evening, he seemed to be pretty much on mark for most of the performance. Backed up by an amazing, world-class band consisting of: Ryan Spencer Cook -guitar, Zach Throne -bass, Jeremy Asbrock -guitar and Matt Starr- drums, this quartet was like a well-oiled machine with their flawless, high-energy performance. They really shone in the acoustically brilliant theater.
During breaks from the songs ACE, joked with the crowd, stating that no leopards were harm when referencing his leopard print shirt. He also remarked before playing the KISS classic “Deuce,” “No one knows what the lyrics are about on this next song.”
One rather interesting side story to this show, was that ACE had broken his trademark smoking guitar during a performance the prior evening. His management reached out to the Buffalo, NY based KISS tribute band -KISS THIS! to see if they could borrow a smoking guitar for this performance. John Jeffrey, who plays the role of ACE in KISS THIS! (and also, has written many articles on this site) was more than happy to help out and provided the guitar that ACE used for the smoking solo at the end of the KISS classic “Shock Me.”
During a week when the Western New York area was loaded with concerts, this was one of the better performances. ACE and his band rocked all evening long to the delight of some of his most devout followers. It was a thrill to see one of the most influential guitarists of all time in such an intimate setting.
The day after the concert, ACE was spotted walking around Niagara Falls taking in the breath-taken view of one of the 8 wonders of the world.
Opening this show, was Kore Rozzik, a theatrical NYC based band. While it’s unusual to have an opening act at the Bears Den, because after all it’s a casino and the goal is to bring people in and then out to the gambling tables asap, Kore Rozzik did a good job of winning the audience over with their hard rock and visual set.
For more on ACE FREHLEY, please visit www.acefrehley.com
To see upcoming shows at the Seneca Niagara Casino, please visit www.senecaniagaracasino.com
- Rip It Out
- Parasite (KISS song)
- Strutter (KISS song)
- Rocket Ride (KISS song)
- Never In My Life / Good Times Bad Times (covers)
- Detroit Rock City (KISS song)
- Love Theme From Kiss (KISS song)
- Rock Soldiers
- Hard Times (KISS song)
- Strange Ways (KISS song)
- New York Groove (Russ Ballard cover)
- Shock Me (KISS song)
- Ace Frehley Guitar Solo
- Cold Gin (KISS song)
- Deuce (KISS song)