First up this week are my thoughts on the AC/DC show that Angus and I went to see last night at Sydney Olympic Park. I need to preface my comments by saying that all in all, it was a great show. They played all the songs you'd expect, brought the whole stage show and worked the crowd into a frenzy. AC/DC are a class act, they know how to entertain and they most certainly give each performance their all.
When it comes to live shows I'm picky about a couple of things. Firstly; is the band actually interested in being there? AC/DC had no problems in that area. Secondly; can they play their songs live? Again, a tick in the box. Thirdly: does the sound crew know what they're doing? Herein lies the problem 50,000 fans faced last night...an average mix at best. This has nothing to do with the fact that Brian Johnson's voice is spent, we knew that before we went. The crowd sings all the words anyway. My problem is a sound crew taking a legendary band with quality equipment and making them sound dreadful. Both Angus and Stevie's guitars were almost unbearably harsh for the first three or four songs. Brian's vocals went from inaudible to loud and then back again. Was Cliff playing the bass? And there is much more to a drumkit than a kick drum and cymbals....where was the snare? I understand that this was an outdoor venue but this isn't your local pub rock band with a hired PA system. This is one of the biggest rock bands in the World. Perhaps it's time to engage a sound engineer who actually has some of the high range of his hearing left to ensure that we get a balanced mix. Volume doesn't make up for a bad mix. That was the only really bad point and it did improve slightly as the gig wore on.
I've loved AC/DC since I was about 15 and I always will. When Malcolm Young had to retire due to ill health it was a kick in the guts for the band and all of their fans. Seeing Stevie Young (nephew of Angus and Malcolm) playing Malcolm's original Gretsch guitar last night was a fitting tribute to the man. I'm unsure if he's playing it all tour or if it's just a special thing for Sydney since Mal lives here but it was a nice touch.
Sometimes the simplest songs say it all...
AC/DC - High Voltage (live) - https://youtu.be/wzw6j1mAnsQ
After watching the show I have my doubts that AC/DC will tour again. None of them are young men and it isn't as if they just pop out for a few gigs. This is a nine month tour. It's been a long way to the top. I think that their latest album, "Rock or Bust", is the best they've done in years so do we dare hope for another?
Let's move on.
As the band I play in moves towards playing some more original music we have the chance to be a lot more choosy about the covers we play - there will be fewer! If you're interested in hearing us try out some of George's tunes we'll give them a public airing at Beyond Q on November 22nd. We'll also run through Isbell's "Southeastern" album again. It's too good not to play!
And just in case you've somehow missed out on my love of "Southeastern"...a difficult but beautiful song...
Jason Isbell - Elephant (live) - https://youtu.be/Dg1oYRo9yVk
See what you think of this. I think it's a rather good interpretation of a great song. For what it's worth, it's also a very difficult song to get right!
Cowboy Junkies - Thunder Road - https://youtu.be/HHQmHvxRzqw
Drive-By Truckers have just released a live album recorded at the famous Fillmore. My spider-sense tingled when I heard about this as a result of Jason Isbell having been in the band and some of my favourite live shows being recorded at that venue (especially Tom Petty). After only one listen it definitely rates a purchase...maybe even vinyl!
Drive-By Truckers - Birthday Boy - https://youtu.be/H1SP8gYY1W0
I'm not a fan of driving. Sydney might be a fairly easy 3 hours or so but....blech!
Toots and the Maytals - Country Roads - https://youtu.be/lQFKMar4x-w
I need a sleep. Old men like me getting home late from rock concerts don't recover the way we used to! I'll try and do better next week.
"...you've got a hubcap diamond star halo...", Get It On, T-Rex, 1971.