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