It was back in the summer of ’87 and there’s a reason I remember it well…..it was the day a friend and I met legendary rock guitarist Ace Frehley.
Ace was doing some warm-up dates a few weeks in advance of the release of the Frehley’s Comet debut and somehow, without the aid of the internet, my brother Rich and I had found out he was playing somewhere in Indiana.
We were eagerly awaiting the record because we had gotten a kick-ass bootleg of The Comet’s very first show at L’Amours in Brooklyn from ’85. Kiss is like religion so we convinced a couple non-Kiss-fan-friends to join us on our pilgrimage to see Ace play on a Tuesday night in La Porte, Indiana in what amounted to a very nice gym; the La Porte Civic Auditorium.
We got there way early and ended up sitting down out front on the sidewalk in line for the general admission show. A couple of hours into our vigil, we saw a tour bus duck behind the venue. No one else in line seemed to have noticed so my buddy Jay and I decide to have a snoop round back. Just like that, we walk up as the tour bus door opens on cue and Frehley’s Comet members Todd Howarth, John Regan and Anton Fig pile off for sound check. Cool!
“Hey guys, can’t wait to see you guys live!! Where’s Ace?”
“Oh…he’s coming, he’s good” giggled Howarth walking by.
Seconds later, two worlds collided; daytime & Ace Frehley, that is. Space Ace stumbled from the bus to terra firma like he was in the middle of one of his smoking guitar solos, propelled by gravity but afraid to stop moving for fear he might fall over. It was very rock & roll.
“Hey Ace, how’s it going? You are my fucking hero man! This is my buddy Jay.” Pausing to shake our hands as the band watched by the backstage door to make sure he made it from A to B, Ace offered “I’m glad you came out man, we’re gonna kick some ass tonight, you wait and see.” He would use the exact phrase as a between-songs stage rap on Frehley’s Comet; Live + 1 a year later LOL.
When the show started we were dead center, 2nd row, and up close & personal because it wasn’t a high stage. Call me crazy, but during the opening number, “Rip It Out,” Ace even seemed to recognize us, giving us a wink as he came to the mic to sing the first verse. Our Kiss world seemed right again for the first time since the ‘break-up.’ He didn’t do “Shock Me” but it was genius: Ace was back – he had told us so.
You guys must’ve been standing right behind us at this show. We were front and center – the first four through the general admissions doors. We saw a bunch of shows at the old Civic Auditorium that summer, but this was the crown jewel. You’re right, they were on that night and it was magical. We got to go on their tour bus after the show and got their autographs and got to talk with the guys. Ace was very cool, as were all the guys in his band. Thanks for posting your memories; great times. There is a bootleg of this show out there. I’ve got a copy somewhere around here but haven’t listened to it in years…might have to dig that out this weekend. 🙂