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Wednesday, December 3, 2008


AC/DC
Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA
December 2nd, 2008

AC/DC is right now, at this moment, the greatest rock and roll band in the world and an institution by itself. A band that never let their fans down and they never abandon them. It's a give-and-take relationship based on Rock And Roll. Loud, eardrum-breaking Rock and Roll. In an ideal musical world, they're what a rock band is supposed to be. The Son of the Blues' torch is carried firmly by guitarists Angus and Malcolm Young, bassist Cliff Williams, drummer Phil Rudd and the strong, raunchy but healthy vocals of Brian Johnson.

Again, it's all about Rock and Roll, the music of our lives. And the band doesn't mess around with it. The rhythm section is very simple and sturdy. Hi-hat, bass drum and snare carrying the beat along with a steady bass and a rhythm guitar. on top of that, a loud, distorted guitar playing very simple but punch-in-your-face riffs.

Thanks to
Javier Lishner's invitation, we attended AC/DC's show in Oakland and it wasn't a letdown. We were not expecting this and with this band there are never bad surprises. It's almost like a comfort zone for us and for the rest of the audience. Pretty much like going to church. Almost 35 years in their career and besides the tragic death of their singer Bon Scott in 1980 and the quick replacement with Johnson, no other major events have changed the course of the band's history. Celine Dion could have made a horrible version of "You Shook Me All Night Long" but AC/DC will never cover "My Heart Will Go On." Not even play with her nor anybody else. That's called principles.

Actually, now that I mention this, AC/DC has never sold out. They never released a "Greatest Hits" CD besides their two live albums, If You Want Blood You Got It (1978) and Live (1992). Never released an MTV unplugged, a love song, a Christmas Album or an album of covers. Hell, the only cover they've released is Big Joe Williams' "Baby Please Don't Go." They have played straight, no chaser, no bullshit, loud and firm Hard Rock since their very beginning, building a fanbase so big it covers 14 year old school kids up to sixty-something die-hard veterans. All of them know the lyrics of "Let There Be Rock" and wear little red devil horns at the concerts. Like a Church. Who would dare to insult or criticize AC/DC, a band that has almost nothing to be criticized of, besides of not having changed at all?









"Let There Be Rock," featuring the late Bon Scott (1977)

Like most of AC/DC lyrics in the beginning, there was booze and boobs. Lots of them. Sexy women dressed to kill and one or two with an unstoppable urge to take their tops and flash their ta-tas to the band and to the cameras and cellphones. Alcohol makes you do silly things, specially in an AC/DC concert, girl. The pulsating beat makes your bras itch! After The Answer -an Irish coffee brewed with doses of Slade, Aerosmith and Zeppelin- opened, these girls were no competition to the big inflatable Rosie, riding the Rock and Roll train. The opening video was sexually charged as well: an animation that seemed made by Todd McFarlane showed a train on a collision course to the main city station. On the engine, Angus the devil shoveling coal like a demon while two girls are seducing him. Pretty graphic for some kids that went to the show with their parents, but hey, they will see worse (or better) things online later.

They played a few tunes from their last album, Black Ice, and it was a relief to find out they haven't changed a bit. Music critics are still trying to dismember and analyze AC/DC's music but there's actually nothing to do with it. They play Rock and Roll and their influences, sources and inspirations are almost blurred in time and space. You can tell Angus Young has a lot of Chuck Berry, but when he plays "Thunderstruck," the only similarity with Chuck is the duck walk, as he invokes the spirit of classical composers like Mozart or Mahler. Brian Johnson's powerful vocals could recall Little Richard but he has been developing his own, raspy high pitched style since way before he joined the band (find out more about his previous band, Geordie.)



Meet Rosie, who tonight will join you in your dreams.

The best moments of the show? "Whole Lotta Rosie" and "Let There Be Rock," hands down. You can't top these two original Bon Scott songs (both from the Let There album, no less.) Here is when we see Angus enjoying himself at maximum, duck-walking, having a convulsion, and never ever missing a note. He might be playing simple chords, riffs and arpegios, but damn he plays them loud.

The band has always put great shows and this was not the exception. Since 1981 they've been closing their shows with their stop-and-go "For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)" featuring the 21-gun salute to their fans in every city they visit. AC/DC is at this moment the ultimate no-bull Rock act and every major rock artist should learn about their consistency, charisma, vitality and dedication.

Let's pretend, for a moment, that we've never heard of AC/DC before. That we've just discovered them this year, 2008 and they are a bar band trying to get a record deal with a big major label since 2004 or so. Let's pretend they're young, but they play exactly the same tunes they rock us with. Would they be able to get that record deal? I doubt it. We have changed, AC/DC hasn't. Still converting electricity after all these years. Bon Scott, down in Hell, must be very proud.

Angus Young closing "Let There Be Rock." Ballsy.




P.S.: Ok, ok. Here's another cover before you tell me I'm wrong. Chuck Berry's "School Day," available on the Volt CD (a collection of unreleased Scott tracks.)





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