AC/DC
 | 

AC/DC




Sweden’s The Hives' played a high energy nine song set tonight in support of what they termed “Rock' n' Roll Royalty' – AC/DC. The band appeared in matching white lab coats and accessorised with two contrasting 'ninja roadies' dressed in black. Said ninjas spent the set furtively running around stage keeping everything ticking along nicely.

AC/DC

The bands playing was super tight and the lead singer, Howlin' Pelle Almqvist worked very hard, (some said almost too hard) trying to extract some sort of reaction from a crowd that were still trickling into the stadium. He tried numerous tactics, jumping down into the pit to run along the barriers and fist pump the crowd, trying to get the crowd to cheer for the band, then when that didn’t work, cheering for AC/DC…which only worked to a degree, then as a last resort taunted the crowd.

Source: Fan footage from YouTube

I guess it’s a hard call – there is an invisible line which when crossed actually can work against you, and I sensed a little of this happened tonight. The playing was superb and the songs were rocking… perhaps it was a combination of playing in virtual daylight and to a crowd that was not going to get very excited about anything other than AC/DC. Personal set highlights were opening track ‘Come On’, ‘’Walk Idiot Walk’, ‘Try It Again’, ‘Hate to Say I Told You So’ and ‘Tick Tick Boom’.

AC/DC


AC/DC

The lights go down right on dusk and suddenly Etihad Stadium is a flickering sea of blinking red bedevilment, all eagerly awaiting their heroes. A short humorous animation with all the key AC/DC touch points is shown and this only serves to key the audience up even more. There are shrieks of approval every time something they recognise appears on the short film – an animated bell, a locomotive, a flaming meteor hurting between a winking Rosie’s legs, a familiar guitar riff… anything at all.

It's quite a different AC/DC tonight from their last Black Ice tour in 2010 – a couple of long-termers are out of action. It's good to see Cliff Williams pumping the bass. So tonight Angus’ nephew Stevie Young stands in on rhythm guitar replacing his uncle Malcolm Young. Chris Slade steps up for Phil Rudd, who this year got into a little difficulty with the law and was sentenced to eight month's home detention. Both stand-ins play admirably and for all intents and purposes we could be listening to the lineup of old – Stevie is note perfect and Chris totally nails Rudd's idiosyncratic drum parts.

There is obviously a lot of love for AC/DC in Etihad Stadium tonight. Where previously Sweden’s darlings 'The Hives', who had just supported, really had to work for a response, by comparison, the boys from Acca Dacca don’t even have to try. The fans are crazy for it. One look at the long line at the merchandise desks says it all. Bags upon bulging bags evidence the huge trade the stalls are doing tonight. “For those about to rock some merchandise – AC/DC salutes you!" My 13 year old son had the choice of not less than three dozen different t-shirt designs and let’s not even mention the baseball cap options… and he was just one of thousands of kids being brought along to witness their first AC/DC concert by their enlightened Mums and Dads.

AC/DC

The short film fades to darkness and the boys come out swinging, opting to kick off tonight’s proceedings with the title track off their latest album, 'Rock Or Bust’… it’s a gutsy move but it pays off instantly. The crowd are a sea of pumping fists! Brian Johnson greets the crowd, “Oh Yeah!!! Whatcha doing MELBOOOOURNE? It’s been tooooo long! Tonight, together we’re going make some love in the room and the party starts right now! Let’s go!”


The distinctive drum intro immediately signals they’re taking us waaaay back to 1980’s watershed album 'Back in Black’ for the anthemic ’Shoot To Thrill’. No mucking around tonight, and absolutely no crapping on between songs. The guys are on a mission to deliver everything we’ve come along to hear. Between each energetic salvo there is only about 30 seconds breather… just time to wipe down the sweaty guitars and brows and quickly neck a stubby.

AC/DC

'Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be’ is song number three. This one has a thunderous riff and reminds me instantly of the epic performance from River Plate in Buenos Aires where the 85,000 strong crowd bounced around like one giant organism in perfect syncopation.


The next song’s intro is instantly recognisable and my son shrieks his delight in my ear… 'Yeeeaaaarrrrhhhhh!' It's ‘Back In Black’ and having arduously learned it all this year at guitar class, he can’t help himself and plays ‘legitimate' air guitar along with the band. As I glance around, I can see there are more than a few behind us doing exactly the same. It is at this point, I realise these songs are now truly transcending generations.

Source: Fan footage from YouTube

AC/DC

The boys sound flipping great tonight. Brian’s vocals are strong and the sound is meaty and solid with thankfully very little bounce back or echo. Angus Young is audibly dominant front and centre and has the lion’s share of the mix, as it should be.

Another new track. This time it’s 'Play Ball’, again from 'Rock Or Bust’. A song only publicly posted on YouTube two weeks ago and having already received over 15 million hits, I guess you could say it hit the spot with the fans both online and live in performance tonight.

AC/DC

‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’ gets a run next. What a bona fide classic. Those in front of us jump up and the domino effect comes into play. It matters not. It’s Acca Dacca and this IS ‘Dirty Deeds’ after all.

It’s a one two knockout punch as ‘Deeds' is followed by ‘Thunderstruck'. As Angus's familiar intro kicks in the crowd automatically chant the 'Thunder Thunder' response and revelling in their new found awesomeness lose themselves in the moment completely.

Source: Fan footage from YouTube

As if all of that wasn’t quite enough, while we’re still groggy with the after effects of Thunderstruck, the boys choose to pummel us with 'High Voltage’. It’s hit after hit after hit. I’m in heaven. Brian implores the crowd to sing along “I said Hiiiigh!, I said Hiiiiiiiiiiiigh” Cameras continually pan the ecstatic crowd and project the footage in quick cuts over the band shots and at this point we cop a eyeful of rockin’ bare-breasted exuberance. It’s the first for the night and the crowd cheer heartily.

AC/DC

Back to ‘2008’s ‘Black Ice’ album for ‘Rock'n’Roll Train’. We sit this one out, and it’s a good thing we did, because ‘Hells Bells’ is next! This is epic in all its staging. About thirty or forty foot above the band a massive bell rocks ominously back and forth, totally dwarfing Angus who solos beneath it. AC/DC obviously really trust their riggers. It’s a very Spinal Tap moment but in all the good ways.

Source: Fan footage from YouTube

We flip back to the new album with the final track from it for the night. It’s ‘Baptism By Fire’ which sounds just like any other AC/DC song to be frank. But perhaps that’s the secret to the band's everlasting success – what they do well, they do VERY well and they are sensible enough not to toy with the formula.

AC/DC

Speaking of formula: It was now time to be 'shaken all night long’. Perhaps my personal favourite from the AC/DC canon, the performance tonight was stellar. Lots of singalongs from the crowd nearby.

Source: Fan footage from YouTube

A run of three songs followed. They were 'Sin City’ (from ‘Powerage’), 'Shot Down In Flames’ (from Highway To Hell) and 'Have A Drink On Me’ (from ‘Back In Black'. )

Source: Fan footage from YouTube

AC/DC

As the chords to TNT ring out, I sense we are on the home stretch. As expected, it was massive. This is followed by ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ – a song I was particularly looking forward to. I was to be disappointed though – from our vantage point, at about 8 o’clock on the dial, we struggle to see much of anything that happens at the rear of the very deep stage. As such we didn’t glimpse the beautiful inflated Rosie save for a millisecond on a video screen, revealing she has had a makeover since the last time I spotted her on the 2008 River Plate DVD.

Source: Fan footage from YouTube

Those further north of us are resigned to follow most of the action on three vertically oriented video screens. While great for body crops and facial close ups, they fall short when trying to show breadth and depth of the action, especially when more stuff is going on further back or wider in the crop. Hopefully, at other venues, or for future tours, this could be considered for those punters with a less than ideal seat.

AC/DC

‘Let There Be Rock’ is the main set closer, and it just goes... and goes... and goes, with Young playing like a man possessed. The solo seems like it’s never gonna end and Angus takes it right to the crowd, as he embarks down the long runway for the first time this evening. After playing to each quadrant of Etihad Stadium in turn, with a huge bank of lights illuminating the crowd in front of him, he finally climbs into the hydraulic section of the staging and is elevated skywards. He gingerly stands dead centre, not wanting to push his luck, but then as the solo crescendos, he flops down on the tray and spins around a little, in his signature move. As the song climaxes, multiple air cannons shoot out thousands of pieces of yellow and white paper up and over Angus. With the prevailing turbulence from the open roof tonight, by solo’s end they have found their way into every nook and cranny of the stadium. My son excitedly scoops some up as a souvenir.

AC/DC

The band take a few minutes break and then are back with ‘Highway To Hell’ which is just a phenomenal performance. I watch Angus in his characteristic devil horns which, with all the pogoing and jumping about, have now slipped down onto his forehead and I consider for a moment the evening’s religious protestors who gathered outside Etihad complaining that ACDC was 'The Devil's Music'. If they could hear the crowd singing along now, they must consider tonight’s protest a dismal failure and be fuming.

Source: Fan footage from YouTube

Time to round the evening off and the only suitable way is with a God Almighty riff, six big cannons and some bona fide AC/DC pyrotechnics… And so it is… ‘For those about to Rock (We Salute You)' goes off, quite literally. The cannons are deafening, the riffs are massive and the fireworks get the big double thumbs up from my boy. His first Acca Dacca concert is an unmitigated success. AC/DC rocks!

Source: Fan footage from YouTube

AC/DC plays Etihad Stadium for another High Voltage performance this Tuesday before ending their successful Rock Or Bust World Tour the following week with two dates in New Zealand.

We have the most comprehensive photo gallery in Australia with over 150 photographs of AC/DC, The Hives, Kingswood and the enthusiastic Aussie ACCA DACCA fans.
AC/DC
Click this link:

Source: Fan footage from YouTube
Follow The Dwarf on Facebook

Comments ()