Thursday 7 May 2015

On Stage: AC/DC

As a rock fan, AC/DC is one of those bands you have to see at least once in your life. Somehow I never got around it and almost missed out on this opportunity because I somehow remembered very late that the ticket sale had started. I only managed to get seated tickets at the back of the Gelredome stadium, but nevertheless I finally would be seeing the Australian rock giants.

AC/DC at Gelredome Arnhem, May 5 2015

The band members themselves aren't getting any younger so you'll never know if it will be the last time to watch them play live. Especially after last year when the illness of Malcolm Young and the fuss around Phil Rudd's arrest overshadowed the release of their latest album Rock or Bust. The band once again showed their resilience, replaced Rudd with Chris Slade and Malcolm with cousin Stevie Young, and announced their world tour. Besides their warm-up shows at Coachella appearance last month, this would be the kick-off concert for the big tour.

A huge set of horns with big screens at both sides and at the top awaits us in the soccer stadium. Vintage Trouble are the support act and know to win the fans over, who are awaiting the old rockers, with a solid and hot mix of rhythm & blues and soul. This was no surprise to me after seeing the band play live a few years back at Rock Werchter. It would be nice if they would come over for a club tour soon.

The big screens show astronauts, who discover something glowing on the moon, only to find the burning AC/DC letters, followed by a comet striking earth and kicking off the show with 'Rock or Bust'. Not a bad way to fire off your concert. The new song of the latest album is no stranger to the fans, many of whom are wearing the red lights horns sold by the merchandise. Only a few new songs are scattered throughout the set, which is mostly full of all their classics. It makes sense since the biggest part of the crowd, if not all of them, want to hear songs like 'Back In Black', 'Thunderstruck' and 'You Shook Me All Night Long'. All the expected elements are there: the big bell in 'Hells Bells' and the big inflatable Rosie in 'Whole Lotta Rosie'. There are a few surprises like the rarely played 'Sin City' but for the rest the band does what it does best: rock the hell out of this evening.

During the show the band is gaining more and more momentum, the sweat dripping from their faces and Angus Young's hair looking ever more straggly. They aren't showing any wear at all and the rockers, who are running into their sixties, look really fit. Young still is a delight to watch, like always dressed in a school uniform, now and then showing his famous duck walk. During 'Let The Be Rock' he's walking onto the catwalk to the platform that has not been used so far. While he's playing a screaming guitar solo, the platform rises, confetti canons firing around him. He continues his solo at the back on the backline of stacked amps and finally ends it on stage to a huge roar by the crowd.

The band ends in style with their iconic 'Highway To Hell' and 'For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)' with the blazing canons. One last blow and the two hour set is over. I think everyone tonight is leaving satisfied, getting exactly what they came for: a good old AC/DC show with all the songs and fireworks you can wish for and a band that is still on top of the world.

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01. Rock or Bust
02. Shoot to Thrill
03. Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be
04. Back in Black
05. Play Ball
06. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
07. Thunderstruck
08. High Voltage
09. Rock 'n' Roll Train
10. Hells Bells
11. Baptism by Fire
12. You Shook Me All Night Long
13. Sin City
14. Shot Down in Flames
15. Have a Drink on Me
16. T.N.T.
17. Whole Lotta Rosie
18. Let There Be Rock
19. Highway to Hell
20. For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)

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