AC/DC - Madison Square Garden, New York, USA - 12/11/08
27 Nov 2008
"from the opening video sequence to guitarist angus young's midshow striptease to the final, blasting cannons, ac/dc delivered a performance as impressive on showmanship as it was for sheer rocking power..."
The Australian grandfathers of hard rock roared into Madison Square Garden on a rock and roll train of riffs, licks, and balls-out attitude. From the opening video sequence to guitarist Angus Young's midshow striptease to the final, blasting cannons, AC/DC delivered a performance as impressive on showmanship as it was for sheer rocking power.
Despite the age of the Aussie rockers (singer Brian Johnson is 61, beyond elderly in the world of rock n' roll), the band was flawless in their playing, and epic in their rocking. The stage itself was worthy of a full Broadway production, featuring a full-scale, smoking locomotive in conjunction with the band's new single and opening song, 'Rock N' Roll Train'. Innovative use was also made of two large video screens, which smoothly shifted and changed locations over the course of the show to split duty as two individual side screens and then combining as one large video backdrop.
Madison Square Garden, no stranger to world-famous acts and events, still had an aura of uniqueness as the sold-out crowd cheered and sang along enthusiastically with every song. Members of the audience in every tier of the building seemed to know that a visit from one of the first bands to pioneer the heavy metal sound was something exquisitely rare and special, and the band did not disappoint their legions of fans. Several new songs off this year's Black Ice album were played in between rock radio classics such as 'T.N.T.', 'Back in Black', and 'You Shook Me All Night Long', and the new songs were met with just as much enthusiasm from frenetic attendees.
Despite the undeniable similarities and "it all sounds the same" style of many of AC/DC's songs, the band excelled at making each hit stand out. 'The Jack' was drawn out over a long bluesy jam, during which Johnson led the crowd in singing along to the classic ode to venereal disease. House cameras panned and zoomed in on random women in the audience for every repeated line of "She's got the jack!" An enormous inflatable woman rose up on the stage during 'Whole Lotta Rosie', and with the help of some large-scale puppetry, performed a self-indulgent act on herself for the duration of the song, to the screaming delight of the audience. And guitarist Angus Young, posterchild for all that is expected of a flamboyant, wild-eyed heavy metal lead guitarist, shredded his way through a long screaming version of 'Let There Be Rock', running from one end of the stage to another, and eventually ended up on his back, frantically fingering his guitar on the floor of a platform as it rose 15 feet into the air, symbolically lifting him to the height of rock stardom that he and AC/DC have achieved over their thirty year career.
The band who practically created the heavy metal genre encored with the ultimate concert anthem, 'For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)', bringing half a dozen cannons on stage for the final, blasting moments of the song. Like every other cut they'd played that night, it was loud, heavy, and ballsy, and left no doubt in the minds of all 20,000 people packing the Garden that nothing can stop AC/DC from rocking. We salute them.