Thursday, January 22, 2009

Let There Be Rock

My ears are still ringing. I’ve got a bit of a headache. My wallet is a little lighter.

Totally worth it.

As a high school kid, I was a huge AC/DC fan (as a high school kid, who isn’t). I still listen to the boys from Australia, but not regularly. When I found out they were going to be playing at the Spring Center, however, I was ecstatic. There are only a few bands on the planet with the stature of AC/DC that you still have the good fortune to be able to see play.

I went last night with a buddy and a couple of other good guys who were buddies of another buddy. The show was everything I hoped for. Really loud, a little sleazy, visually spectacular and, for all intents and purposes, just a giant party.

It really doesn’t matter that most of the band is about 60 years old. It doesn’t matter that Brian Johnson looks like the spawn of Harvey Keitel and Bette Midler (see below). It doesn’t matter that Malcolm looks like the spawn of Iggy Pop and Gollum. It doesn’t matter that Angus has a clearly visible elastic waistband in his classic schoolboy shorts.

It doesn’t matter because they still rock. They don’t just rock for a bunch of 60 year-olds, they just plain rock. They rolled through their set with more energy than you see out of most bands half their ages.

Tim Finn put a review up on The Star website and, as always, helpfully included a set list.

Setlist: Rock 'N' Roll Train; Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be; Back in Black; Big Jack; Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap; Thunderstruck; Black Ice; The Jack; Hell's Bells; Shoot To Thrill; War Machine; Anything Goes; You Shook Me All Night Long; TNT; Whole Lotta Rosie; Let There Be Rock. Encore: Highway to Hell; For Those About To Rock.

The highlights of the show were the back to back playing of two of my favorites, Dirty Deeds and Thunderstruck, and the back to back playing of TNT and Rosie. TNT included fireballs busting out all over the stage and the classic “oy” chant from the crowd. They followed that up with Rosie, which isn’t one of my favorite AC/DC songs. But anytime you produce a Macy’s Day Parade balloon of an overweight stripper who taps her feet to the beat of the song, you have a pretty good shot at winning me over. If anyone has a decent shot of this, by the way, please let me know and I will link to it. My camera phone is a piece.

Also pretty incredible was the Angus guitar solo 20 feet in the air in the middle of the arena. I was on the floor not quite halfway back, so the whole thing took place within a distance that might have been traumatizing if he had fallen of the platform. And I must say I was afraid he might.

Of course, it wouldn’t be right to talk about the show without mentioning the crowd. For one thing, there were a whole lotta Rosies. Seriously, if they don’t know better, shouldn’t their significant others step up and tell them? Anyway, there were a predictable number of mullets and tanktops.

But most of my entertainment from the crowd came from the guy in front of me who held is arms in the air through most of the concert as though he had just won an Olympic race. The poor guy next to him got a forearm to the face at least 15 times throughout the evening, and handled it pretty well. I managed to avoid his beer-clenching left hand a couple of times as he swayed somewhat in time with the music. During the break between the main set and the encore he tried to sit in his seat, which he had earlier folded up. His lady friend watched him go down and chose to leave him there until the encore began. At the point she helped him to his feet, and he resumed his victory celebration.

I also had the good fortune to meet Rick of local band Local Stranger. Rick told my companions and me about the awesomeness of Local Stranger, their website, and their upcoming show at the Ameristar. More importantly, mid-conversation he pulled out the best David Lee Roth wail I’ve heard since, well David Lee Roth. I will definitely be going to see Local Stranger.

So, it was an awesome show. Worth the time, money, and potential hearing loss. If they come around again, go see them.

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