Many when they first heard about AC/DC returning were surprised that they would come back to Magnetic Hill so soon, but their fan base is strong and large and I had no doubt that this would be another very successful concert on ‘the hill’. It’s was also a surprise with the health issues of founding member Malcom Young (dementia diagnosis) that the band would go on tour at all, but as cliche as it sounds, the show must go on…Rock or Bust!
Many music purists would turn their noses up at AC/DC as their music is simple, basic, tuned to the masses of rock and roll warriors that want to be ‘Shook All Night Long’. They are not a band that talks a lot between songs (which usually irritates me if a band doesn’t interact) but it’s not as necessary when you have 40 years of music to choose from including a brand new album.
Before AC/DC sent us off into the night we started with a little known Californian band named “Vintage Trouble”. I confess going in to this show I knew nothing about the band and really didn’t know what to expect, but I’d heard many talking about them on social media leading up to the show. Vintage Trouble ended up being a highlight of the whole day for me, as vocalist and incredible front man Ty Taylor and the band energized the crowd with their electric brand of rythmic rock and blues. Reminiscent of a number of late 50s and 60s blues and rock artists, the crowd even if unfamiliar loved their performanc, many talked about them for days later.
Up right before the headline act of AC/DC was Canadian rock lifers “Big Sugar”. I really enjoy Big Sugar usually, they are a tight and accomplished band, and that really comes out in their music. Something just didn’t seem to fit for me here though, it was almost a slight dip in energy after the blast that the opening act gave us. Big Sugar are not “performers”, they don’t come out and put on a show, they play, and play very well; but it’s not the energy you expect right before the crescendo of the headline act. I always enjoy seeing them play, but I would have rearranged the lineup to have them as the lead in, followed by Vintage Trouble.
AC/DC burst on to the stage with amazing vigor for chaps creeping well in to their sixth decade of living, and the crowd responded with roars of delight as they launched into “Rock or Bust” the title track from their latest album. Intermixing old classics like “Highway To Hell”, “Back In Black”, and “Thunderstruck” with newer songs from their latest album like “Baptism By Fire” and hits of the recent past like “Rock and Roll Train”.
The build up was palpable for many, those that were at the last show remembering the sea of red flashing horns that swayed on the hill. The energy of pyrotechnics that glitterd from the stage, the large screens, generated an eery glow on the crowd, the huge bell during “Hells Bells” ringing out through the valley. All leading up to the final blast of six cannons on the stage for the bands final song, “For Those About To Rock” sending the crowd off into the night with a clamorous boom.
For those that thought it too soon, or that the band would not perform to it’s max, they were dead wrong. The crowd was rocked, shook, and thundered into the night with the precision of a knife from a band that doesn’t have any quit in it. Thank you to the bands, the city, and the fans for another great show on the hill!