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!
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.
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!
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.
- Rock ‘n’ Roll Train
- Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be
- Back in Black
- Big Jack
- Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
- Shot Down in Flames
- Black Ice
- The Jack
- Hells Bells
- Shoot to Thrill
- War Machine
- Anything Goes
- You Shook Me All Night Long
- Whole Lotta Rosie
- Let There Be Rock
- Highway to Hell
- For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)
In my opinion, the best songs of the night were:
- Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
- Hells Bells
- Let There Be Rock (awesome!)
Playing Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
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.