Kanye West thinks he is, The Who suggest they are and the Rolling Stones act like they are – but when it comes down to it there’s probably no bigger rock band in the world than AC/DC. For four decades the Aussies (don’t get picky about nationality) have been churning out some of hard rock’s finest arena anthems and giving folks from all musical backgrounds a single banner to rally behind, drink to and of course – rock the f**k out with. There’s hardly a wedding, nightclub, biker bar, brothel or nursery in the country that doesn’t have a bit of the DC in stock and their on-going popularity is proven with each sell out tour they announce. Despite the sad loss of Malcom Young from the band last year and the more amusing / starling departure of drummer Phil Rudd a few months later, the DC keep on rolling and tonight they’re in Dublin to play, what MCD are calling – “the biggest gig of 2015“. Can they pull off a show as big as the hype around it?…….. of course, it’s AC/DC!
Ballsbridge is rammed with thousands of fans from every corner of the country and the mood is electric. Inside the area, the massive custom stage falls perfectly in line with the design of Aviva as the East and West stands collapse into the devil horned dome. With a lovely warm evening, well stocked bars and such a great atmosphere all in full swing – it’s finally time to enjoy some iconic rock ‘n’ roll.
AC/DC explode, rather than arrive on stage – shredding into their new album’s title track, ‘Rock or Bust’. From the go they sound incredible and look like a band in their element. They rocket through fan favourites such as ‘Shoot to Thrill’, ‘Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be’ and the iconic ‘Back in Black’ with the polished yet raunchy blues swagger that made them famous in the first place. Brian Johnson chats to the crowd, thanking everyone for their applause and expressing delight to be back in Ireland while Angus silently stalks the audience in his trademark uniform – flashing devil horns and his incredible guitar skill at every opportunity.
Newer songs like ‘Play Ball’, ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Train’ and ‘Baptism by Fire’ blend seamlessly into a set chocked with classics and receive far more than polite applause, but of course the real excitement comes out on more familiar numbers. ‘Dirty Deeds..’, ‘Thunderstruck’, ‘Hells Bell’s and ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ are crowning glories in the band’s set as they, incredibly enough, still build towards their biggest hits.
Dedicating ‘Have A Drink on Me’ to Ireland, Brian leads the band through ‘T.N.T’., ‘Whole Lotta Rose’, accompanied by a massive inflatable – all singing, all dancing Rosie behind the band before wrapping up their set with a mammoth performance of ‘Let There Be Rock’ – complete with an almost 15 minute long solo from the wholly worshiped guitar God; Angus Young. With that, the band regroup momentarily to say goodbye and depart to a standing ovation and rapturous applause.
After a few minutes wait, the stage lights up with pyros as Angus’ guitar fills the PA before the band arrive on to begin their encore with ‘Highway to Hell’, one of rock’s most beloved badass anthems. Angus and fans don the trademark devil horns and the area lights up with thousands of little red lights before the night finishes with raised cannons and explosions as the epic ‘For Those About to Rock’ thunders through the cheers.
No dirty deeds – just high voltage rock ‘n’ roll. Tonight AC/DC put on one of the best shows you could ever hope to see and if they return for a bigger gig next year, there’ll be no shortage of us to welcome them back.