Last weekend, me and my brother embarked on a journey to Gothenburg to see AC/DC play at the Ullevi arena.
I had the pleasure of seeing AC/DC a few months ago in Stockholm, February 20th 2009, and now, June 21st, it was time again!
Driving to Gothenburg and accommodation
Sunday morning, we embarked on our journey down to Gothenburg by car. Both of us love the freedom of driving instead of taking the train or similar, and hey, who could say no to a road trip?
It was a good 5 hours in the car, with the necessary pit stop for food and candy, drinks etc. And by the way, isn’t it amazing that, no matter how healthy you eat at home, when you’re on the road, no rules apply; basically, you can eat whatever you like!
We arrived down in Gothenburg at around 5 in the afternoon, and luckily we were to stay at the place of my brother’s wife’s cousin. She was living in the outskirts of central Gothenburg, and she rented a section of a house there. Very cute house, by the way: it looked, more or less, like Villa Villekulla .
We got settled in our quarters there, and then went by tram to the Ullevi stadium. It took about half an hour to get there, and Gothenburg was packed with AC/DC fans getting ready for the concert. Just before we reached the venue, rain started pouring down! Everyone was trying to squeeze themselves in under the roof at Ullevi, to stay dry for a while longer.
It rained quote a lot, for about half an hour or so, but after that it was just clear-blue skies and sunny weather the rest of the evening. We got into the arena, bought something to eat and then moved closer to the stage.
The stadium was, naturally, sold out with 57 205 people attending. First, there were two opening acts: Swedish band Bullet, and Irish band The Answer. I didn’t hear that much of Bullet, but what I heard sounded very good, and I definitely need to check them out. With a concert of this magnitude, it’s probably even worse being the second opening act; everyone is waiting for the main attraction, many people don’t know there are two support bands etc.
So, no matter what you think of The Answer, there were a lot of disappointed faces when they got on stage. They played pretty well, but still, everyone just wanted AC/DC by then.
At about 9.30 in the evening, the opening video began and AC/DC finally entered the stage! Since they’re on the same tour as when I saw them in February, not many things (read: hardly anything) have changed since then. But, I’m so immensely grateful every time I get the chance to see AC/DC, because they are, without a doubt, one of the best live acts you can ever see. They’re so totally dedicated to delivering and make the night as memorable as possible for the crowd.
What especially gets to me is the energy they all have, with Angus being pretty much all over the place. It also makes me truly happy to see vocalist Brian Johnson. He’s so there, all the time, and when he’s not singing, he’s standing next to the other guys, moving to the music or interacting with the crowd. Definitely a lesson for other vocalists who tend to get off the stage as fast as they can, as soon as there an instrumental part/passage…
But sure, one could argue that a number of years ago, they were even more physical, but it’s not really that much noticeable. First time I saw them was back in 1991, and then Angus was completely crazy, throwing himself everywhere, lying on the floor playing constantly, kicking around etc. But what he’s doing now is not far from that.
Like my brother mentioned, though, the only downside of seeing several AC/DC concerts in a short amount of time is that what feels unique for that night and special just for you, is the same thing they would do the other nights as well. It’s all carefully crafted, but, you could lose some of that special once-in-a-lifetime feeling. By the way, I should also mention that the sound was very very good, at least from where I was standing, and every note came through crystal clear.
Only thing that gave me some distaste was that, during the song The Jack (which is about a woman with venereal disease), the camera men like to film women in the audience to imply that they are “dirty women”. All fine and well, and for a laugh, but it loses all its joy when they start filming twelve year-old girls… What’s wrong with you, camera men?
The set list
With the treasure chest of songs AC/DC have, they could hardly go wrong. The songs they played were exactly the same as a few months ago, and in the same order, except for adding Dog Eat Dog to the set as well (it’s an ok song, but personally I know a lot of other songs that I feel would have suited better; e.g. Jailbreak, High Voltage, It’s a Long Way to the Top etc).
In my opinion, though, the middle of the set list is the weaker part, with too many new songs. They actually grow on me, though, except for Anything Goes, which I think is just a waste of time. If they made the middle a little stronger, I feel that no other band or concert would be able to top it.
The ending is, however, completely amazing, and could not be done better!
- 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
- Dog Eat Dog
- 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)
My thoughts and the future
This was the fifth time I saw AC /DC Live. First time was back in 1991, then 1996, two times in 2000 (New York and Stockholm) and now two times this year (Stockholm and Gothenburg). I believe an AC/DC concert experience is about as good as it can get, but I can’t help start wondering about the future.
Brian Johnson will turn 62 this year, and Angus Young is the youngest member at 54. AC/DC started out back in 1973 and have been around for an astonishing 36 years! Very impressive, but also makes me think that this were perhaps their last great tour. There might be one more, if we’re lucky, but then they will probably retire.
So, if you have the chance, go see AC/DC live, because it’s a truly unforgettable experience!