Thursday, August 31, 2000

Concert review

AC/DC delivers relentless rock

By Chris Varias
Enquirer contributor

        For nearly two hours Tuesday night, AC/DC rocked the Firstar Center with enough wallop to implode a Pete Rose Way parking garage.

        The Australian hard rockers put on an unrelenting set of 17 songs, each marked by the band's famous loud, no-frills style.

        They are the Creedence Clearwater Revival of heavy metal. The first few songs they made 25 years ago or so were great, so they've basically rewritten those songs over and over.

        The only thing that altered the band's course was the death of original lead singer Bon Scott 20 years ago. Mr. Scott gave the band its personality, and since his death, guitarist Angus Young has become the main attraction.

        A giant bronze-looking statue of Mr. Young, adorned in his trademark schoolboy suit, towered behind the band, with fist raised halfway to the rafters. As the show proceeded, the statue morphed into something more and more diabolical. First its eyes lit, then smoke billowed from its mouth, finally glowing-red devil horns sprouted from its forehead.

        Meanwhile, on stage, Mr. Young himself propelled the band with three-chord riffs and time-tested solos, while singer Brian Johnson put on a spirited show but never stepped on the guitarist's toes. He just let his death-shriek do the talking.

        The first two-thirds of the show focused solely on material from Mr. Johnson's days with the band, such as “You Shook Me All Night Long,” “Thunderstruck,” “Shoot to Thrill,” “Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution” and “Hell's Bells.” They also played several songs from their new album, Stiff Upper Lip, including “Safe in New York City,” which may be the most rudimentary composition of their career — no small feat.

        When doing Bon Scott-era tunes, Mr. Johnson didn't attempt an impersonation, he just kept on shrieking, allowing the songs themselves — “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” “Highway to Hell,” “T.N.T.” — to enjoy the spotlight.

        Slash's Snakepit, featuring ex-Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash, put on a bad 35-minute opening set. The only highlight was a version of Guns N' Roses' “Mr. Brownstone.”


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