How Jamestown wished “Happy Birthday” to Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Ace Frehley

How Jamestown wished “Happy Birthday” to Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Ace Frehley

(From Doug) On the Thursday morning before the Sat. April 29, 2023 Ace Frehley concert in Jamestown, I was in my hotel room working on concert details on my laptop. I received a message from friend Randy Gray (who does his share of events in the Southern Tier). Because it was Ace’s birthday that day, Randy suggested that we make him a birthday card and give it to him on-stage when he came to Jamestown on Saturday night. I immediately thought it was a good idea, so we decided to give it the old college try. 

Photo by: Jon Elder/The Villager

My first concern was that if Ace’s tour crew or manager would be willing to stop the concert for 45 seconds to wish him a happy birthday. In the meantime, we walked a block down to Quick Solutions Printing on Third Street to see if we could make a big-ass birthday card. The owner Bev helped us out and we knew that we were in good hands. Now, the only hold-up was if Ace’s tour manager would be willing to stop the show to present the card. A few hours later, I receive a “thumbs up” from Tour Manager Phil.

So we were all set. We had a big card (four feet by five feet) and the “go ahead” to give it to Ace. On the night of the show, SitlerHQ’s Leah Shaffer greeted visitors as they entered the theater and asked if them if they wanted to sign the card. At first, I was wondering if people would want to sign the card – or shrug it off and go to their seats? Within a minute, Leah had a constant stream of well-wishers who signed the card. Many wrote personal notes and recollections to Ace. By the time Hot at Bats hit the stage, the big birthday card was filled with well wishes and pulled out of the lobby and brought backstage.

Let’s take a step back a few hours earlier in the day. In the early afternoon, while preparing for the concert, I received a message from a guy named Chad who said that he made Ace a birthday cake. Chad wondered if he could bring the cake down and put it in Ace’s dressing room. This cake was unexpected, so we wouldn’t normally tell people to “bring it down to the theater.” However, we quickly realized that it was long-time Jamestown institution – Ecklof’s Bakery – that had made this cake. Chad Ecklof is the owner. A few hours later, this magnificent lighting bolt cake appeared and it was spectacular.

We had the cake, we had the big-ass birthday card, now we needed someone to go out on stage. Originally, I was appointed to bring the cake out on stage…but no one wants to see me. The event MC, Ted Shredd of 97 Rock volunteered to be the announcer, and that our special performers TranscenDance, Brandy Welch and Carrie Snow would handle the duties of bringing out the card. The gals were dressed in Ace Frehley inspired costumes and make-up, so they were the perfect presenters.

All we were told by Tour Manager Phil, was to be ready to hit the stage right after the band plays the KISS classic “Love Gun.” The song ended, Shredd and the ladies walked out there, and a minute of magic happened. Shredd got the crowd to sing (very loudly, I must add) “Happy Birthday” to Ace. The birthday boy then walked over to check out the cake, the card and the space gals. A minute later, everyone exited the stage and the show started back up again.

The one-minute birthday celebration, was a resounding success. The onstage presentation was a small element that made the Ace Frehley concert a big success in Jamestown. It put everyone in a good mood. It was pretty special to get to celebrate a birthday in-person with a Rock & Roll Hall of Famer. It’s even better, when one the birthday boy, is the legendary Ace Frehley.

Addendum: Thanks Randy and Chad for bringing the Jamestown love to Ace. Unfortunately, Ace had to fly out the next morning, and wasn’t going to be able to bring home the big-ass birthday card. Fortunately, SitlerHQ now owns a magical piece of music memorabilia.