Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Again, 30 Years Later AC/DC Rocks Wilkes-Barre

AC/DC bore down on the Wachovia Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township last night to play an energtic set before a packed house of about 12000 faithful to open their 2008-2009 Black Ice world tour.

Their last raid on the city was a full 30 years ago when they opened for Rainbow at the Paramount Theater on Public Square in Wilkes-Barre, during the summer of `78, and this show brought some of the same tunes and energy of that show (and a new lead singer), along with a handful of new songs from the Black Ice album.

The show opened to an animated short-movie projected to a screen on the wall behind the stage, of a pounding run away steam train, tastefully done in gritty comic-book style (and in some respects similar to some of the scenes from ``The Wall'' movie [phallic symbol]), that basically tells the story of the rock n roll train. There's not much story to it, the song basically being about giving her all you got and taking it to the spot (you fill in the blanks here), but the editing and visuals did serve to get the mob pumped for when the band lit into the opening chords of Rock `n' Roll Train.

The lighting was excellent and there were visuals galore during the show: a bell which Brian Johnson swung on to the stage for the opening of Hells Bells, the steam train again which had explosions emanating from it on T.N.T., and of course cannon fire during For Those About to Rock. And lest I forget 42-39-56 Rosie during Whole Lotta Rosie? Let's just say there is at least one woman with those vital stats.

Most of the focus during the concert was on Brian and Angus, and secondarily Malcom and the drummer. The bassist presumably late to the party, lurked in the shadows throughout but did a fine job of holding the band to the beat. You know, Angus played his Gibson SG the whole show except for one song when he brought out, I think, a Les Paul. It struck me by the wall of sound coming from the SG just how much AC/DC can sound like the Who, especially during the period when Pete Townshend was playing his SG. I'm thinking Isle of Wight concert era here. Both guitarists were evidently searching for this sound and let me tell you both found it.

The highlight of the show for me was during Let There Be Rock when Angus soloed out on the runway to the center of the arena and was lifted like a sacrifice to the preceding mortal Rock Gods of the Ages high into the air, as he soloed, guitar overhead, on his back, rising again, in homage. Then running back and onto a catwalk behind the drumkit, soloing like it was his last. Magnificent!

The new songs, Rock 'n' Roll Train, War Machine, and a couple of others I'm not familiar with, are in a similar style to their late `80s, `90s work. Hey Man! If you like AC/DC these songs just keep the adrenaline rush surging until the next wave of guitar euphoria hits.

This band is still evergreen and skull-splittingly vibrant as ever as evidenced by their running, strutting, and duckwalking, and judging by the ages of the faithful which ranged from teenagers through at least 55. Once again, AC/DC, for one snowy night, proved the truth of their and our being: that we're all in this journey together and rock is the glue.

Set List
Rock 'n' Roll Train
Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be
Back in Black
Dirty Deeds
The Jack
Hells Bells
War Machine
You Shook Me All Night Long
Whole Lotta Rosie
Let There Be Rock

Highway to Hell
For Those About to Rock

Opening Band
The Answer--I don't know too much about this band, they rocked for maybe 30 minutes in the style of Zep.

This blog is about beer, isn't it? Before the show I picked up a couple cups of creamy Stegmaier Oktoberfest's from one of the beer stands in the outer ring of the arena. I figured, this is probably my last taste of this brew this Fall, so why not? It was cool, the cup ran over, but it tasted great.

1 comment:

John P. said...

Funny how AC/DC is one of the real Standard-Bearers for the great American Rock and Roll/Blues Sound.

They get it, when many other just plain don't.