AC/DC Concert Review


Show Date: October 30, 2008
Location: Rosemont, Illinois, U.S.A.
Venue: Allstate Arena
Reviewer: Graham LaMontagne
Band Website:

Rock and roll is alive and well thanks to Australia’s finest import – AC/DC.

AC/DC‘s new album, Black Ice, debuted at #1 in 29 countries, attesting that a 35-year-old band can still blow away the competition. The album is selling so well because it is overflowing with that signature AC/DC sound. Many critics and haters have complained over the years that every one of their songs sound the same. Well, just like a math theorem that works every time, so does AC/DC, which is why they never deviate from their perfected sound. Black Ice boasts a whopping 15 tracks (their longest studio album to date) and kicks off with the new instant classic “Rock N Roll Train”. The most redeeming aspect of the album is that Brian Johnson sings most of the songs in his clean “Rock And Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” voice, rather than screaming like a banshee. Angus Young litters the album with catchy hooks and blues inspired hard rock and even plays slide guitar on “Stormy May Day” ala Jimmy Page style. “War Machine”, “Skies On Fire”, “Big Jack” and two almost ballad like songs, “Anything Goes” and “Rock N Roll Dream”, are welcomed additions to the legendary AC/DC catalogue. The album is easily the best record of 2008, and the Black Ice Tour will leave you incapacitated after it shakes you all night long.

Tickets for the October 30 show at Allstate Arena sold out in just about five minutes, and the lucky fans who secured tickets where lining up outside the doors 90 minutes before show time (a second show on November 1 was added due to the high demand and that too sold out). All ages and genders come out in droves to bare witness to AC/DC, and it is a bit humorous to see a mother hoisting her five year old son up on her shoulders so he can get a better look at a band singing about loving a big ugly woman named Rosie. Though AC/DC‘s music is layered with perverse sexual innuendo at maximum volume, they still come across as the most appealing hard rock/metal band of all time. AC/DC‘s irresistible charm triggered pandemonium among the crowd for just under two hours.

AC/DC began the night with a devilish cartoon of an out of control locomotive filled with the band and groupies about to crash. Pyrotechnics simulated a train crash and there Angus, brother Malcolm, Cliff Williams, Phil Rudd and Brian appeared in front of a colossal train engine adorned with the AC/DC logo and devil horn hood ornaments.

“Rock N Roll Train” kicked off a thunderous evening of rock and roll and AC/DC looked and sounded like it was 1980. Brian still struts around the stage in his seizure like wiggle while showing off his ‘big guns’ through his sleeveless denim button up. Of course Angus stole the show with his furious playing that included a masterful guitar solo during an extended “Let There Be Rock”, constant duck walking, his typical striptease complete with mooning the crowd his AC/DC underwear, and threw a temper tantrum inside what looked like a petri dish at the end of the stage. As Angus played guitar on his back while flailing his body, the petri dish rose about twenty feet in the air leaving the stunned crowd mesmerized by Angus‘ commitment to rocking. Angus Young is hands down the most physical guitar player of all time. No other guitar player drips with the amount of sweat or enthusiasm Angus does live, and his completely soaked 100 pound body looked war torn after the 18 song set.

“Thunderstuck”, “Hells Bells”, “Back In Black”, “You Shook Me All Night Long”, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”, “T.N.T”, “Highway To Hell”, a stupendous “Shoot To Thrill”, “For Those About To Rock” (complete with ear piercing cannons), “The Jack”, five new songs and the highlight of the evening, “Whole Lotta Rosie” immediately followed by “Let There Be Rock”, offered up the typical AC/DC greatest hits setlist they have been known to stick to in concert. That is really the only flaw in the show – aside from including “Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be” – AC/DC usually plays radio favorites over rare classics like “Overdose” or “C.O.D.” Though mixing up the setlist would be a welcomed change, AC/DC is so excellent live that it really does not matter what they play. AC/DC is still the definitive live band capable of driving fans to hard rock ecstasy, and if you have not seen them in concert you are doing yourself a disservice.