Monday, March 1, 2010

ACE FREHLEY: 'In Scranton, PA'

Ace 'unmasks' in Scranton

by Alan K. Scout/The Weekender, Northeast, PA.

Monday March 01, 2010 03:52 PM
A great rock concert can stand out in your mind for various reasons. I've been to quite a few of them, and though some were utterly forgettable, some are still burned deep in the heart. Seeing Paul McCartney live can actually leave you awestruck, and artists like U2 and Bruce Springsteen seem to take you to another place during their lives shows. In some ways, it's almost spiritual.

I love those artists. Always have. And it's no secret to some of our readers that I'm also a pretty big KISS fan. I've seen them about 30 times in concert and can honestly say that when it comes to live bands, they remain among the best. Ace Frehley, the group's original guitarist, is also still an all-time favorite. And it was exactly 25 years ago this week that Frehley gave one of the most memorable shows I've ever seen. And it was right here in Northeast Pennsylvania -- in Scranton -- at the old West Side Theater.

I was 17 years old, and it was the spring of my senior year in high school. A group of good friends and I all loved Ace, and since he had left KISS a few years prior -- right around the time we were finally old enough to start going to their shows -- we'd never seen him play live. I can still remember the day the show was announced and how we were all calling one another and were absolutely over-the-top excited. Within minutes, we were all running off to our little part-time high school jobs, making sure we put in for the night off from work. I called one friend who lived quite a few miles away and said I was on my way over to pick him up. He still jokes to this day that right after I called, he threw on Frehley's 1978 solo album, and before he'd heard even one song, I was already out in front of his house laying on the horn.

Did I mention we were excited?A few weeks later, it was time for the big show. March 3, 1985. The concert venue was about a 30-minute ride from my house. We left about 12 hours early. There were so many of us that we had to take two cars. Even though Ace wasn't going to come on until around 9 p.m., we were there by late morning. Of course, we spent most of the day on a zany quest trying to meet him. After learning from some of the people setting up for the show that he was still nowhere near the venue, we decided to scope out a few nearby hotels, and though we did eventually find the right one and had a pretty close encounter with the great guitarist, we had no luck in our attempt to hang out with the Spaceman.

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