KISS — Interviews, concert reviews and commentaries

by Alan K. Stout


Frehley's imaginative set rocks Allentown

(Concert Review, November 2011)

The Weekender
November 7, 2011

By Alan K. Stout
Weekender Music Columnist

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ALLENTOWN - When Ace Frehley took the stage at Crocodile Rock in Allentown on Sunday, Nov. 6, there were a few things the crowd was expecting and, during the show, it got.

A driving performance of "Rocket Ride" and an explosive performance of "Shock Me" each came in the set, and "Shock Me" included a scorching solo and Frehley's trademark "smoking guitar." During the biographical "Rock Soldiers," Frehley had the crowd singing along in anthem-like unison, and his fans sang along once again to a rhythmic rendition of "New York Groove," during which Frehley’s illuminated guitar bounced to the beat.

And while such gripping moments were among the many highlights of the show, it was the surprises that helped make it such a memorable concert. Frehley — after 38 years as one of rock's most iconic guitarists — still has a few aces up his sleeve.

Dressed in a black leather jacket, black sunglasses and donning his trademark lightning-bolt guitar strap, Frehley dusted off KISS gems such as "Parasite," "Love Her All I Can" and "She" with care and precision. The hooks and grooves were accentuated and celebrated, and Frehley seemed to enjoy cleverly segueing one gem into another, as was the case with a grinding performance of "Snow Blind," followed by "I Want You."

"Sister," from Frehley's latest CD, "Anomaly," kept things in the present and some of his strong contributions to KISS' 1979 "Dynasty" album were also represented with a torrid performance of "Hard Times" and his fiery version of The Rolling Stones "2000 Man." Another homage to his heroes came with "New York Groove," during which Frehley tweaked the arrangement to include a few chords of The Who's "Baba O'Riley." Yet another surprise came with a performance of "What's On Your Mind?" from his 1978 solo album and with the set-ending "Shout It Out Loud."

Encores included "Flaming Youth," "Deuce," "Love Gun" and the closing number, "Cold Gin."

Though Frehley easily could have filled an entire setlist with songs that he had personally written and sang from his time with KISS and from his solo career, the fact that he opted not to is what made this show so interesting and enjoyable. Nine of the songs he performed were either nuggets or classics from the KISS catalog that he did not originally sing. Sometimes, he sang them. Sometimes, his band did. Either way, they sounded marvelous. And while Frehley made sure to keep all of his trademark numbers in the show, by piecing together such an eye-popping setlist, he clearly earned his "Ace" nickname once again and laid down yet another royal flush.