Alice Cooper - Ace Frehley

August 12, 2018

Los Angeles CA

Story by James West, The-Rocker.com

Photos by Danette West, TheRockerChic.com

The Rocker Chic and I were in full Guitar Hero mode on the drive up to the fabulous Greek Theater in Los Angeles, CA to see the one and only Ace Frehley along with the one and only Alice Cooper!

 

 As is our normal routine we blasted all of Ace’s solo tunes and Alice’s classics during the two-hour drive to help get our mojo juices flowing. 

Our 20-dollar seats that The Rocker Chic selected didn’t disappoint as we were only mid-way up the amphitheater rows with great visibility!  The audience was a good blend of Kiss/Ace fans and Alice fans.  What surprised me was all the younger Alice Cooper fans in attendance; many of whom were in full Alice makeup mode alongside their Ace comrades.  If only Kiss and Alice Cooper would finally tour together!  Well, 2019 is a new year with new possibilities, just remember where you first heard the rumor!  Ha!

The Spaceman's Still Got It! 

I must admit that I saw Alice Cooper last year at the same venue with Deep Purple and was blown away by his elaborate stage show and effects, plus the legend can still deliver the vocal goods!  So, I was actually looking forward more to Ace’s performance as I’ve never seen him perform without being the Spaceman in Kiss.  Plus, Ace has always been one of my personal guitar heroes!

Space Ace took the stage promptly at 7:30 and launched into Parasite and the crowd, and me, went nuts!  I hadn’t seen him live since Kiss’ Farewell Tour and before that, Kiss Alive Worldwide.  So, I was surprised at how well the Ace-man looked and still sounded on stage.  Being sober for over a decade has truly been a blessing for him as he has delivered some great solo albums during the past few years, and his playing (although always sloppy) still delivered great moments in performance that night!

As a lifelong Kiss fan though I must come clean here myself; As great as Ace was and is today, he still needs Gene, Paul, and Peter to be whole onstage.  There was just something missing as I watched him tear through Kiss classics like Detroit Rock City, Love Gun, and Deuce without the other Kiss members present.  Actually, I almost wish he DIDN’T play any Kiss songs during the performance.  Sure, his solo Kiss album stuff like Rip It Out sounded great, and even

New York Groove went over well, but I wish he would have played more solo stuff from Frehley’s Comet and his last couple of solo albums.  He’s got great songs on there; why not let us hear true Ace songs?  I would have been even happy just to hear him play other Ace fronted Kiss songs like Hard Times, 2000 Man, hell, even Torpedo Girl!  Anything but Love Gun and Detroit Rock City with another guy singing them!

As I was taking pictures I intentionally was shooting just of Ace and not the other band members.  I don’t think I got one pic of Ace with another member of his group (although The Rocker Chic did).  What was wrong with me?  Ace’s band actually played great and even the drummer-singer did well on the Kiss songs, but in my mind Ace would’ve been better off just taking the stage solo by himself and jamming for an hour.  It was the Ace riffs and solos I wanted, and he didn’t disappoint!  The riffs he delivered on Parasite, Cold Gin, and Deuce still sounded as incredible as when I first heard them off Alive when I was 13.

Ace is like Blackmore and Clapton to me; when he hits certain notes on that Les Paul it still sends shivers to my soul, and that alone was worth dealing with everything else I may not have cared for during the performance.  Ace still has the magic, and Gene and Paul know this.  There’s a Kiss reunion coming in some sort or fashion, and The Spaceman is getting into full-on Rocky mode I just know it!

King Alice Cooper Reigns!

Alice Cooper cannot get enough credit and praise from me.  He is truly a Rock God to the truest sense of the title.  The history of this man and his music is astounding to say the least.  And to witness him live is a must-do for any fan of Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Glam Rock, and Shock Rock.  Just like last year when I saw him with Deep Purple, this performance was no different.  Every second was calculated and planned to full frontal attack on the audience.  And 63 year old Alice still sounds great and relevant as he did 40 years ago singing about 18 and School’s Out and Feeding His Frankenstein!

The ensemble of talented musicians play a key role in this performance.  Hand selected by the man himself, Alice shines as a result of the band shining brightly on every song.  Kiss shows used to be choreographed but not like this.  This is true Rock opera and performance at its finest, and you owe it to yourself to witness this great show.  Highlights of the performance continue to be the awesome solos and playing of Nita Strauss.  This Rock Goddess knows how to get it on, and the fans (including The Rocker Chic) could not get enough Nita that night!  Even when guest star Orianthi hit the stage during the encore School’s Out, Nita still ruled that stage full of guitarists.

The cool part of this is that it still didn’t take away from Alice Cooper’s performance.  The kick ass solos and jams from the band were all in support of Alice and filled in great between “Steven” segments and prop changes.  Mr. Cooper still knows how to captivate a crowd himself, especially during my personal favorites Cold Ethyl and Only Women Bleed.

On the downside I didn’t quite like this “Evening with Alice Cooper” as much as last year’s performance with Purple.  For one, they didn’t play two must-plays for me, Vengeance is Mine and Go To Hell like they did last year.  And to be honest, the extra songs they did play this time around were mostly filler tunes that I had never heard or really cared to listen to, possibly from his latest album Paranormal. 

One thing though that is uncertain about 2019 is not if Kiss and Alice Cooper will tour together, but rather who will open and close?  To me Kiss should close even though they owe most of their makeup-era career to the legend and originality that King Alice brought to the Rock genre.  All I know is I may need to step it up on my 20-dollar concert budget for this time next year!

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