I have to admit that I’m not the biggest AC/DC fan in the world. But I am a male between the ages of 10 and 90, and that means it is physically impossible for me to hear “Back in Black” without feeling a nice shot of arena-rock adrenaline and tapping my foot a few times.
The show the Australian rock legends put on at B.C. Place Stadium last night (September 22) had me doing a lot more than that. Letting loose was the rule during a two-hour set that turned the entire stadium into the kind of party that’s usually confined to the cheap seats way at the back.
AC/DC opened with “Rock or Bust” from the 2014 studio album (their 17th) of the same name. That might have had a few people itching for something from deeper in the group’s four-decade catalogue. But this was the Rock or Bust tour, after all. And it was only a few minutes before an assault from the band’s long list of greatest hits gave the people exactly what they were waiting for. “Shoot to Thrill”, “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be”, and “Back in Black” followed in quick succession. “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” and “Thunderstruck” soon followed, by which point there wasn't an arm in the very large room that wasn't in the air and fist-pumping.
I thought the band showed a little more energy during the first half of the show, but that’s not to say the energy was ever lacking.
Frontman Brian Johnson, age 67, proved he’s still quite the dancer. His vocals were strong and consistent throughout, though sometimes it was hard to tell given B.C. Place’s tough acoustics. Lead guitarist Angus Young, age 60 but looking 120, equally held his own, running a marathon from one side of the stage and back again, bringing his best Chuck Berry impersonation out repeatedly--and to a roar from the crowd every time. And though drummer Chris Slade and rhythm guitarist Stevie Young didn't receive a lot of time on the big screens, they held their own and gave Johnson and Young solid footing to stand on.
Measured by 2015 standards for stadium mega-productions set by Miley Cyrus, the stage AC/DC brought to B.C. Place was bare bones. Some rough-cut sheet metal held the band’s trademark letterhead high above a set-up that was otherwise nothing but Marshall amps and speaker stacks.
There wasn't a lot of crowd banter, either, but nobody shows up to an AC/DC show looking to hear poetry. The band delivered the hits hard and fast and kept some 45,000 people shaking all night long.