Monday, September 21, 2015

Concert Review: AC/DC - August 26, 2015

The first concert I ever saw was AC/DC. It was an experience that I have never forgotten. I have seen the band perform live a couple of times since and have always loved their brand of entertainment. AC/DC is full of energy and the crowd reaction to them is infectious. The band has never disappointed and always brings their best to the stage. So when the opportunity to see them live for their Rock Or Bust tour came up, I knew I was going.

It was my buddy Rick that talked me into getting the floor seats. I would have been quiet content with a seat in the 200s or 300s, but when I asked Rick what he wanted to do, he insisted that we go for the best available. “This may be the last time they tour,” he reasoned. It didn’t take much to convince me, I was in, and when tickets went on sale, we got our floor seats.

In the parking lot, pre-show, we made new friends of the people around us, some who had come as far as four hours away to see their rock heroes perform. These people were having a blast and were extremely excited to see AC/DC. We talked for a while about past concerts, their trip to the stadium, and how many times we’ve seen the band. Drinks and good cheer was exchanged all around. And then it was time to head inside.

We entered the stadium and found our seats with enough time to see some of the opening act. I don’t remember the group name, but I do remember that they were decent and could hold their own. I wouldn’t run out and buy their music, but they weren’t horrible to listen to. However, I wanted AC/DC to take the stage.

When the sun dipped down and the stars came out, the lights went dark and the crowd roared. The opening notes of “Rock Or Bust” filled the air and we were underway. AC/DC was back in New Jersey and conquering the near sold out crowd.

I am a big fan of the band’s latest album, so I was happy to hear “Rock Or Bust” open the show. I was also hopeful that we might hear a lot more from that album. Rock Or Bust is a solid album that fits in well with the rest of the band’s back catalog and there are quite a few bright spot songs. Unfortunately, at least to me, AC/DC stuck to their usual format and only played three songs from the new album. When a band has such a vast catalog to go through, I guess that’s understandable. 

AC/DC put on their usual kick ass performance. Angus was as fantastic as always, Brian Johnson sounded great, and the addition of Chris Slade behind the drum kit was a nice one. He was the drummer for the band 25 years ago when I saw my very first concert, so I hold a special place in my musical heart for him. And while it was sad to not see Malcom on stage, the Young nephew filled in just fine. Musically the band was in total synch and sounded as terrific as ever.

Age is starting to catch up with them however. Angus’ run around the stage and epileptic guitar solos are a little less intense. He no longer drops his shorts and flashes the crowd, which I guess is a good thing. Brian Johnson did not swing from the “Hell’s Bells” bell. Little things like that were noticeable enough to make me realize the band is getting on in years and perhaps this really could be their final tour.

The highlight of the night came in the form of a rare, unexpected treat from Back In Black. “Have A Drink On Me” was performed and I went wild. It is one of my all time favorite AC/DC songs, and also one that I never thought I would hear in concert. Seeing it performed live was the ultimate highlight of my night.

Elder statesmen as they may be, AC/DC still puts on a loud, raucous, entertaining rock concert. They performed for well over two hours and did their best to keep everyone in the stadium involved and happy. If this is truly the last time that I will be able to see the band in concert, then they left me on a high note. What more can you ask for?

Rock Or Bust
Shoot To Thrill
Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be
Back In Black
Play Ball
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
High Voltage
Rock And Roll Train
Hells Bells
Baptism By Fire
You Shook Me All Night Long
Sin City
Shot Down In Flames
Have A Drink On Me
Whole Lotta Rosie
Let There Be Rock
Highway To Hell
For Those About To Rock We Salute You

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