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AC/DC: Rock and Roll Train Keeps Goin'

The United Center - Chicago, IL, USA - August 14, 2009

by Jackie Lee King

AC/DCNext year will be the 30th anniversary of AC/DC's best selling record of all time "Back In Black," but they've been around since 1973. Brian Johnson (Vocals) is in his 60's while the youngster, in more ways than one, Angus Young (Lead Guitar) clocks in at 54. How can a bunch of blues lovin' blokes still inspire young girls to flash their boobs; even while their fathers are at the same show? It's very simple, they keep it simple.

The band has aged, but can still rock and roll like nobody's business. They play a mean 12-bar blues amped up by a wall of Marshall's along the back of the stage. Time has taken its toll on Brian's voice, but now he seems to be able to sing the Bonn Scott (Original vocals - Deceased) songs a lot better than the ones that he originated. Regardless, both eras of the band were well represented in their current tour for their latest release "Black Ice". The band banged out the hits, or should I say 'spread em' right there in front of God and everyone, much to the delight of the crowd. [Of course the Almighty was there; he was catching up with his ol' devilish friend Angus].

The stage show was comprised of a huge locomotive that actually burst though the backing video screen (after a naughty animated into), splitting it into two for the majority of the show. They had a huge stage to move around on, but the core band hung back around the drummer most of the time. It was like a pub gig (on steroids nonetheless), while Angus and Brian ran all around like rattled children. After each and every song, Angus would come back to the core group; Malcolm Young (Rhythm Guitar), Cliff Williams (Bass), Phil Rudd (Drums) and finish the song facing them, while Brian ran around doing his own thing.

Normally this would have annoyed me because I like my rock and roll concerts to...well...roll. I don't like it when the band has a mini meeting after every single song. It's rude to the audience and shows that they haven't gotten their shit together. In the case of AC/DC, it's different. They have nothing to prove. They are steadfast icons with very loyal fans; besides they played 21 songs from 9 albums for a 2 hour show that included a 20 minute guitar solo from Angus. I think they are entitled to have a couple of breathers now and then.

Midway though the show Brian announced to the audience that "He's [Angus] got the devil in his fingers and a blues boogie woogie soul" just before launching into a swanky version of "The Jack." Angus's Chuck-Berry-duck-walk stroll across the stage hasn't lost its footing yet. He still strips down to his kickers during the show, but now his band branded boxers covers his back side. I don't know if I'm offended that he didn't show bum, but I'm glad he didn't.

The only bumbling point in the show was during "Hells Bells" when the backing bell sound didn't really sync with the live element, but by this time in the show no one cared about the accuracy of things. Hell, I knew that Brian wouldn't be able to reach some of the notes in the songs; but the audience didn't fucking care. I barely heard his voice during "You Shook Me All Night Long," due to the crowd singing along.

Then almost at the end of the show, a very large inflatable doll appeared out of nowhere and mounted the locomotive set peace with steam pouring from between her thighs. It was just the thing to get us though a bawdy version of "Whole Lotta Rosie." And boy did she ride that rail like she was competing in the Kentucky Derby; truly a triple crown, or should I say XXX, performance. It's all in good fun, besides all of her strategic parts were covered, but they were big!

At the closing of the show, the screens came together for the last couple of songs, which showed a video montage of their records over they years. I marveled at how one band has put out so much, and affected so many generations, could still be around and really kick some ass. And after all of the explosions and cannon fire is done, I salute AC/DC for keeping it simple; Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll.

SET LIST AUGUST 14, 2009

  1. Rock n Roll Train (from Black Ice, 2008)
  2. Hell Ain't a Bad Place To Be (from Let There Be Rock, 1977)
  3. Back In Black (from Back In Black, 1980)
  4. Big Jack (from Black Ice, 2008)
  5. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (from Dirty Deeds, 1976)
  6. Shot Down in Flames (from Highway To Hell, 1979)
  7. Thunderstruck (from The Razors Edge, 1990)
  8. Black Ice (from Black Ice, 2008)
  9. Bad Boy Boogie Interlude (from Let There Be Rock, 1977)
  10. The Jack (from TNT, 1975)
  11. Hells Bells (from Back In Black, 1980)
  12. Shoot to Thrill (from Back In Black, 1980)
  13. War Machine (from Black Ice, 2008)
  14. Dog Eat Dog (from Let There Be Rock, 1977)
  15. Anything Goes (from Black Ice, 2008)
  16. You Shook Me All Night Long (from Back In Black, 1980)
  17. TNT (from TNT, 1975)
  18. Whole Lotta Rosie (from Let There Be Rock, 1977)
  19. Let There Be Rock (from Let There Be Rock, 1977)

Encore:

  1. Highway To Hell (from Highway To Hell, 1979)
  2. For Those About To Rock (from For Those About To Rock, 1981)

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