Thursday, 29 October 2009

New Orleans Arena, AC/DC packed a formidable and familiar punch

In an unstable world, it is good that some things never different. AC/DC is one such thing.
For counting and 36 years, the quintet has trafficked in a blues based form of hard rock ‘n’ roll served up with a naughty wink. They do not pander with power ballads. They do not experiment with drum loops. And they most certainly do not rap.
The band’s 1980 masterwork “Back In Black” is, according to the Recording Industry Association of America, the fifth best selling album of all time in the United States, at 22 million copies and counting. Many of the songs on that album would work just as well on any other AC/DC album – except, perhaps, a couple of lame late-‘80s efforts – and vice-versa.
As evidenced by AC/DC’s Wednesday night show at a not-quite-full New Orleans Arena, not only does the song remain the same, but the presentation as well. Lead guitarist Angus Young, at 54, still vamps in his crushed-velvet schoolboy uniform. Vocalist Brian Johnson still wears his working-guy tight jeans, motorcycle boots, sleeveless shirt and flat cap.
As for the rest of the band, drummer Phil Rudd, bassist Cliff Williams and guitarist Malcolm Young look like guys who collect tickets at a traveling carnival’s Ferris wheel. They could easily pass for members of their own road crew.
But collectively, they rank among the tightest, most dependable rhythm sections in rock. They are why AC/DC songs are so popular in strip clubs; their groove speaks directly to the hips.
They formed three legs of a tripod. Malcolm Young and Williams stood rooted in place on either side of Rudd’s kit, except when they ventured forth in unison to add backing vocals. Vocal chores complete, they retreated to their stations. During Angus’s finale of a solo, they stood patiently, arms folded across their instruments, until their contributions were again required. As usual, they resumed exactly in place and in time.
So it went for two hours. Hundreds of souvenir red devil horns flickered red throughout the arena; one could also purchase an Angus Young school boy tie for $35. An opening cartoon starring our heroes in a PG-13 adventure aboard a “Rock ‘n Roll Train” gave way to the song of the same name and a smoking, life-size locomotive that served as the stage backdrop.
As far as arena rock props go, the train managed to walk that fine line between awesomeness and Spinal Tap-esque excess. So, too, the giant inflatable floozy – her bosoms were taller than the Young brothers – that straddled the locomotive during “Whole Lotta Rosie.”
During his traditional striptease in “The Jack,” Young dropped his shorts. In years past, he flashed a full moon. In his only concession to advancing years, this time he revealed only a pair of AC/DC boxers.
Otherwise he was his manic old self, a perpetual motion machine whose solos in “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” and elsewhere were spot on. Happily, he is a rock guitarist who still remembers how, and why, to solo. His sources go back to the dawn of rock ‘n’ roll and beyond. The hard blues that cranked over the P.A. as the pre-show music is an obvious influence. His duck walk is straight-up Chuck Berry.
Unlike, say, Eddie Van Halen, Young remains in full possession of both his abilities and the willingness and focus to deploy them. “Let There Be Rock” ended the regular set with an epic Angus guitar excursion. Camera operators had the good sense to project a close-up of his fingers on the 30-foot-tall center screen, so all could bear witness to the details.
Johnson was, as usual, the whole arena’s best mate. How, at 62, he sustains his voice – it is the sound of gravel being gargled – for two hours a night, let alone a months-long tour, is a mystery. He ranged back and forth across the stage and the runway that extended halfway across the arena’s floor, grinning, enjoying himself and making sure those in attendance did as well.
With few exceptions – the sleazy, slow-blues bump ‘n grind of “The Jack,” the bombast of “For Those About to Rock” – AC/DC sticks to a familiar tone and tempo. Material from 2008’s “Black Ice,” the band’s first studio album in eight years, coexisted amicably with the classics. “Thunderstruck,” questionable in its studio version, benefited from a live treatment.
No one does AC/DC better than AC/DC, and they are as potent as ever. The staggering riffage of “Hell’s Bells,” the nearly-tipping-over-the-side-of-the-freeway rush of “Shoot to Thrill,” the curt, snarling guitars of “TNT,” the dirty boogie of “Whole Lotta Rosie” – it’s all still intact.
Early on, in “Back in Black,” Johnson changed the “I’m back” line to “we’re back.” But AC/DC has never really gone – or faded -- away.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Record staff with offer to sign AC/DC record 'Scruffy geezer' stuns Keswick

So co-owner David Lomas thought nothing of it when he saw a “scruffy geezer in a flat cap” browsing through the vinyl albums at the St John’s Street shop currently.
The man brought one record to the counter.
The rock band AC/DC was Back In Back.
Released in 1980, this is one of the best selling albums of all time, having shifted something in the region of 40m copies.
“Would you like me to sign it?” asked the customer.
“Er... who are you?” replied David.
“I’m the singer.”
Yes, the scruffy geezer was AC/DC front man Brian Johnson, whose gravelly voice is one of the most familiar in rock music.
David was glad to let Brian sign the album and the signature quickly made the record a very lucrative item.
So lucrative that another customer offered to buy it there and then.
The price was raised from £8 to £25 and the deal was done.
Mark Stainton, another of the shop’s three co-owners, tells Reiver: “David didn’t recognise him. He does the books, not the records.
“He wouldn’t recognise Madonna if she came in wearing a pointy bra.
“I got a phone call from David just afterwards. He’d looked on the internet and seen pictures of Brian. He said he looked just the same as he does on stage, in his flat cap.”
Johnson, now 62, is from Gateshead. His main home is in Florida but he has been seen in the Lakes before.
Although its members are nearing retirement age, AC/DC are still going strong.
The band’s most recent album, Black Ice, reached number one last year.
Johnson joins Paul McCartney on the short list of famous musicians who shop in Cumbria; McCartney having said that he enjoys shopping in Carlisle because he can apparently do so without being recognised.
As for AC/DC, Reiver wonders if their singer’s love of Cumbria might inspire them to re-record some of their best-known songs?
Perhaps we can look forward to Back in Blackford, Highway to Helvellyn and Whole Lotta Rosley.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

No Bull Concert Set For Blu-Ray Release In December, AC/DC

According to, after a delay of over a year, AC/DC’s 1996 concert filmed in Madrid, Spain will eventually hit Blu-Ray in two months. Sony Music is prepping AC/DC: No Bull for a high definition release on December 8.
There’s no word on tech specs or extras as of yet, but a full tracklisting can be viewed below.
Suggested list price for the Blu-ray has been set at $24.98 US.
The concert was filmed in 1996 in the Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas, in Madrid, Spain, on Super 16 film.

‘Back In Black’
‘Shot Down In Flames’
‘Girl’s Got Rhythm’
‘Hard As A Rock’
‘Shoot To Thrill’
‘Boogie Man’
‘Hail Caesar’
‘Hells Bells’
‘Dog Eat Dog’
‘The Jack’
‘Rock And Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution’
‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’
‘You Shook Me All Night Long’
‘Whole Lotta Rosie’‘TNT’
‘Let There Be Rock’
‘Highway To Hell’
‘For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)’

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Third Concert Added; Two 65,000-Capacity Buenos Aires Shows Sold Out, AC/DC

With two 65,000 capacity gigs (December and December 4) at the River Plate Stadium in Buenos Aires, Argentina already sold out, AC/DC has added one more concert at the same venue on December 6. This Tuesday ticket go on sale, October 13. AC/DC will release a limited edition box set called "Backtracks" on November 10. The set, which comes in two versions, will be available on November 10 only through the ACDC web site. As previously speculated, the "deluxe" package is housed inside a fully operational AC/DC amplifier and will come in a limited, autographed run of 50,000 copies. Included in the set are three CDs of live and studio rarities, two DVDs, a vinyl LP also containing studio rarities, a 164 page coffee table book, fine art lithographs of rare photos, a reproduction of an early AC/DC concert flyer and other memorabilia, including a button, guitar pick, and more. A standard edition will feature two CDs of live and studio material, a single DVD plus bonus videos. The first DVD is the long awaited video compilation "Family Jewels 3", which rounds up the group's music videos, live performances, and promotional clips from 1992 to 2009. The second DVD, "Live At The Circus Krone", captures a complete club show that the band played in Munich in 2003.Details on pre-ordering the set are available at the web site, along with the full track listing.Among the studio rarities included in the set are alternate versions of a number of early AC/DC tracks, as well as the never-before-released "Love Song", possibly the only ballad the band ever wrote with original singer Bon Scott.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Medical Problems explains AC/DC Singer That Forced Show Cancellations

On Wednesday AC/DC singer Brian Johnson released a statement on the band’s Web site as a follow up to an announcement earlier this week that AC/DC would be cancelling six October dates Johnson needed to have because of a “medical procedure”.
“It’s an inside job that forced me to reschedule those upcoming 6 gigs,” he said.“Inside being the operative word here. My insides were giving me lots of trouble, ulcers and such. They were really uncomfortable and painful, which required me to seek immediate medical attention.
“The doctors looked me over, poked, scanned and prodded all possible areas. In the end they gave me a clean bill of health, but insisted that I take a bit of time to recuperate and rest up. We’ve been touring non stop since this time last year and have a lot more touring to do. Thanks for all of the get well wishes and I hope to see you all again very soon.”
AC/DC gigs in Phoenix, Las Vegas, Louisville, Kansas City, Des Moines and Milwaukee were all postponed, with the tour scheduled to resume Oct. 16 in Washington D.C.
AC/DC has been touring since July in support of its Black Ice album, released last fall.