Seventeen albums and 42 years on, AC/DC have returned home to remind Australians exactly why they’re one of the most celebrated bands of all time.
For the first time since 2010, Australia’s most powerful and iconic rock band took to ANZ Stadium with an audience of all ages. Complete with confetti cannons, pyrotechnics and an ascending stage tower, the show was full of momentous energy from start to finish.
As I entered ANZ Stadium with my flat and bitter, mid-strength beer in hand, I was unsure what to expect. Upon my arrival, I was welcomed by a sea of illuminated devil horns and excessively enthusiastic sweaty patrons. As soon as the band came on stage the place erupted with a mixture of excitement and chaos. This was AC/DC.
The band whose career has spanned over four decades, unsurprisingly had an audience made up of all ages. In many ways, this was a family affair, one that involved the smell of marijuana, heavy drinking, topless women, and satanic imagery, reinforcing the ageless appeal of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.
Fathers were seated next to their young children, resisting the urge to partake in the behaviour they would have so heavily immersed themselves in had they been at the same concert 30 years earlier. Children were blown away by the oversized stage-props and fireworks display that would have come off as over the top for any band other than AC/DC. I personally was inspired by the love, devotion and obsession that the band had so successfully inspired in its fans. It’s amazing to think that so many people’s lives have been so heavily affected by this Australian rock band.
The band serenaded the crowd with their many classics from their now legendary catalogue. With hits such as Back in Black and TNT transforming the entire crowd into a choir group from hell.
Brian Johnson’s vocal chords still contained the strength and hostility they did when he first joined the band 35 years ago, not missing a single note and maintaining a consistent level of intensity the entire way through the set. His charisma and talent was only overshadowed by that of the only original member remaining in the band; guitar god Angus Young who completely stole the show.
Young’s stage presence and god-like status reminded everyone in the crowd exactly why he is considered the greatest rock star to ever call Australia home. Young had the energy of a testosterone-fuelled teenage boy, making his iconic schoolboy uniform all the more relevant as he flung himself from one side of the stage to the other, seemingly un-phased by the crappy, rainy weather we were all being soaked by. His connection to the crowd is unparalleled to any that I have ever experienced. He is worshiped, he is loved, he is to many a God. Impressive for someone who turned 60 earlier this year.
The rainy weather that would have normally hindered the concert experience for patrons was enhanced by the raw energy and power that the band had forced down everyone’s throats. As if it were destiny, the rain appeared heaviest as Young began playing the quintessential opening riff to Thunderstruck. There was no way a cloudy night could ruin this concert after AC/DC had so effectively lit up the stage.
The highlight of the night in many ways came in the form of the band’s encore. With so many references to hell and satan throughout, it only seemed fitting to blow everyone away with a powerful and energetic performance of Highway to Hell. Once again the crowd erupted with excitement and passion as even the people who had spent the night telling me to “sit down” [sic] were on their feet.
Seeing AC/DC reignited an old obsession that the 12-year-old me had long forgotten. If this truly is the music of the devil then you can forget heaven, forget harps and forget gospel choir groups. I want to go to hell. Because I know that once I arrive AC/DC will already be playing.
AC/DC play a second show at ANZ Stadium on Saturday 7 November before finishing their Australian tour and heading to New Zealand. – Jameel Khan
Top photo by Lily Mayers.