Review Summary: Gene Simmons would be proud...
Successful rock artist releases live album with a couple of studio tracks tacked on at the end. Sound familiar? ‘Course it does, especially if you’ve been privy to KISS and their Alive II
, which employed this exact kind of strategy. Now, KISS guitarist Ace Frehley tries to do likewise, but with one particularity: in his case, the release is nothing but a rehash of previously released material.
Yes, you’ve heard right. Those expecting 2006’s Greatest Hits Live
to be a resurgence of sorts for Frehley – basically inactive, touring aside, since 1989 – will certainly be disappointed with the fact that this material was actually recorded back in ’87 and ’88, when Ace was still going strong with his band Frehley’s Comet. To make things worse, every single one
of these songs has already appeared on one of the Starchild’s two previous releases, be it 12 Picks
, from 1997, or its counterpart Loaded Deck
, released a year later. In fact, join the live portion of Picks
with the live portion of Deck
, remove the excellent Remember Me
, throw in the two new songs from the latter and…hey presto! You’ve got Greatest Hits Live
! In fact, since I couldn’t find this album for download anywhere, that was exactly
what I did – cull the relevant parts from both comps and alter their index numbers to make the new release. The end product was no different from the commercial product being sold as a new live release. Gene Simmons would definitely be proud…
All marketing ploys aside, the listener can never get past one very simple fact: they should have done this in the first place
. Instead of randomly inserting live portions into studio comps in an attempt to beef up those releases, the people behind Frehley and Megaforce Records should just have put out a straight-up live release with some of the Comet’s and KISS’s best songs. Which is exactly what this is, but now that point is kind of moot since everybody has heard the songs anyway.
Not that the songs were that great in the first place: as noted on both compilations’ reviews, Frehley’s Comet is not a very good live band. The interaction between Tod Howarth, Ace Frehley and the crowd is fine, and Howarth’s pre-song banter is decidedly funny; but the interpretations themselves seem kind of limp, sometimes taking away the songs’ original thunder – vide Rip It Out
and Rocket Ride
, incidentally (or maybe not) the two fastest numbers in Frehley’s repertoire. Sure, there are exceptions to this rule, namely Cold Gin
and a lively, beppy New York Groove
; but the results are mostly underwhelming.
Matters are also not helped by the fact that the concert actually re-starts halfway through, with Stranger In A Strange Land
, one of only two songs to be taken from a Chicago show, coming complete with…an introduction! Which begs the question – why not make this the first
track, or just let go of it altogether and just give us the London show in its entirety (including the criminally chopped Remember Me
, which was “only” the highlight of the show)? As it is, it sounds weird and evidently manufactured, which further derides the record’s already shaky credibility. Wrapping up the disc are One Plus One
and Give It To Me Anyway
, my opinions of which haven’t changed since listening to them on Loaded Deck
In conclusion, then, this is a release to avoid unless you have absolutely nothing
by either Ace Frehley or Frehley’s Comet, and feel that a live record may be a good starting point. Be warned, though – if you make this your sole purchase, you’ll be missing out on a lot
. So just save your money and go get Loaded Deck
and the first Frehley’s Comet instead. Trust me, you’ll be better off.
New York Groove
One Plus One