From the moment you stepped into the Enmore Theatre, you could feel the anticipation—these fans were true rock and rollers ready to savour every last drop of what was to come. And come it did as Ace Frehey launched onto the stage. Driving through favourites such as ‘Love Gun’ and ‘New York Groove,’ which got the crowd clapping along, Ace showed that age had not wearied his ability to rock and get the crowd moving. He then dove into his signature guitar solo wherein his guitar combusted into clouds of smoke. Initially a little sloppy, it picked up towards the end and showed that the man still has enviable talent. It was his final song ‘Cold Gin’ where the crowd and the backing band really began giving it everything they had—leaving you wanting one more song. But never mind that, because the man of the hour was coming.
The tension built as the stage darkened and clouds of fog swelled into the crowd. The roars were ominous as Gene, The Demon, took to the stage and revved right into ‘Shout It Out Loud.’ His presence was clear immediately, commanding the audience to clap enthusiastically and as the song ended, the applause was rapturous.
‘I Believe In Me’ followed and the sexy bassline that flowed from Gene’s fingers was undeniable. He was seducing the audience. His husky vocals teased, “I like it” as the crowd began clapping again. Gene then started a conversation with the crowd, advising which band members were single, and commenting that a drunk heckler in the crowd was “a good looking son of a bitch.” He continued the tease, licking his finger and touching his nipples while other band members shredded out solos.
His next comment was a surprising political jab, stating we should “give it [Australia] back, they [Indigenous Australians] were here first,” before mimicking Peter Garrett. It was evident that Gene’s comedic style was never going to be politically correct, however there was sincerity in his words.
‘War Machine’ and ‘Calling Dr Love’ followed with some exceptional guitar fretting from all three guitarists. And just when you remembered there were other people on stage, Gene asks “what is my charisma?” and he’s back. Despite whatever controversy and downright offensiveness often surround Gene’s public image, you can’t deny the man has presence and attractiveness. And he was bringing it all tonight.
Later Virginia Lillye burst onstage, her rusty coarse vocals doing more than justice to ‘I Was Made For Lovin You.’ The crowd absolutely exploded; it was the vocal highlight of the entire evening.
The night ended on ‘Rock And Roll All Nite’ with around 40 punters onstage. You could be forgiven for thinking it was a KISS concert as Ace returned to the stage, delivering his most outstanding solo of the night. While preparation let the band down in some areas, Gene made amends by simply being himself. Charmed, humoured and entertained, the crowd left wanting more. The Demon had charmed his way into more than one heart this evening.
Saturday, 1 September 2018 – BRISBANE, Tivoli Centre
Brisbane tickets available here.
Find more info at genesimmonsaxe.com and the links below.
Follow Gene Simmons
Follow Ace Frehley
Photos: Peter Pap (taken in Adelaide)