Saturday, January 31, 2009

For those who are AC/DC, we salute you

Some events are over-hyped so much, that their unfolding must be a disappointment. The Super Bowl is often an example. I was afraid that the AC/DC concert last night at FedEx Forum would be a case in point. The show, however, was amazing, and I needn't have worried.

When I showed up, they didn't make me sit in the geriatric section, and I'm quite pleased about that. Also, they announced "no cameras," but everyone had one. Digital cameras are so small these days, that it would be impossible to keep people from bringing them in. I carried my point-and-shoot along and took some shots for both of my readers.

(Click any of the images to enlarge.)

The show started around 8:30 and for the next one hour and 45 minutes there was electricity in the air, oops, bad pun it was high voltage another bad pun, oh well, couldn't resist. Let's get one thing straight: AC/DC doesn't mess around. They rock and they rock hard -- no punches are pulled. The people in my section stood, stomped their feet and stayed standing for the entire show. What did I do? I stood too, of course. The show was tightly choreographed. It moved smoothly from one song to another and the light show was great.

AC/DC used more props than any group I've seen (although Pink Floyd gives them a run for their money). The show began with a giant video of a train out of control and they then began the concert with their current hit "Rock 'N Roll Train." The train stayed as a set (like you would see if you went to a play) and you can see it here:

Besides the train, if you look to the top-left, you can see one of the three large jumbo-trons.

The singer, Brian Johnson, was extremely engaging. He talked to the audience and drew us in. There was a runway that extended maybe 90 feet out into the audience and he spent a lot of time there, high-fiving with the crowd as he sang.

You can see part of the runway in this image.

When I was in high school back in the iron age, no wait, it was only the bronze age, I had a history teacher who divided us into small discussion groups. We had to take the material from the text book and break it out into three categories depending on how important we thought it was. I forget the name of the lowest one, but it was something like details or nice. Then there were two higher groups of material: goods and musts with the latter being the most important. When you see a concert, the "must" part is the music -- in the end, that's what it's all about -- the music.

Some bands get stale with time, but not this one. Their music sounded fresh and better than ever. They played all the hits. The audience joined in, particularly on the song "Dirty Deeds." But AC/DC wasn't afraid to play a new song or two. "Big Jack" and "Black Ice" are from their most recent album and they were both awesome, too.

Angus Young, the lead guitarist, is one of the founding members of the group (along with rhythm guitarist brother Malcolm Young.) He began the concert wearing his trademark schoolboy uniform with shorts, schoolboy cap, white shirt and tie and jacket. About one-third way into the concert, he stripped down to just shorts and shoes and socks.

Shirtless Angus Young is front right in the image above.

His guitar work was beyond excellent, probably the best I've ever heard (and yes, I've seen Clapton). Several times, he took his right hand away and continued playing with just his left. I assume this is hard to do, and, even if it's not, it looks quite impressive.

Angus Young plays his guitar (above) in front of a large screen that zooms in on his finger-work.

I mentioned the light show. The above is one of many photos I took that show the effect of the different lights.

When they performed "Whole Lotta Rosie", they used another prop shown above -- a large-breasted woman riding the run-away train. Notice the 90-feet blow-up doll has an AC/DC tattoo on her arm.

If you click to enlarge the image above, you'll see a giant bell near the top. It was lowered before they sang (guess what?) "Hells Bells" -- another of their many props so props to them for their props. One of the songs they sang for an encore was "For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)" and they had giant cannons that fired. (The other encore song was Highway to Hell.) During the song "T.N.T.," giant fireballs came out of the train.

The opening act was "The Answer," a heavy metal group from Belfast, Ireland. They were okay, but after they finished playing, I still wasn't quite sure what the question was.

You can read the review that was in the local newspaper, The Memphis Commercial-Appeal, by clicking here. I like mine better -- it's is more informal, has more photos and has YOU reading it!


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. nice post.

    "If you click to enlarge the image above, you'll see a giant bell near the top. It was lowered before they sang (guess what?) "Hells Bells."

    Cool, I was wondering about that noose that shows in some of the photos was for. Did anyone ring that bell then?


  3. Man, that show looks like fun. Pictures turned out great!

    How the ears holding up?

  4. @Joxum: the bell was just for looks.

    @OhCaptain: Huh?

  5. You didn't disappoint with the review. I never imagined it would be a show like that, with big props and production.

  6. Nice review. I have never seen them in concert. I had heard before that they are still great. Sounds like that assessment was accurate.

  7. Great pics! Loved Rosie..even with her torn stockings LOL Looks like they've still got it. They were my first concert. It was at the Mid South colesium and Angus was shirtless then too LOL

    One question...When Brian talked to the audience, how in the world did you understand anything he said??? Hahaha

  8. @Boise diva: It's interesting to note that their music is straight ahead, no nonsense, hard core rock and roll, yet they added "frills" if you will.

    @lightning: thanks for your kind words. Hope you're having fun and doing well in Vegas.

    @justdealem: They say that the British and Americans are very similar . . . except for the language, of course!

  9. Nice! I saw AC/DC a few years back and they absolutely killed it. Among the best non-Prince live concerts I've seen.