Hitting the stage together after a 17 year hiatus, it seems the rift has healed between old buddies Gene Simmons and Ace Frehley, as their Adelaide show last night was light-hearted, energetic, and seemingly aimed at diehard fans. Kicking off with the heavy ‘Parasite’ from 1974’s Hotter Than Hell, Frehley was at his slickest as he pumped out lick after lick on his trademark Les Paul with the Lightning Bolt guitar strap. Supported by an absolutely fantastic band (Ryan, Phil, Jimmy & Christopher) that were as tight as a duck’s ass and true to form, the Spaceman is still one of the best ‘untrained’ guitarists in the business. Reminding us that it was 40 years ago in September that the 4 solo albums were released (Sep 18 1978 -can you believe that!), Frehley took us back through the years with tunes like 2000 Man, Rip It Out, and a stellar version of Love Gun, all of which showcased his guitar wizardry. Ace was having a great time and finished up with Cold Gin, complete with the legendary smoking guitar as the finale to his set.
Gene Simmons strutted on stage after a short break, and after letting the crowd know they were going to stop halfway through songs just for the fun of it, they did just that while they warmed up. “We’re just having fun up here,” Simmons quipped. And that they did, it was laid back but still had great entertainment value all the same.
Simmons’ set was more crowd interactive, with scores of VIP ticket holders being invited to join the band on stage. One even got the chance to belt out I Was Made For Lovin’ You (Rose from Adelaide). She was actually pretty good, and it was gracious of the ‘God of Thunder’ to share the stage with his adoring fans.
The unashamedely vain Simmons’ paid tribute to rock legends Chuck Berry and Little Richard, and honoured the latter with killer rendition of Long Tall Sally. Did I mention how fantastic the band were?
The finale featured both Frehley and Simmons, (along with everyone else) on stage to finish with Rock and Roll All Nite in what was a symbolic gesture of sorts. For guys in their late 60’s, these pair aren’t slowing down in a hurry. Sure, the lean figures have padded out a little, and the energy might be a little more subdued, but Simmons’ announcement that KISS will be returning soon for a 3-year tour proved that there’s still plenty of gas left in the tank. Who knows, maybe Frehley will join the lineup in the future. Wishful thinking perhaps, but nothing’s impossible given that the pair have reconciled after years of professional exile from each other.
The show heads East this week, so get out and see it if you can.
Thursday, 30th August – NEW VENUE
Festival Hall (formerly scheduled for Margaret Court Arena), Melbourne
Friday, 31st August – NEW SHOW
Enmore Theatre, Sydney
Saturday, 1st September – NEW SHOW
Tivoli Centre, Brisbane