Monday, November 10, 2008

AC/DC Kicks Ass As Usual

AC/DC does nothing new on this tour (aside from some killer huge video screens, opening animation and wrecked train set), which is exactly why they keep selling out night after night and pulling in one of the oldest and nastiest looking crowds I've ever seen at a rock show. Considering Angus Young reminded me of Don Knotts' corpse being reanimated by Chuck Berry's soul - I guess it all fits just fine. Last night was the first time I ever noticed a rock drummer, Phil Rudd, smoking while playing. Amazing.
Brian Johnson was in remarkably fine voice and the band was incredibly loud. I was singing at the top of my lungs and couldn't even hear myself most of the night. And once the cannons start firing in "For Those About To Rock"... well, forget about it. My ears are still ringing, so I consider myself proudly saluted.
Last night also made it definite - gotta get the AC/DC pack for Rock Band.

Set:
Rock n Roll Train
Hell Ain't a Bad Place To be
Back In Black -- Watch on YouTube
Big Jack
Dirty deeds done dirt cheap
Thunderstruck
Black Ice
The Jack
Hells Bells
Shoot to thrill -- Watch it on YouTube
War Machine
Anything Goes
You Shook Me all night long
TNT
Whole lotta Rosie
Let There Be Rock

Encore:
Highway To Hell
For Those About To Rock

Review: Boston Globe
by Sarah Rodman

AC/DC keeps the voltage on high

While change is being cheered in some corners of the world right now, the members of AC/DC know that there is also some value in sticking to your guns. Or, in their case, cannons.

Last night at the TD Banknorth Garden, "Hells Bells" rang out, the walls were shaking, the big guns blazed in salute to those who had rocked, and for 1 hour and 40 minutes nobody worried about their 401(k). For a hard-rock concert, you could scarcely ask for a more satisfying escape. But AC/DC offered it, in the form of lead guitarist Angus Young's vivid, joyous solos and lead singer Brian Johnson's just-gargled-with-Rustoleum howl.

The pair led the band and the devil's horn-throwing - and wearing - sold-out crowd of 15,000 through a night of old songs, and new songs that sound like old songs.

There were a few frills - aside from those cannons, a locomotive chugged onstage to announce opener "Rock 'n' Roll Train" - and plenty of thrills delivered with heat and heart. There was no milking of "TNT" or adding new stretches of road to "Highway to Hell." This was lean, clean riffage and four-on-the-floor whomp at its most pure. As Johnson said during "Shoot to Thrill," "It's rock 'n' roll boogie; just let it creep right on through you."

Perhaps most impressive was the shockwave the group sent through songs so ubiquitous they've become almost inaudible over the years. Johnson's mischievous grin and laddish gusto and Young's white-hot precision managed to sear the residue off songs like "You Shook Me All Night Long" and "Thunderstruck" caked on by overuse and abuse by cover bands and classic rock radio, and at ball games and strip clubs. And the lascivious bump-and-grind of "The Jack" remains a guilty pleasure as Young continues his silly striptease tradition, though now he only gets down to his AC/DC-branded boxers from his schoolboy uniform.

He may still embrace his inner adolescent, but Young's guitar playing is that of a man his age (53) with plenty of experience in the woodshed. His fretwork was the picture of economy throughout the night, but he got his guitar hero on for a fiery solo during "Whole Lotta Rosie" - complete with a blow-up representation of the titular gal - and let loose with an epic ripper on "Let There Be Rock." He careered from speedy runs to piercing sustains while duckwalking and flailing about the stage with abandon.

At 35 years deep and with 70 million records sold, the boys in AC/DC know exactly what their fans like, and the recently released "Black Ice," their first album in eight years, reflects that. Not surprisingly, it sounds like most of the ones that came before it, so the tunes from it - including the swinging title track - fit in just fine last night.

Irish rockers, and clear AC/DC devotees, the Answer opened the show with a complementary sound and attitude.
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Review: Boston Herald
by Jed Gottlieb

AC/DC lights up Garden

Angus Young is 53. Let that sink in. The guy in the purple, crushed-velvet schoolboy outfit bouncing down the catwalk in front of 15,000 people tearing through dirty blues Clapton can’t play is 53 years old. Wow.

Last night at packed-to-the-rafters TD Banknorth Garden, AC/DC fired off classic rock hit after classic rock hit sounding, and acting, like the young lads they were 30 years ago. OK, so with a combined age of 281, the quintet’s lost a step. But with the amount of beer guzzled and weed toked, nobody cared.

The band began with “Rock ’n’ Roll Train” - the opener of its new Wal-Mart exclusive, “Black Ice.” New stuff usually doesn’t go over well with the classic rock crowd, but as the album’s gone platinum in just the last two-and-a-half weeks, a shocking number of fans had their beers in the air in a rock ’n’ roll salute.

But no AC/DC show begins until Angus heats up. During “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be” he was hot. On “Back in Black,” smoke was rising from the fretboard of his iconic Signature SG. But it was on “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” that those devil horns began to poke through his schoolboy cap and he burst into flames.

From here on out it was all Angus. Singer Brian Johnson is to be commended -the bloke never could sing, so it’s amazing he’s still able to wheeze and wail through almost two hours of stadium pleasers. The rhythm section of brother Malcolm Young on guitar, Cliff Williams on bass and Phil Rudd on drums - half the night with a burning cigarette between his lips - hit a groove and kept it nailed down. But everyone came for Angus.

The pint-sized, bar-blues genius - who looked more like Gollum than a rock god - tore through “The Jack,” “Shoot to Thrill” and “T.N.T.” with the moxy of a reform school-bound ninth-grader. And during “Let There Be Rock” - Angus’ big showpiece - it wasn’t his duck walk or on-the-ground flailing or the platform at the end of the catwalk that carried him 30 feet in the air that made it so awesome. It was the riffs. The kick-in-the-groin, simple-and-savage, rock ’n’ roll riffs.

Attention Wal-Mart shoppers, your minds have just been blown!

Few claim AC/DC as the greatest rock band of all time, but if rock’s about two things - sex and rebellion - then these guys may be No. 1. Or at least that’s what everybody at the Garden thought when the band blasted through an encore of “Highway to Hell” and “For Those About to Rock.”

You know when sexy celebs have utterly average kids? Well, that’s what AC/DC opener the Answer was. AC/DC and Led Zeppelin had a kid. Its rock was as average as Rumer Willis.

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