Sometimes bands will surprise their fans and play what’s considered a smaller or “unique” venue for a more intimate feeling and experience. September 21 would be one of those days as it hosted Western New Yorks own Klear and quite possibly one of the most iconic rock and roll guitarists in Paul, better known as “Ace” Frehley. Klear started the night with original singer Fred Shafer bringing his own brand of raspy raucous vocal style with Bruce Wojick throwing down the six string licks. Very energetic, Klear pushed the crowd to get out of their seats, clap, fist pump, everything short of a mosh pit, reminding them they were at a rock show. Shafer was met with several cheers and hollers as he pushed the crowd inch by inch to the moment when the “Ace Frehley” band, as he coined it, was about to blow the roof of the college theatre. After a lively set, members of Klear made it a point to greet fans at their merchandise table.
While I looking around, I observed several KISS shirts and even a few fans painted their faces up as the traditional “Space Ace”. The setting had a feel of something special, a scent in the air of impending rock royalty.
As an icon in rock and roll history, having influenced generations of guitar players, several comic books, toys, cloths, signature guitars, and even a jewelry line, what is left for such a person to do in life? The answer is simple, be yourself and tour for yourself. This particular tour marked support for Ace’s sixth studio album, “Space Invader”.
The lights dimmed to let the crowd know that the act they came to see was about to begin. Sporting a flashing sport jacket, aviators, and the lightning bolt guitar strap, Ace entered the stage to thunderous applause. Opening with “Toys” from the aforementioned Space Invader album raised the bar from fans applause to a straight out cheering for their guitar messiah. Other Space Invader tracts from the night included the title track and “Gimme a Feeling” which were all well received.
Playing his very own KISS cuts through out the set such as Parasite, New York Groove, and mega hits Detroit Rock City and Deuce, to close out the night. A big highlight of the show, at least for me, was the guitar solo. This was not only time for the spotlight to be squarely on Ace alone, but it meant we should see the world famous “smoking guitar”. Ace didn’t disappoint as the old slogan goes, “You wanted the best, you got the best”. Ace gave us his best this night and showed fans why he has nothing to prove to anyone. Is he a founding member of one of the greatest arena rock bands in history? Yes. Is he a vital influence to thousands of guitar virtuosos? Yes. Most importantly though, he’s a man gifted with musical insight who has chosen to dedicating his life to sharing that talent and love of music with us, the fans.
Echo Asylum would like to thank Bill Meis of eONe Music for the opportunity to cover this show.
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