Review of AC/DC at the Globe Arena, Stockholm February 20th 2009

Friday night last week I had the immense pleasure of seeing AC/DC live in quite some time!

How I got there

Last fall when the tickets were released, on a Saturday of all days, I was away from home and only saw the notice in the paper in the afternoon. By then, due to high demand in conjunction with ticket scalpers and a complete non-existence of proper legislation, both of the upcoming February shows with AC/DC were sold out.

In December, I embarked on a lobbying journey, trying every way I could to get a hold of tickets – asking literally everyone if they could help me, pulling strings, using connections: you name it! And, against all possible odds, I managed to get tickets Thursday afternoon, just a little over 24 hours before the first concert!

Thanks my my main man J, personal favors called, I and my brother got two representational tickets from the event company hosting the concert, meaning that we were in section A, having probably one of the best views from the seating area one could possibly have!

A picture of the Globe arena with an AC/DC logo on it

The gig

It was the fifth time I saw AC/DC live, and nowadays it is truly a rare occurrence to get to do that. Previous concerts have been 1991 (Stockholm), 1996 (Stockholm) and twice in 2000 (New York City and Stockholm respectively), and those events have been in par with their touring schedule.

The concert itself started with a movie of train on its way crashing into a station, with, naturally, a number of hot women and sexual innuendos, wait, strike that, sexual acts on board. Just as the crash is about to happen, a huge train crashes onto the stage with explosions and smoke: enter AC/DC.

A picture of the stage set

Following that is a mix of both new songs and old hits. Unfortunately, though, they chose to play as much as five songs from the new album. Not bad songs, but at the same time, not even close to all the other legendary tunes they play. And sure, I understand they need the motivation and want to play something new as well, but five were at least two songs to many; just imagine which old hits could’ve taken their place!

Back in 2000 as well as this time around, Brian Johnson has sort of stepped up, and is consistently entertaining the crowd and participating with them. Angus Young is the legend, the one everyone loves to see do his antics, but at the same time, it looks like he needs his rest too. As far as I can recollect at least, he was more wild and crazy back in 1991 and 1996, being completely out there all the time.

And don’t get me wrong, the crowd do get their fair share of duck walks, lying on the floor and playing, guitar solos, stripping and all that. It’s just that it feels like he picks his moments more now – which is completely understandable.

Reading the reviews in the newspapers, I was happy to see that all of them praised the rhythm section – Malcolm Young, Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd – who are truly the ones creating the out-of-this world drive and force. Throughout the entire gig their playing is so extremely tight, and in some of their most well-known songs, we were actually witnessing true magic!

Few people seem to know that Malcolm Young, the rhythm guitarist and Angus’ older brother, is the true leader and main man in AC/DC. Most just think that he’s the poor sibling playing in the background, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Putting Angus in front and making him the star was a deliberate decision taken back in the 70’s, but before that, Malcolm and Angus actually used to play solo duels. Man, how I would love to witness something like that!

A picture of AC/DC playing Whole Lotta Rosie

The stage set looks very nice, with the walk-out “tongue” in the middle of the crowd which they have had for quite some years now. The train crash in the movie in the beginning was a great start, and a huge inflatable Whole Lotta Rosie character and cannons do their part. However, just like my brother said:

It dooesn’t matter what the set looks like, because AC/DC is one of the few bands pulling off just standing there and playing – just because they’re so damn good!

The set list

The set list was overall very well balanced, although (as mentioned above), it would have been fantastic with some other songs than the new ones.

  1. Rock ‘n’ Roll Train
  2. Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be
  3. Back in Black
  4. Big Jack
  5. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
  6. Shot Down in Flames
  7. Thunderstruck
  8. Black Ice
  9. The Jack
  10. Hells Bells
  11. Shoot to Thrill
  12. War Machine
  13. Anything Goes
  14. You Shook Me All Night Long
  15. T.N.T.
  16. Whole Lotta Rosie
  17. Let There Be Rock
  18. Highway to Hell
  19. For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)

In my opinion, the best songs of the night were:

  • Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
  • Thunderstruck
  • Hells Bells
  • T.N.T.
  • Let There Be Rock (awesome!)

 


Playing Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Grade

With the fantastic playing which literally moved the ground, I was going crazy where I was standing – and so was everyone around me too! The only thing keeping the concert from getting a grade of 5 out of 5 is the new songs, but at the very least it deserves a 4+ for their passion, dedication and amazing roughness!

Pictures & movie clips

 


Angus guitar solo

I was taking some pictures and filming some, and all of it can be viewed in AC/DC, Globe Arena, Stockholm February 20th 2009.

Posted in Music,Reviews/tests |

14 Comments

  • Pat says:

    I'm so jealous, I can't even read through your whole post! hrmph.. so I'm going to guess you had a blast. Nice videos Robert :)

  • I was on their concert in Norway, wednesday, where they kicked of the European tour. This was my first time experiencing AC/DC live, and man did it rock!

    I got to stay 5 meters from the scene and could literally feel the sweat from Angus (or maybe it just was from all of us rocking like crazy down there :p). Regarding the new songs, I felt they blended well in – though they didn't rock nearly as much as the classics of course. Although I wish I could have seen them some 10-20-30 years ago.

    All in all a great concert leaving me smiling and keeping my foot auto-magically rocking the next few days.

    Grade: 9/10

  • Steven Clark says:

    You bastard Robert :)

    As an Aussie boy from the 70's AC/DC are a landmark band (although Angus and the boys are getting a little old nowdays) that brings back memories of being a bad boy.

    Do you listen to Rose Tattoo by any chance?

    Glad to hear you had a great time at the concert :)

  • Steven Clark says:

    My favourites off the card were TNT and Dirty Deeds, too easy. I'd have been a little nostalgically miffed at not hearing more of the really old stuff. But then I'm really really old now, apparently. :)

    Saw them in the 70's though.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Pat,

    Hey, good to see you commenting! Sorry about the jealousy, but glad you liked the videos! :-)

    Michael,

    Ah, nice! And yeah, it must've been cool to have seen them in the 70s or so. I love the mosh pit too, and will be in it in June when AC/DC are playing in Gothenburg.

    Are you going there?

    Steven,

    Thanks. And in regards to Rose Tattoo, no, but it seems like I should!

    Also, I can't believe you saw them 30 years ago. With Bon singing?

  • Steven Clark says:

    Bon died when I was in the Navy… it was a really big thing… Those were the days when you could go to see a real band singing real music live in a Hall. I also saw Hush, Dragon and couple of others… Bands used to tour to generate sales so the entry was low and they toured less economic venues. Whereas nowdays its about maximising the tour profits, not selling the cds.

    I was in Perth Western Australia for the Kiss tour but we were forbidden to go – junior recruits doing year 11 in the Navy at a special base, we occasionally fought the Rockers so it was too dangerous for us to attend. And often the Skinheads stuck up for us and it would esculate and get even more dangerous.

    Yes, Rose Tattoo are brilliant from that period. Where AC/DC is more showmanship – the Angus Principle – Rose Tattoo are authentic suburbs rough tough and mean.

    But you know you're getting old when you can say 30 years ago… it reminds me of a friend of mine who saw Abba in Melbourne in the 70's. I asked what it looked like. He said he was way at the back so they looked like 4 tiny ants on a matchbox lol.

  • Steven Clark says:

    They also played in Hobart a few years ago, the first night I moved into my 3rd floor unit at North Hobart, which looks straight onto the Domain where they played (about a mile away). Great, I thought. Buy beer and sit in the large living room window, but unfortunately it was a windy night which really affected the quality of sound that reached me. But it was loud :)

    I still had the beer though…

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Steven,

    Man, we need to sit down and have a good long talk one day! :-)

  • I'm sorry for the late reply. I'm unfortunately not able to go there in June, although I'd love to. I'm counting on you posting another review ;)

    Amusing story: my girlfriend's grandmother once worked in a small hotel in the outer area of Oslo – that was a while ago. Well, earlier this year we went to visit her, and come to talk about plans for the year whereas I told here we was going to see AC/DC live – when she responded: "Oh, those cute little guy's, I met them som n years ago as they were to stay at my hotel ofter a concert here".

    This was – I don't know how many, years ago, and they were looking for a little more quiet and anonymous place to stay :) They had been called a while earlier and had to promise not to tell anyone.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    Michael,

    No worries. :-)

    I'll make sure to write something about it.

    Nice story, I'd love to see something like that happen here. :-)

  • […] had the pleasure of seeing AC/DC a few months ago in Stockholm, February 20th 2009, and now, June 21st, it was time […]

  • BJ says:

    Waiting patiently till August when they visit Moncton, how do I get my hands on backstage passes. Gotta meet them. Please e-mail your answer to me. thx.

  • Mike Williams says:

    I just saw the show in San Diego, California over the weekend (Sept. 6) and Robert's review was right on the money. I've been a long-time AC/DC "fanatic", having seen the boys for the first time in '79 when promoting the "Highway to Hell" album (yes, album) when I was 15 years old. Like the band, I've gotten older (45 now), but never grown out of my love for basic, bone crunching rock-n-roll riffs. AC/DC still rocks better than bands half their age and continue to put out new music that's relevant, vs. other 80's bands that are already doing the "3-groups in one night" shows (i.e Journey, Def Leppard, Poison, etc.)

    Like Robert, I could have done with fewer of the new songs and a more of the classics, but I understand that they're promoting the sale of the new "Black Ice" CD, I mean, that's why bands tour.

    I hope that this isn't their last time on tour, I would really miss seeing them perform live, where they really entertain. I'm going to try and catch another US date before they head back to Australia to finish this tour.

  • Robert Nyman says:

    BJ,

    That's probably a question every AC/DC fan in the world is wondering about…

    Mike,

    Glad you had as good of a time as I had! And man, am I jealous of you seeing them back in '79!!! :-)

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