This past Monday December 1 was my final show at Trees Dallas. A&GS HQ is packing up and moving to Philadelphia in a week and while we are sad to leave the loving arms of Deep Ellum, it’s for the best. For two years Trees has been my home away from home and I have been a fixture there almost every week. The staff is fantastic, the owner Clint couldn’t be nicer, and the beer is the coldest stuff this side of the Arctic; Heaven on Earth. And what better way to close out our tenure there than with the one and only ACE FREHLEY, on his Space Invader Tour, right? As an added bonus, my two buddies Win and Chan who I met at MANOWAR earlier this year made the trek up from Oklahoma for a night of kickass rock and good times!
Ryan Whitehead from Ardent Owl Media, who’s also the photo half of The Wonder Twins was at the ready to catch local openers GENERATOR, one of my favorite bands in the area. They play a riff-heavy chunky style of rock that I fell instantly in love with when I caught them opening for RED DRAGON CARTEL back in March. There were quite a few of their fans in attendance because the applause was pretty heavy after each song. Playing tracks from their EP Come On In the Fire is Fine singer Landon Uys had the crowd amped up as the band ripped through “Boldface”, “Through My Eyes”, “Fallen”, “Take the Throne” and others. Rico pounded the skins with bassist Jamey Reeves laying down the groove and guitarist Scott Minyard chugging away. If you’re looking for an exciting band to check out in the DFW area, I highly recommend GENERATOR.
Due to an overwhelming amount of VIP meet-and-greet ticketholders, Ace was a bit late getting to the stage. But you know what? He signed everything for everybody. Not all artists will do that, so I thought that was great. After the intro of “Fractured Mirror” the band kicked our collective teeth in with “Rip It Out” followed by “Gimme a Feelin’”, from the 1978 solo album and new disc Space Invader respectively. If we’re being honest, it took Ace till midway through “Feelin’” to get his voice warmed up. Prior to that it was a little rough but once he got going he was on fire the rest of the night! With a crackerjack band made up of Chris Wyse on bass, Scot Coogan on drums and longtime Ace vet Richie Scarlet on guitars these guys were on a mission to burn Dallas down.
“Toys”, one of my favorites from the same album was next before “Snow Blind” was sandwiched between a couple of KISS Klassics in “Parasite” which sounded lights out, and “Love Gun” with Coogan manning the vocals and doing a bang-up job, too. It was Richie’s turn at the mic for “Breakout” off of Frehley’s Comet before Ace took over again for “Space Invaders”. I love the fact that everyone in this band gets a chance to shine in the spotlight. It really is a “band” in every sense of the word. Coogan took the helm once again for “King of the Nighttime World” and “Strutter” back-to-back and you could feel the electricity crackling everywhere around you. TXU and Reliant Energy could have shut down at this point and these four men would have lit the city for days!
Another new track “Change” was followed by Chris’ bass solo. This guy is just fantastic, and his lead vocal on “Strange Ways” definitely made it one of the coolest versions I’ve ever heard. And now it was time for “Rock Soldiers” and I was instantly that 13-year old kid biking to Record Collection to buy my vinyl copy of Frehley’s Comet. It’s pretty safe to say Win and Chan were feeling the exact same way, too. And did you think it was gonna be an Ace show and NO “New York Groove”?? Hell, no! This actually sounded better than when I saw him in 2010, which I didn’t think was possible. This gave way to my all-time favorite composition from the Spaceman, “Shock Me.” Plus, it has the ALL-TIME-FUCKING-GREATEST-GUITAR-SOLO-IN-HISTORY!! And no, that’s not up for debate. He didn’t miss a note, by the way; absolute perfection.
Speaking of solos, you KNOW Ace’s was gonna be off the charts, right? Complete with smoking guitar this one had the fans going friggin’ bonkers, us included!
The Trouble Walkin’ album made an appearance with “2 Young to Die” before “Rocket Ride” showed up to close out the regular set. Another powerhouse song from top to bottom, but the boys weren’t done. For the encores we were treated to two of Ace’s most signature riffs: “Cold Gin” and “Deuce”, both of which threatened to blow the roof off the joint. When all was said and done I was spent from rockin’ out so hard. I may be 41, but I sure as shit don’t feel it when ACE FREHLEY and company get up on that stage and take care of business NYC-style! Vinnie Paul and Chris Jericho were both in attendance, and I’m sure their inner little kids were going crazy, too!
I want to take a moment to give special thanks to Travis and Laura, my favorite Trees bartenders for always taking care of me, Eric the house manager and Clint for always being so accommodating with review tickets, photo passes, and on-site interviews, and everyone else who proudly wears the Trees Dallas Staff shirt. As long as I could remember I’ve wanted to experience live rock and roll here and Trees not only lives up to but exceeds its reputation as a premier live venue. This is my favorite place in the world to see a show, and I couldn’t have asked for better people to share my last night there with than Win, Chan, Ryan, James Villa, and his lovely wife Jennifer. Seeing Space Ace there capped off a magical two years that I’ll never forget as long as I live. Thanks for the music and one helluva night Ace!!
LIVE REVIEW: THE MAESTRO
LIVE PHOTOS: RYAN “C.B.” WHITEHEAD/ARDENT OWL MEDIA