AC/DC – [Live]

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Don't ask me why I had ever seen AC/DC live before this show, because honestly, I couldn't tell 'ya. Maybe it's because they seemed pretty reliable over the last twenty five years or so, and it seemed like you could always count on them releasing a new album every few years, and then doing a massive world tour to support it. I guess I always thought, "I'll go see them next time." Well after waiting eight years for the release of their Black Ice album and realizing that they are not getting any younger, I was beginning to wonder if there was going to be a "next time." It was about damn time I experienced Angus and Co. live. Now I just wish I hadn't waited so long.

After opening the show with a very fitting short animated video featuring Angus Young as the conductor of an out of control train barreling down the tracks, the band hit the stage with full-on explosions, pyro, and a life-size locomotive behind them as they launched into “Rock And Roll Train,” the first single off of Black Ice. And from the first riff of Angus' Gibson SG, it was apparent that this show was going to be a good old-school arena rock n' roll show. Singer Brian Johnson was non-stop smiles as he belted out the classics while making his way up and down the ramp—which extended a good twenty-five feet or so from the stage and out onto the floor. "Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be," "Back in Black," "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap," "Thunderstruck," "Hells Bells" and "Shoot to Thrill" all sounded timeless and fresh, and Mr. Johnson seemed to be having the time of his life up there delivering them to the sold-out crowd. He had more energy and enthusiasm than some frontmen half his age, and to see him still so into the music after all these years was pretty damn cool. As for the new songs, "Big Jack," "Black Ice" and "War Machine” all sounded great and flowed with the rest of the set list quite nicely.

As for the rest of the band, what can I say—this is fuckin' AC/DC we are talking about here! Rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young—who has always been the heart and soul of the band—took second billing to brother Angus and calmly stood at the back of the stage by his Marshall Stacks, delivering flawless guitar and backing vocals. The same can be said for bassist Cliff Williams. As for as drummer Phil Rudd, he just seemed to sit there and calmly pound out the backbone of the songs like the drumming bad-ass he is, complete with a cigarette dangling from his lips. And although these three definitely take a back seat to Brian and Angus, they are the ones that keep the music tight and flowing and allow the other two to do their thing up there.

And then there is guitarist Angus Young. At fifty-three he seems to have just as much, if not more energy than ever, and I don't think he stopped moving for the entire show. From his one foot Chuck Berry inspired duck walk to his striptease which builds up to him mooning the audience—although he now wears a pair of AC/DC boxer shorts—it was classic Angus, and as he finally made his way down the ramp and onto a platform that lifted him above the floor of the Arena during "Let There Be Rock," he showed the entire crowd just how much of a guitar god he really is.

After a blistering 90 minute plus set which also included "Whole Lot Of Rosie" (complete with a damn near four-story high blow up doll) "You Shook Me All Night Long" and "T.N.T.," the band momentarily left the stage, but only until Angus appeared from beneath the stage with a set of glowing devil horns for a total rockin' version of "Highway To Hell." "For Those About To Rock," which was without a doubt the anthem for the evening, closed the show. Of course the song would not have been complete without cannon fire, and the six cannons on stage made sure that no one was leaving without their ears ringing.

Looking back on this show, I could not have asked for a better evening, and I can not stress enough how much you need to see AC/DC when they hit your town!


Black Ice is out now. Buy it on Amazon.

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