Saturday, 27 June 2009

AC/DC Live Review from Wembley

Well I finally made it to see the legends that are AC/DC at Wembley along with I guesstimate 70,000 to 80,000 rock fans who had also made this unholy pilgrimage to the altar of all things rock.

This gig has been highly anticipated and I know many people who have had their tickets a long long time, but not being a huge AC/DC fan I only got hold of my ticket a couple of weeks ago on a spur of the moment ebay purchase. I just felt I had to witness this event as it could be the last time to see these rock legends although having now seen them once, I would go again in a heartbeat. I still wouldn't call myself a fan of the band's music, but the live AC/DC experience is something to behold and just captures you hook, line and sinker.

I entered the stadium quite early and could have even got a nice spot close to the front but my legs were tired from the waiting outside to get in and there I thought I would get a nice seat for the first 2 acts and then venture down for the main event, although I knew by the time AC/DC would come on, it would pretty impossible to get really close to the stage but I wasn't too unhappy with my final vantage point in the end.

First of all we had to get through the two support acts before the Aussie and one Anglo gods took to the stage. The Answer were up first at 6pm. To be honest I didn't really like their new album. It's very retro in feel but I just couldn't really get into the songs. To my surprise they were quite good live. A very energetic long maned frontman, halfway between Robert Plant and Roger Daltrey. Their songs were quite groovy and fast with a nice upbeat rocky feel. Unfortunately the sound as expected was pretty atrocious and you could not really get a good feel for the songs. The frontman had long flowing locks and funny headbang shuffling movements which were quite cool. They were ok but I doubt I will retry their music on plastic.

After the cancellation of Thin Lizzy (which was a damn shame if you ask me), the main support slot was given to a young band called The Subways. I really had no clue who they were to be honest although I checked their myspace before the gig and didn't really like what I heard. During their set I just spent my time walking round with a beer soaking up the atmosphere at the more spacious back parts of the arena and also sitting down taking a rest waiting for them to end. I guess a few people liked them but most were not really into them at all and they got plenty of catcalls as expected. The lead singer kept saying "sexy fuckers" to the rowd and swearing, trying to act cool in front of a rock crowd and it just sounded totally lame and weak to be honest, well to me anyway. Finally they ended and left and the roadies got the stage ready for AC/DC to enter the stage at 8.25 or so.

The start of the show began with a very cool animated video clip on the big screens which led on to the opening track Rock 'n Roll Train. Nicely done and pretty funny and then the band runs on stage and straight into said track with full force and complete abandon. As soon as the track had started the whole Wembley floor went pretty wild let me tell you! Beer was flying through the air and every one was jostling, dancing and hollering the chorus at the top of their voices and this was just the first song! Soon the energy rush subsided for a split-second only to return at the start of each song more or less or when a particular Angus lick or chorus sent the hordes into delirium once again. I think there was more beer and water in the air and flying around than there was in people's cups!

Back in Black is a killer tune and sounded amazing live with it's slick semi funky groove riff in full force with a few plastic air guitars being shredded to the maximum. I should also mention by now that the sound for AC/DC was amazing. Crystal clear and not too loud, just perfect. Although I did expect this, as previous visits to Wembley have shown me that support bands always get a raw deal when it comes to sound and the main act suddenly and miraculously gets amazing sound.

More singalong tracks like Dirty Deeds were aired and sang and played with perfection. Shot Down In Flames was particularly awesome with it's great lurching, typically Angusized riff. Thunderstruck was a track I was particularly looking forward to as the weatherman had promised us actual thunder for the night and I was hoping it might even happen during the song! But the weather was great all day although very humid and muggy with hardly a breath of wind although I think the confines of Wembley has something to do with that. The high and enclosed massed banks of seating probably encapsulate the air somewhat which means it's quite still and the air is a bit heavy. Still no complaints about the weather at all and I'm actually thankfully it didn't piss down on us in the end.

During The Jack which is a song about a dodgy lady although they've got a few songs about dodgy ladies hehe, the stage camera was looking at chicks in the crowd and one lass got the courage to lift her top up to reveal her boobies which got a nice cheer from the crowd and also from singer Brian from the stage. Let's talk a little about lead guitarist Angus Young. I am not sure exactly how old he is but I'd guess close to 60 but the guy is more or less fit as a fiddle. He does his strut and his general crazy schoolboy antics like a man half his age. Sure the face and hair are looking a bit raggetty taggety but the man is still rocking and shredding hard. Brian Johnson the singer is still belting them out like there's no tomorrow with his gravel throated manner in full working order. The rest of the band take a back seat but don't mistake them for being the weak links in the band. They are solid as a rock and hold the whole show together of that there is no doubt.

You Shook Me All Night Long was a huge crowd favourite and singalong. Hells Bells was great and got immense cheers and singalongs and the same can be said for most of the other tracks. During the last track Let There Be Rock, Angus has his very long 25 minute solo spot. I thought this might be possibly pushing the boat out a little too far but to be honest the guy is just mesmerising and it flew by in a flash. He ended the solo spot all the way down the runway and in the middle of the stage on a platform from where huge streams of ticker tape were released into the air which was a pretty awesome site.

Finally it was time for the encore and we got two of the band's greatest and most legendary tracks to end and then it was time for goodbyes with loud firecrackers let off and a huge firework stream as a send off. We got a searing version of Highway to Hell with practically everyone in the whole of Wembley singing the chorus. This was just a great night of unadulterated fun. I recommend anyone to see AC/DC at least once even though you might not be a fan. The show they put on is a sight to be hold. The music is easy to get into in a live setting and once you get a couple of beers down you, then you'll soon be drawn into their world of simple rock 'n roll.

If I get the chance I will go and see AC/DC again. I just hope that I do get that chance though obviously they might not want to do another massive tour like this one, but I still think they have it in them to keep going. They are old and tired but the heart they show on stage and for the fans leads me to believe they might yet keep going on and on and on.

01. Rock 'N Roll Train
02. Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be
03. Back In Black
04. Big Jack
05. Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap)
06. Shot Down In Flames
07. Thunderstruck
08. Black Ice
09. The Jack
10. Hells Bells
11. Shoot To Thrill
12. War Machine
13. Dog Eat Dog
14. Anything Goes
15. You Shook Me All Night Long
16. T.N.T.
17. Whole Lotta Rosie
18. Let There Be Rock


19. Highway To Hell
20. For Those About To Rock

I did also take video clips which I will upload in another posting a bit later. Although my camera whilst taking great videos cannot render sound anywhere near acceptable and my phone can render sound to a level which makes the song recognisable, but has a tiny low quality picture so alas the vids are not great but that's for the next post once I've done conversions etc.

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