AC/DC - Hammersmith Apollo
For all those that couldn't be there, those unfortunate souls who were just too late to register for tickets that sold out in four minutes, let's just say this. You missed nothing. It wasn't that good really and you might as well stop reading this now and click upon something else, safe in the knowledge that you are ten pounds (TEN pounds!) richer than the four thousand or so people that were here. Go and buy yourself something nice with it and we'll see you later.
Right is everyone else still here? Good. AC/DC were fantastic tonight. What is there to say, really, all elements that are associated with AC/DC were here; the cannons, the schoolboy antics, Brian Johnston's gravel voice and the unfeasibly large bell all exactly where they should be, and where they will be from now until eternity, if the last thirty years are anything to go by.
AC/DC have drifted in and out of fashion so often it's reassuring in a very real sense. Punk has been born, died, been resurrected and flogged to death. Faceless DJ's entertain crowds of fashion victims. Rave was born in a field, synth pop took over the world and behind it all, AC/DC have been churning out the same heady mix of blues/rock without a care in the world.
Any analysis of AC/DC is redundant. They are dumb rock at it's very finest, with no pretensions of anything grander and bless them for it. There is no irony, no unpleasant sense of mocking the audience that certain un-named modern bands might be accused of. Even Angus Young's obligatory strip for The Jack was done in fun and good humour and almost good taste. It just is, it's something they do, like the cannons and the bells, there's no sense of a tongue in a cheek or a sneer at themselves or the crowd. AC/DC just play fantastic music and have a great time while they do it.
They opened with Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be, and from then on, there was nary a dull moment, dispatching classic songs like a heavyweight fighter dispatches punches. With no new album to push, we just got the classics and this is a band that is dripping with classics, and all started with a modest "Here's one for ya" from Brian Johnston.
Hells Bells, Whole Lotta Rosie, For Those About To Rock, Highway To Hell and Back In Black, all wonderful, classic songs in their own right and all played to perfection, with attitude and balls. This is a band that sounds younger than they look. Dirty Deeds sounded as though it were written yesterday instead of thirty years ago. It's odd, you may criticise, and you will be right, if you mention the fact that only about three chords are used all night. But when those chords are 'great' chords, the building blocks of many a classic song, what difference does it make? AC/DC, it has to be said, play the same song over and over with variations of timing and vocals but that misses the point entirely. Nobody can do that as well as they can, and if they can do it this well then doing anything else would be criminal. It's something that they realise and praise be for that. AC/DC have never suffered the 'third album string section syndrome’, which seems to affect most other rock bands.
The atmosphere was, as you would expect, electric throughout. Though not exactly an intimate venue, AC/DC communicate so well they managed to sound as though the entire performance was especially for you, a personal favour if you like. We sang, we danced, we banged our heads and waved our fists in the air and we realised that this was a special night, unlikely to be seen again for many years if ever. It was two hours of some of the finest rock 'n' roll ever written, played with panache and style by one of the best rock 'n' roll bands, bar none.
AC/DC, we salute you.
NOTE to all those people who found the energy to boo at the end, what more did you want? Blood? What on earth could they follow those cannons with...