Updated 27 May 2016
Remembering AC/DC’s London concert at Wembley last July.
|Angus Young in action at Wembley last year. Jim Dyson/Getty Images
Two of my most popular posts when I wrote this article last year were about veteran Australian-British band AC/DC. (This was as rated by Google Blogger, but I am now at paulmerryblues.com, which doesn’t have such a facility.)
AC/DC were at numbers 2 and 9 in my ten most read posts. With that sort of following, therefore, I felt it my duty to update AC/DC fans on their band’s magnificent London performance at Wembley Stadium last July. AC/DC absolutely killed them.
One of Britain’s most respected rock writers, Neil McCormick of the Daily Telegraph, gave AC/DC five stars out of five under the headline:
‘Thunderous frenzy that brought on mass hysteria’.
“The sleekness and force of AC/DC’s riff machine inspired 70,000 to scream, sing, laugh and perpetually punch the air as if they were at a cup final and their team were scoring a goal every few seconds.”
|Congratulations, too, to America’s Women’s World Cup Winners 2015
(Talking of scoring goals – congratulations to America’s Women’s Soccer Team, who won the Women’s World Cup over the same 2015 weekend that AC/DC conquered Wembley.)
“The star player”, continues McCormick (writing about AC/DC, not the American ladies’ soccer team), “guitarist Angus Young (a sprightly 60) looks like a ghoul from a horror film but he doesn’t give a hoot. Straggly-haired, wizened, slope-shouldered and still in school uniform, he gurned (pulled funny faces – Britain’s gurning competitions started in the 12th century) grinned and sweated through each note as though wired to an amplifier stack.
“The show reached its climax with Angus Young’s extraordinary 10-minute guitar solo on Let There Be Rock. The rest of the band left the stage as the guitarist thrashed about, filling the stadium with fierce, frantic howling. He is not a particularly sophisticated or melodic player, yet he maintains a fast-fingered pitch of excitement that is utterly mesmerising. Stripped down to his shorts, unabashed by his pale old body, Young united a mass of people in awe-inspired celebration. For a moment at Wembley, time stood still, and AC?DC were forever rocking, forever Young.
“If these really are the last days of the electric guitar (we hope not, Neil), what AC/DC prove is its extraordinary effectiveness as an instrument of mass hysteria.”
|Geordie and Angus at Wembley. Jim Dyson/Getty Images
On a sadder note, Michael Hann of Britain’s Guardian newspaper points out that it’s possible this might be the last time the UK ever gets to see AC/DC (hope not, Michael) writing:
“Shorn of their de facto leader, Malcolm Young, whose dementia has caused him to retire, and with drummer Phil Rudd absent owing to his ongoing legal difficulties in New Zealand, it’s a different band that takes to the stage from the one that played this same stadium almost exactly six years ago. Malcolm’s nephew Stevie, a similarly gargoyleish presence, takes his place on rhythm guitar, while Chris Slade – who had a spell with the band in the 80s – replaces Rudd.”
(Now, of course, singer Geordie has been retired due to his voice problems and replaced, on AC/DC’s latest tour, by American rock vocalist, Axl Rose.)
The Guardian newspaper gave the Wembley show four stars under the headline ‘Rock‘n’Roll reduced to its purest essence’.
The Independent newspaper awarded the performance five stars, their headline reading:
‘Unadulterated, unapologetic rock’ and writing, “From the opening riff of Rock or Bust to the booming confetti cannons at the closing bars of ‘For Those About to Rock’, AC/DC produce a breathtaking performance that outclasses every other band on tour today.”
They’ve still had it in 1915, then. We’ll await to hear reports on AC/DC’s 2016 tour.