For Those About To Rock: Tales of an AC/DC Virgin
My ears are still ringing, but it was completely worth it. On Monday night (Sept. 29) I went to my first AC/DC concert at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium and it was every thing I expected it to be and more.
It’s amazing how some bands elude you, not because you’re not a fan but somehow you just miss certain acts as a serious concertgoer. I have been to hundreds of concerts and there is still a list of artists and bands I have yet to catch live. I am proud to finally scratch off AC/DC off my list.
When I arrived in the stadium there were no bathroom lines and the concession lines were small, but the merchandise stands throughout the venue were completely packed with fans loading up on ‘Rock or Bust’ gear, including especially popular flashing red devil horns that lit up Dodger Stadium all night making it look like a real “Highway to Hell.”
The crowd was diverse: Spotted were old men with oxygen tanks, families with young children, fathers with millennial-aged sons, grandparents (one set using Facetime to give their children and grandchildren a taste of the show), groups of girls in skin tight clothing, aging long-haired rockers, dudes with backwards hats constantly high-fiving everyone around them and many middle-aged professional men and women looking to let loose on a Monday night.
AC/DC opened the final show of their North American tour with “Rock or Bust,” the first of only three new songs they would play all night. After the opening track, frontman Brian Johnson greeted the L.A. crowd saying, “Tonight we're going to make some rock and music and the party starts now.” The fans stepped up the plate -- so to speak -- matching the band's hard-partying image with the scent of beer, cigarette and pot smoke, mixing with the unmistakable smell of Dodger dogs wafting through the stadium.
Guitarist Angus Young, in his iconic schoolboy uniform, ran around the stage for the entire two-hour performance, jumping, kicking and strutting all over the mammoth stage to the delight of the nearly sold out stadium. At the end of every song Young would jump in the air and land as the band hit the final note. Johnson also commanded the stage and cemented the fact that AC/DC is one of the hardest working bands in show business. In fact, in all my concert-going years I don’t think I have ever seen a band sweat so much on stage. They quintet completely leaves everything they have out there each night.
Not many hard rock bands can pull off a stadium show these days, but AC/DC did so in spades. The group has boundless energy and their fans matched the Australian rockers by standing for entire concert. You can’t help but get caught up in the loud and raucous vibe. I found myself banging my head and putting my devil horns in the air when the band ran through their classic songs like “Hells Bells,” “Highway to Hell” and “T.N.T.”
Following a high-energy romp through fan favorite “You Shook Me All Night Long,” someone in the crowd said, “What do you play next? How do you follow that song?” Now that is a good question. Well, the band answered that quickly by immediately playing two deep cuts, “Shot Down in Flames” and “Have a Drink on Me,” to satisfy the uber fans.
Some of the loudest roars from the crowd during the night came for the band’s classic hits including “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” “Thunderstruck,” “T.N.T.,” “Whole Lotta Rosie” and Angus Young’s blistering guitar solo at the end of the set. The masterful guitarist shredded the fretboard with his iconic bluesy rock style. Young’s solo culminated with confetti canons shooting over the crowd as the guitarist stood on a riser about 50 feet above the audience giving fans a unique view of the 60-year-old legend.
AC/DC closed the show with a thundering performance of their 1981 classic “For Those About To Rock (We Salute You).” Canons exploded when singer Brian Johnson screamed “Fire!” from the songs famed chorus. The sky above Dodger Stadium glowed from a fireworks display as the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame band ended the song and gave their final bow to close the last night of the North American leg of their Rock or Bust Tour.
“Rock or Bust”
“Shoot to Thrill”
“Hell Ain't a Bad Place
“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”
“While Lotta Rosie”
“Let There be Rock”
“Highway to Hell”
“For Those About to Rock”