AC/DC STILL AT THE TOP OF THEIR GAME!
Date: July 25, 2015
Location: Warsaw, Poland
Venue: National Stadium
Reviewer: Fat Pete
“Don’t you dare underestimate them just because these boys are the age of your granddad” was the first thing I heard from a guy in the beer queue, who was, not by coincidence, the age of my granddad. Before him, and his crew of metal head veterans stood a group of a few teenage girls in flashing red horns, and very revealing outfits (which caught more than a bit of attention of the senior gentlemen behind them). This scene really reassured me that AC/DC is an act which breaks any age boundaries. It is still cool to like their simple, yet extremely catchy riffs, which make up for very well put songs. Their image, even though it literally stayed unchanged since their beginnings in the early 1970s still is kinda cool (or hip, or however you say it nowadays) between the teens and early 20s. Or so it seemed judging by the audience demographic at the band’s show at the National Stadium Arena in Warsaw, Poland on the 25 th of July 2015.
The stage looked big. Anyone who has ever attended an AC/DC concert knows that if anything, these guys don’t save on the stage decorum and special effects. Their gear barely fits in a huge arena, but could very well suit an open air festival. Later on, the pyrotechnics and the projections really amazed.
The opening band Vintage Trouble was a very retro sounding act. The music that the band played was deeply rooted in the old school, 1960s rock n’ roll. And they had a George Brown doppelganger on vocals, who was just exploding with energy. The band didn’t seem to catch on with the audience though. I believe their thing was too vintage (no pun intended) for the majority of attendees, who did not expect such a blast from the past.
AC/DC came in at around 9 pm, and the show started huge. I mean it, if you happen to attend one of their 2015 tour gigs, you will be awed by the video and audio effects alone, not to mention other effects. These shows can be par on par with any over the top KISS performances of the last decade. But the real beauty of AC/DC (here are some words not used together very often) is that that even though these guys really play a very straight on rock and roll, their live show and their music are not overshadowed even by the most over the top pyro and stage effects.
Brian Johnson — I have no idea how old he is — but given the fact he was no cub in 1980 when he joined the band, he seemed to be in better shape than a lot of the dudes half his age in the audience. He was running around the stage, screaming the songs rather than singing them. And his voice has not diminished with age. I think he sounded exactly as good as five years ago when I heard him live last. That might be due to the fact that the guy doesn’t really sing but really screams his ass off.
Now unto Angus Young — the spirit of AC/DC and the living breathing definition of rock n’ roll. If I said Johnson was high on energy, then Young was a supernova. A guy his age handling a 15 minute guitar solo while he was all over the stage, running, jumping, appearing from out of nowhere, donning his trademark schoolboy uniform and just being unstoppable was really a breathtaking site. I think he lost at least several pounds during that solo alone, as he looked like he had just run a marathon. The stage show during that solo was I think one of the best I seen this year.
The rest of the band was solid and tight but not really getting into the spotlight. You could notice Chris Slade filling in on the drums for Phil Rudd, who is knee deep in legal trouble back in New Zealand (being charged with involvement in drug trafficking, instructing murder, and prostitution rings). The other players — long time bass player Cliff Williams, and Stevie Young (filling in for the dearly missed Malcolm Young who could not participate due to health issues) were almost non visible. There were only some glimpses of these two on the stage screens. Nevertheless all three men in the rhythm section provided a solid background for Angus Young’s guitar antics, and Johnson’s athletic screaming. The setlist was filled with all the hits with some representations of the latest album Rock Or Bust such, as the title track as the opener, and the single “Play Ball” later on in the set. All other songs were more or less the classics you can hear year after year on every AC/DC tour.
In a nutshell, this was a very good show even though the sound quality could have been better but that was due to really the venue’s horrible acoustics. The band was playing really tight, the show was great and the energy and the sheer joy were definitely there. I feel good for bands like AC/DC who play really non-complex music and can bring so much intensity and quality to their shows. As an amateur musician myself, I am deeply awed and equally ashamed of myself when I see a band consisting of guys, as stated earlier in this review, about the age of my granddad, who could easily blow me away and even younger bands off the stage with their performance. All in all, AC/DC‘s 2015 gig in Warsaw was highly enjoyable as the band still has the same energy that it delivered over the decades. Great concert, nuff’ said!
Vintage Trouble setlist:
01. High Times (They Are Coming)
02. Blues Hand Me Down
03. Total Stranger
05. Angel City, California
06. Run Like the River
07. Strike Your Light (Right On Me)
01. Rock Or Bust
02. Shoot To Thrill
03. Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be
04. Back In Black
05. Play Ball
06. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
08. High Voltage
09. Rock ‘N’ Roll Train
10. Hells Bells
11. Baptism By Fire
12. You Shook Me All Night Long
13. Sin City
14. Have A Drink On Me
15. Shot Down In Flames
17. Whole Lotta Rosie
18. Let There Be Rock (with Angus Young guitar solo)
19. Highway To Hell
20. For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)