As a jaded, lifelong AC/DC fan who’s seen them live 8 times since 1996, even I was amazed at the sheer energy and muscle the band still put into their performances. Having attended both the Glasgow and London stops on this tour (the former, literally from the first row, standing) I can say with no trace of indulgence that they twice exceeded even my lofty expectations.
At the front, the sound was overwhelmingly big, phat and sharp as a pin, balanced almost as perfectly as on their more recent records, give or take a few scary peaks of volume that would be inevitable with a PA system the size of the Titanic.
Angus Young’s performance and musicianship was even more energetic and rabid than expected, especially since it’s been 6 years since their last tour. His solos were also faster and more aggressive than I remembered them last, possibly because of their decision to increase the number of days between shows. With Angus aged 60, and Brian Johnson a whopping 67, my guess is that they need plenty of rest between shows in order to deliver performances worthy of men at least half their age.
From 20 feet away it really was a privilege to peer into those fine old classic faces, as craggy and familiar as those of a Mount Rushmore president, forever to remain etched in rock. When one reflects at the utter longevity and breadth of their influence around the world, Angus almost appears to be a mythical creature from the dawn of the heavy rock era, like a centaur or a faun except half man / half guitar.
This is why it doesn’t matter if no one paid attention to their new material last week. AC/DC long ago gave up pretending that they were going to top Back in Black or Highway to Hell. Fifty odd thousand people paid good money not to dissect the latest album, but to experience the legend first hand, the Last Chance Saloon before the few remaining genuine rock gods close the vault of Olympus for ever. . . . Malcolm Young and Phil Rudd sadly not making it through as those marble gates slammed on them earlier this year.
So what other heritage act offers such balls out and slick performances? The Eagles? Nope. Rod Stewart? C’mon. Stones? Hah. Clearly, with a net worth of $140 million, Angus doesn’t have to be doing this if he didn’t really want to.
Whether they are better than other rock bands is only a matter of opinion – because the plain truth is that the AC/DC is now as timeless as the Who or The Stones. The behemoth is back, to remind all those little boys – with their little bands – what the real truth is. As they say in Glasgow, the city where the AC/DC story really began, Ye’s a’getting’ telt.
ACDC at Wembley Stadium, London, 4th of July 2015