Sunday, March 09, 2008

Ace Is Wild

For a guy with a chest cold, Ace Frehley sure was shot full of rock on Friday night! He rocked a small but dedicated audience at the Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant, tearing through one riff-laden headbanger after another.

To those of you who don't know who Ace Frehley is: SHAME! Here's a little help:

Still not ringin' any bells? Well, that's okay; I'm used to him looking like this, especially since I spent a good portion of Friday night directly in front of his stage, not 4 feet from the guy. Okay, try THIS out then:

NOW are we all on board? Sheesh! Don't you people know me AT ALL? Gah.


So, bro-in-law Joel and I scooted up to the Casino, where I had scored us 2nd row tix to see The Tubes open up for Ace. The Tubes? Aww, come ON! Don't fall in lo-ooove! She's a beauty, she's one in a million girls! Hel-LOOO! Aren't there ANY white punks on dope out there? So, okay, you DO know The Tubes. Cool. They're great: I saw them open for Alice Cooper in Lansing a few summers ago, and was really blown away. They've been around practically forever, even though most folks my age are only really familiar with "She's A Beauty" and "Talk To Ya Later." Seriously, though, they're WAY fun. Great musicians, and lead singer Fee Waybill still has the voice, I kid you not, even if late-middle-age has put a slight paunch on the high-heeled Quay. The audience was appreciative of The Tubes, but at roughly only 25% full the crowd sound was, shall we say, less than deafening.

Because he doesn't get a lot of solo press - the guy doesn't even have an official website, fer cryin' out loud! - Ace is a tough nut to crack. Listen long enough to former Kiss-mate Gene Simmons and you'll eventually believe that Ace is a dope-addled rummy space cadet, an image that Frehley himself doesn't seem to take great pains to disavow. But, for his performance Friday night he was clean & lean, sober & ready to rock. He started with "Rip It Out" from his 1978 solo album and hit all the high points, from obvious crowd-pleasers like "Shock Me," "Rocket Ride," "Parasite" and "Cold Gin" to a medley of fairly obscure stuff that began with "Torpedo Girl." All of his solo material was well-represented: the rhythmic cadence of "Rock Soldiers," the trip-heavy groove of "Snowblind," the swagger of "Trouble Walkin'." In addition to his famous Kiss tunes, oddities popped out like the early "Strange Ways" and the late "Into The Void," as well as a host of fun-to-play Gene & Paul tunes like "Deuce" and "Love Gun." Chest cold notwithstanding, Ace Frehley burned down the house (figuratively) and his guitar (literally).

So, sorry about that fan-frantic review. Maybe I should be like my knitter friends and have a blog solely devoted to Kiss fanaticism? Okay, maybe not. But this next part is what you all want, because you KNOW I'm only missing one autograph from my Destroyer album, right? So the show Friday wasn't JUST about the was about meeting Ace himself! Or, failing that, at least somehow getting his signature on my record.

There's a LOT to the story, but in the interest of keeping readers awake I'll cull it down to the fine points. I saw a friend working in the hall - to protect the not-so-innocent, let's call him Dave - and we chatted for awhile. I showed him my LP, sadly lacking that last autograph, and HE was the one who said that Ace was sick and wouldn't be doing the standard meet-&-greet that Soaring Eagle performers do. I told him I was bummed, and he encouraged me to still kind of "hang around" anyway after the show. So, after The Tubes were finished, Joel & I were strolling around, acting all cool & shit and drinking our Budweisers (I swear, the best beer that was sold in the hall - *blech!*). I spied Dave making a beeline for me, so I intercepted him only to find out that he felt REALLY bad about my not being able to get Ace's autograph, so he went to work on my behalf. He spoke with ANOTHER casino employee - um, we'll call him the caterer - who said that Ace was DEFINITELY not signing tonight. But, after hearing my pitiful story about how Destroyer was my first record (technically not true: the Fonzie album was first, but I'm not interested in hounding Henry Winkler), he said "Give me your record; I'll get it to Ace's manager. I guarantee you'll get it back, but I can't guarantee it'll have his signature on it. Wait for me in the concourse after the show." He seemed a nice guy - albeit one who was about to do something sneaky & sort of underhanded - so I gave it up. After the show, word filtered back to me: "Ace has signed your album." That's always how it was put, as if it was really official or something: "Ace has signed." After what seemed like an interminable wait, the caterer appeared out of the hall, my LP held tightly against his leg. He said, "Look, this is really special, you are the ONLY PERSON from this show to get Ace's autograph. He was happy to do it, but don't spread it around, okay? In fact, it would probably be best if you split now." Hey, not a problem! I think somewhere there's a celebratory martini (or two) in my future, and probably a smoke as well.

I didn't get to MEET Ace, or to get a photo with him, but I did get a bunch of photos on my cell phone (and by the way, does anyone out there know how to get them onto my computer??), and I got my autograph. He even drew the little card that he typically adds...and I cracked up when I saw that he signed his name prominently ABOVE Gene Simmons'! Heh. So, thanks Ace. I never would have dreamed, when I first got that album in the hazy bygone days of 1976, that I would get it signed. I'm glad you saw that this well-worn piece of shit was a treasured possession, and not some investment opportunity headed directly for eBay. Hope you're feeling better, and stay clean, huh? You certainly aren't the ONLY one who's glad you're still alive!


Blogger kat said...

Dude - congrats on getting the last autograph!

7:06 PM  
Blogger sdb said...

Can't wait to have you proudly show it off!

9:34 PM  
Blogger L*I*S*A said...

Most excellent!!

7:51 AM  
Blogger Steph said...

You are such a badass.

11:50 AM  
Blogger Fun Guv said...

That is awesome!!!

I didn't realize he was up there on Friday. I heard an ad for him to be here at the Emerald on either Saturday or Sunday and thought of you. Glad to hear you had a good time (like you'd have any other kind of time)

5:38 PM  
Blogger LauriO said...

I am SOOO excited for you...that last autograph is a milestone moment!!

8:08 AM  

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