AC/DC @ Rogers Centre, Toronto (Photos and Review)
13-Jan-2009 07:00 pm
Contributed by: pete
I'm 14 again, and I'm out in my backyard on a hot summer's day jumping on a trampoline with Back In Black blasting on the stereo through the back windows of my house. (Seriously, I did that.) Then I'm 25, and in the Harp pub in Wollongong, Australia with Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap) playing in the background, and a guy has me pinned and is trying to write a bad word on my forehead with permanent marker. I can't remember what I did to provoke that, but anyway... my friend steps in to stop him, and my forehead lives through another night [mostly] unscathed.
What I'm trying to tell you is that despite the fact that the only AC/DC album I own is Back In Black, AC/DC has been a part of my life from my early teens, straight through until now, and so as they played through the set, my music-memory kicked in again and again, mentally placing me at different points in my life. The longevity of the band and their music is pretty astounding. Back when I was 14, if you asked me if I thought I'd be out photographing an AC/DC concert 28 years later, I probably would've laughed so hard, milk would have come out my nose. But there I was last friday, camera in hand, with 61 year-old Brian Johnson (vocals) and 53 year-old Angus Young (guitar) up on stage in front of 45,000 fans, showing us all that they are not even close to being too old to rock 'n' roll.
It's been a long time since I've been to a stadium-sized over-the-top concert like this. In fact, the last time I think I saw anything like it was when I was lucky enough to see Spinal Tap perform at a private event in San Francisco. If you've watched the Spinal Tap movie, you know that the fictitious history of Spinal Tap was influenced by the actual history AC/DC, and now it appears as though AC/DC may have been influenced in return by Spinal Tap in a bizarre hard-rock feedback loop.
There were multiple concert-defining moments, many of which brought a huge grin to my face as I attempted to decide if what I was witnessing was hilarious or awesome. In most cases, I'm going to concede that it was, in fact, both. Yes, both hilarious and awesome. Like when Angus Young performed his trademark strip-tease act, working his way down to the sudden exposure of his AC/DC boxer shorts, moon-style. Or during Whole Lotta Rosie, when a monstrous blow-up doll appeared and rode the train that was used as the backdrop for the concert. Or when the massive bell was lowered down during the start of Hell's Bells, and Brian Johnson leapt onto the bell rope and swung back and forth. And most definitely when Angus Young, amidst a mind-bending solo that was way over the line of wanking, stepped onto a pedestal at the end of the catwalk and was raised up into the sky portion of the Skydome (er, I mean "Rogers Centre"), where he got down on his side and spun around while playing. Yes, all hilarious, but also incredibly awesome. There was more: The incredible big-screen intro before they even took the stage, the cannons they used to close out the night during the last song For Those About To Rock (We Salute You), and just a whole lot of energy and antics that I would've never expected to see from a band with this many years experience.
This whole event was in support of their latest Wal-Mart-only release of their 2008 album Black Ice. But they knew they were playing to long-time fans, so the set list was only lightly peppered with a few of the new songs, which actually ended up fitting in perfectly with the rest of the set list. In fact, having never heard the new songs before, the only indicator I had that they were playing new material was that I didn't recognize the songs. They've got a winning formula, so why change it now? I had a way better time that I had anticipated. Way better. Hilarious and awesome.
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