Backed by a wall of Marshall amps and a ridiculously massive sound, Australian rock legends AC/DC left Perth fans Thunderstruck on the evening of Sunday 29th November for their Rock or Bust tour. Comfortably fuelled by explosive guitar riffs, dirty rock n’ roll blues and five blokes that have more energy than ‘The Energizer Bunny’ itself, AC/DC put on a show that would leave any music enthusiast breathless.
You couldn’t expect anything less from them, either. Easily one of the top five bands to experience live before you die, AC/DC always seem to be in fine form when it comes to their performances. Consistently brilliant and still just as exciting (even after seeing them a few times already); they maintain a level of power, professionalism and personality that simply blows you away – every single time.
Setting the tone for the night were Melbourne rockers Kingswood; and with a buzz starting to surround Domain Stadium in Subiaco as the sea of black t-shirts and devil horns rolled in, you knew it was warming up to be a great night. Swedish act The Hives followed with their white suits and loud humour revving the crowd up for what was still to come, with a few older favourites including Hate to Say I Told You So. Frontman Nicholaus Arson and co. were definite crowd-entertainers and put on a dramatically busy show with their garage-rock sound. Complete with roadies in ninja outfits (with one trying to score a tambourine solo), they left the audience readily hyped for AC/DC.
Bursting onto the stage at a cracking pace with Rock or Bust, you quickly began to wonder whether these guys could keep it up like this all night long. But they did, hit after hit for the entire set. AC/DC’s guitarist and only original member remaining in the band, Angus Young, turned 60 this year but showed no signs of slowing down. Still rocking the school uniform, there’s absolutely no words to describe the band’s irrepressible guitarist; who looks 100% in his element working a crowd of 65,000+ fans with just a Gibson SG.
Lead singer Brian Johnson got the party started with ease showcasing new material from their Rock or Bust album, including Play Ball and Baptism by Fire later in the set. Proving they are unlike most other bands in their era, their latest blues-rooted songs were a raging success with fans lapping up every moment.
But it was the older well-loved hits and Young’s ridiculously talented guitar-shredding that really encouraged the crowd into a beautifully-wild frenzy. Leading fans through every hit including Back in Black, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap and Thunderstruck, the band’s new lineup with Steve Young (replacing his uncle Malcolm Young after last years’ retirement due to illness) and Chris Slade (returning after a decade with the band in 1983 to replace Phil Rudd) have further secured AC/DC as a rock phenomenon. Along with long-running bassist Clive Wiliams, the trio provided the set’s well-oiled engine. And whilst it was Young and Johnson that were the definite show-stealers, the ease at which they all played together confirmed the band’s power of recovery even more – like there was ever any doubt anyway…
Unlike many other bands, there’s no need for much conversation with the crowd between songs – something that could be seen as a downfall – but their music and stage power positively speaks for itself. And when fans become a puppet to Young’s ‘devil horn’ hand mimics or Johnson’s occasional sentences, you have to take your hat off to just how dedicated these guys are. Young’s tireless playing was the perfect example of this; feeding off the crowd’s energy and putting everything into an epic show. Between Johnson’s cheeky dance moves, Young’s sidewalk ‘kicks’ and guitar solos that make you feel like your heart’s on fire, AC/DC have a rock n’ roll swagger that’s super contagious.
By the time the giant bell moved across the stage for Hells Bells, Young had started shedding his uniform off by the solo as he threw himself deeper into his guitar playing and on-the-ground Homer Simpson runs. You Shook Me All Night Long was dirty and raw, everything bluesy rock should be and Sin City was a highlight as Young ripped his school-boy tie off to slide up and down his guitar for more insane solo work.
Fans fell harder for the act when the juicy riffs of T.N.T shot through the speakers as fists pumped through the air; with kids as young as five rockin’ out to the band’s hits dressed head-to-know in AC/DC merch. The effect their music has on generation after generation is priceless. Whole Lotta Rosie saw a giant inflatable exotic dancer appear on stage making it abundantly clear how rock n’ roll these old-blokes are and by the finale Let There Be Rock, Young has swaggered his way down the stage catwalk into the audience much to everyone’s excitement.
But all wasn’t over just yet. AC/DC came back on stage to a screaming crowd for two encores of Highway to Hell and For Those About to Rock. Canons were going off, fireworks like the sky above the stadium and fans and AC/DC alike were in rock n’ roll heaven. By the end of the show, Young’s school uniform was all over the place and each one of the band members were dripping with sweat – just one of the signs the band had put their heart and soul into the night. AC/DC are without a doubt one of the best rock bands to come out of Australia – and they’ve raised the bar that high, I wonder if it’ll ever be beaten.
AC/DC Rock or Bust Australian Tour 2015 | Set List
Rock or Bust
Shoot to Thrill
Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be
Back in Black
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
Rock n’ Roll Train
Baptism by Fire
You Shook Me All Night Long
Shot Down in Flames
Have a Drink on Me
Whole Lotta Rosie
Let There Be Rock
Highway to Hell
For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)
Photo Credits: Mix 94.5