Here’s what I said last time I covered this release: “A semi-weird little compilation of new stuff, old stuff, and one track from the even older stuff. I haven’t seen Maximum Overdrive in years, but I assume this collection of songs fits the show and that’s why they’re here. Rawk!”
This time around? Give me AC/DC, Stephen King and turn it the hell up. The rest is just details! Go!
Imagine trying to follow-up Back In Black. I mean, jeez. Could anyone achieve anything so daunting? AC-frickin’/DC could! I’ve already covered this rock-solid beast TWICE in these pages, and would happily do it again.
AC/DC, we salute you!
Along with (previous album) Flick Of The Switch (The LP Project 5), this one was fairly unloved when it dropped. Why? I dunno, I thought it was another hot blast of AC/DC goodness. These albums likely suffer by comparison to Back in Black, and I get that, but c’mon. When I covered this album (on a cassette copy SO HOT) I had made note of some sound quality ssues (which may have been my cassette copy’s fault), but I said, in summation, “Freaking great, this album’s a goddamn barroom brawl.”
In counterpoint, Wiki shared these reviews from its time of release:
In the original Rolling Stone review of the album, Tim Holmes wrote, “You’d never guess how sexist and politically incorrect all this is if you didn’t read the lyric sheet, because you sure can’t make out a single word coming out of the dentist’s-drill glottis of Brian Johnson (except maybe the song titles, which tend to be repeated like mantras). Angus Young is also in great form, playing the dumbest, most irresistibly repetitive chords in the lexicon.” AllMusic: “Fly on the Wall continues AC/DC’s descent into cookie-cutter mediocrity, with the leering humor of past glories seeming forced and uninspired, and the music remaining somewhat underdeveloped and directionless.” In his 1994 Bon Scott memoir Highway to Hell, author Clinton Walker calls the album a “disaster”.
And then, there was People magazine: US gossip magazine People picked the LP as best album of 1985.
From the track listing to the huge sound to the stabbing murder on the front cover, do I even need to tell you how huge and exciting this live set is? Of course I don’t! If you play this one in the car, you will drive too fast. Guaranteed.
This seems to be one of the lesser-talked about, lesser-liked* AC/DC albums, and I don’t know why. I love it! There’s a part of me that really digs the rough and ready sound. Maybe folks were just disappointed it wasn’t Back In Black all over again (see below), but at this point they were 9 albums in and still doing what AC/DC did best. This one gets a vote from me, anyway!
* “In his original Rolling Stone review, David Fricke noted, “Produced by the band, Flick of the Switch isn’t quite the monster blowout that 1980’s Back in Black was, and the Youngs’ retooling of old riffs for new hits also teeters on self-plagiarism at times.” Steve Huey of AllMusic observes, “As perhaps indicated by the record’s idiotic original title, the utterly generic I Like to Rock, AC/DC seemed to be running out of ideas at an alarming rate, and their record sales began to reflect that fact.” Malcolm Young later said of the LP, “It was thrown together real quick. I wouldn’t say it’s a great album…” (Wiki)
AC/DC’s third album is like a bomb going off in your stereo. Bon Scott was The Man, and the guitar interplay here is pure genius. That primal sound is on full display, too. You know the one. Ach, surely I don’t need to go through the tracks or tell you anything about this one, really. You know it well already!
Also, I really don’t know why I own two copies on LP (I have a CD too)… Then again, why not, eh?
I think it’s quaint that this book got published. Not to disparage it in anyway, because I am always (always) happy to read about AC/DC. What I meant was that it pretty much didn’t need to be written. Let’s be real here: We all already instinctively know that AC/DC matters. It’s primal. Visceral. It just IS, and thank goodness for that.
What Anthony Bozza’s book is, then, is basically a mini-biography of the band and its members, interspersed with a collection of all the ways he could think of to use and twist the English language into new ways to effuse about the band.
So, when Bozza tells us about how the band started and who the members are, and the band’s story, etc, we say: we already knew this stuff. And when he enthusiastically raves about every aspect of the band and their playing and their magic, soul and consistency, and how they play for the fans not for the money (haha erm, sure), we say: WE KNOW.
Fair play, it’s still a cool book. But it’s preaching to the choir, baby. Now turn it the hell up and get some AC/DC in yer ears! \m/ \m/
Go get a coffee and something tasty to munch on. This one’s a big one (that’s what she said)! Seriously, you may have to read this in chunks, over the course of the coming week…
My last All The Everything post was waaaay back on May 24. That’s 19 days ago! Sure, I’ve been putting up posts here and there, like my awesome experience with Manipulant (thanks again!), and Mike’s #0word challenge, among others, in the interim. You’ve been here, reading, so you know already. And thanks for that!
But I’ve also been sick with this cold that’s been going around. I’m into week two now, and showing no signs of abating. Alas, this means I haven’t always felt like listening to music. But I’ve soldiered on, because the KMA always brings you the truth from the front lines.
This next band has required a heap of listening, over the past couple of weeks. It’s been fucking glorious…
AC/DC: A LOVE LETTER
Ultimately, this was an easy post to put together (though it’s taken ages, in bits and pieces). I mean, it’s fucking AC/DC! Just go with the primal, lizard brain response that that name evokes for you, and you’re there!
Over the years, I have already written up most of what I own, so I’ve provided handy links to those reviews. I’m not gonna change a damn thing about them. I hope you’ll take a moment to read back on the records that interest you.
I also had a blast going back through all my old reviews because it’s brilliant how many of these CDs have been gifted to me by Brother HMO (*), and by Brother Lebrain(^)! COMMUNITY! Thanks so much, you guys, you’ve really built up my collection!
There are a couple albums that I hadn’t yet covered in these pages, so I’ll get to them too (below). Already-posted reviews are in blue (with links). New writing for this post are marked in red, with accompanying review! I’ve placed it all in chronological order of the discography, because the KMA loves you.
Oh, and spoiler alert: These are all Hits, in the Hit It Or Quit It portion. I put this off the top so I don’t have to write it every damn record. I’m keeping them all. Of course.
ARE YOU READY? Damn right you are. Let’s get it.
1985 – Fly On The Wall (cs)
Maybe it’s just my cassette copy, or did this record have some sound issues? It’s not a worry, there’s something charming about hearing it rough and a wee bit sketchy like this, as though it were some sort of bootleg or something.
Side A kicks off with Fly On The Wall, pure AC/DC mission control, rev and go, baby! Shake Your Foundations brings the blues rock straight to your brain and it’s beautiful. First Blood has another one of those idelible AC/DC riffs that is so quintessentially them, you can’t help but be lifted. Danger is one of those slow, slinky swanky swaggering tracks they do so well. Oh man. Yes! Sink The Pink is one I knew already, great build, great pay off. Classic!
Side B starts with Playing With Girls rocks a great long intro, straight up barroom blues fightin’ music! That guitar bit in the chorus kinda reminds of G’n’R… Stand Up brings the ZZ blues to AC/DC land and it’s awesome. Great track for punching the sky with your fist! Hell Or High Water has the vocals buried way in the back (moreso than some others here), but that’s cool. Just another instrument in the melee. The tracks another template AC/DC rocker and I dig it… Back In Business is more ZZ blues, and I love it. Maybe one of my favourite tracks on this record! This is not a deep cut, but it’s buried like it is. Weird. And finally, Send For The Man takes out on a blissful rockin’ riff and oh man.
In Sum: Freaking great, this album’s a goddamn barroom brawl. I want a CD copy to replace this cassette I have here.
1986 – Who Made Who (cd)
This was a soundtrack for Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive. Cool. New track (at the time) Who Made Who starts us off with that (now) iconic riff and away we go! I love it when the bass keeps dropping. Visceral. You Shook Me All Night Long is one we all know well, and it’s still hotness. D.T. is another new track, an instrumental. Cool to hear them go for something without vocals – and of course it’s strong blues rock. My ear kept waiting for Brian Johnson to start screeching at any moment… There’s a neat little, quieter, throbbing outro too. Sink The Pink is from Fly On The Wall, while Ride On is the only Bon Scott track here, a slow blues pulsing masterpiece from (the excellent) Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap album.
Hells Bells, of course, is from Back In Black, and it’s killer. Shake Your Foundations is also from Fly On The Wall. Chase The Ace is another new instrumental, and it’s another full-on AC/DC rocker. Hells yes! For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) is the titular track from that album, of course, and it’s friggin’ glory.
In Sum: A semi-weird little compilation of new stuff, old stuff, and one track from the even older stuff. I haven’t seen Maximum Overdrive in years, but I assume this collection of songs fits the show and that’s why they’re here. Rawk!
1992 – AC/DC Live (2cd)
I owned this 2CD set ages ago, but I don’t know what happened to that copy. It’s possible I sold it off, but that would have been silly of me. Anyway, I looked to replace it and only ever saw the 1CD edition. This 2CD copy I have now came to me at work before I even started working there, and of course it followed me home.
I have a soft spot for this album, as it covers so many of the songs we all know and love. More than that, it fucking rocks. What a great live sound! Recorded at Glasgow, Edmonton, Birmingham, Donington and Moscow shows on the Razor’s Edge tour, this master blaster has a companion DVD, Live At Donington (see below DVD section). Some overdubs were done afterwards, but who cares? Check this out:
CD1: Thunderstruck / Shoot To Thrill / Back In Black / Sin City / Who Made Who / Heatseeker / Fire Your Guns / Jailbreak / The Jack / The Razor’s Edge / Dirty Deeds Done Cheap / Moneytalks
CD2: Hells Bells / Are You Ready / That’s The Way I Wanna Rock ’n’ Roll / High Voltage / You Shook Me All Night Long / Whole Lotta Rosie / Let There Be Rock / Bonny / Highway To Hell / T.N.T. / For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)
In Sum: I mean, holy shit. At this point, it’s like they’re showing off. WOOOOO!!!
1995 – Ballbreaker (cd)
Learned that this album saw the return of Phil Rudd (to Chris Slade’s chagrin), and it’s the only full album album (to date) recorded with Rick Rubin. He had previously worked on Big Gun, from the Last Action Hero soundtrack. Well then! Hard As A Rock is the single, and it’s pure AC/DC beauty. All the elements are here, and I always thought that noodly guitar riff line could’ve been done on bagpipes. They’re no strangers to those, right? Right! Cover You In Oil, the album’s third single, is a fun jaunty blues rocker at mid-pace. The Furor keeps that pace alive and is a decent track with some cool chord changes. Actually it represents a bit of a change in their sound (though not completely), and I dig it!
Boogie Man is pure blues growler, so much fun. Honey Roll is playful and built on another of those damn fine AC/DC riffs. Burnin’ Alive builds into another slinky rocker, hot damn they’re owning it again, with this record. Hail Caesar was the second single, and I swear it’s another killer. How do these guys do this? Cool. Love Bomb brings the stomp and is another one you could swear you’d heard before from these guys, but you haven’t! Magic! Caught With Your Pants Down has this great stop/start thing in the intro, then builds into this freakin’ fantastic guitar-run riff that chugs along, absolutely smokin’. Seriously, this is one of the best tracks on the record. How the hell was it not a single?!?! Whiskey On The Rocks teases a bunch of cool ideas before settling into a satisfying slow thumper that totally gets the job done. And finally, the title track, Ball Breaker takes out on another huge rocker that would absolutely own live.
In Sum: I’m no expert, but after all those years passed these guys hadn’t lost a step. This was a great record. Huge in sound, primal in execution. Turn it the hell up!!!
Live At Donington
Recorded live at Castle Donington 1991-08-17, this is the companion DVD to the AC/DC Live set (see above review), as I mentioned earlier. Huge crowd, huge energy, steallar performances… a band at the top of their game. Truly a pleasure to watch! It felt like I was there!
This disc has a different track list than my 2CD set:
Thunderstruck / Shoot To Thrill / Back In Black / Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be / Heatseeker / Fire Your Guns / Jailbreak / The Jack / Dirt Deeds Done Dirt Cheap / Moneytalks / Hells Bells / High Voltage / Whole Lotta Rosie / You Shook Me All Night Long / T.N.T. / Let There Be Rock / Highway To Hell / For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)
I had a quick look online, and the 1CD version of the CD is even different from this DVD setlist. Good luck keeping it all straight!
Still, this DVD has a helluva setlist, even if a ton of songs got left off from the 2CD set. The DVD also has lots of sound options, a new transfer, video band member selections for some songs, commentary from Angus and Malcolm, and a discography.
Fine evening viewing for the whole family!
The Ones I Still Need:
I still need a few more main ones on CD (shown above)…
1978 – Powerage
1983 – Flick Of The Switch
1984 – ’74 Jailbreak EP
1985 – Fly On The Wall (replace cs with cd)
1988 – Blow Up Your Video
2014 – Rock Or Bust
And then of course, still to get, there are the boxed sets, like Backtracks and Bonfire… and more DVDs… and so many singles… and so many books about them…
Still, I think have a pretty good start to the collection here, eh? Yessir!
A LOVE LETTER TO AC/DC – IN SUM:
First off, thanks so much to all of you, Dear KMA Readers, for reading any or all of this. It’s a lot, I know. It’s why it took me so long to get this posted, though, as there was just so much to get through, and I insist on listening back to everything I have here even if I’ve already reviewed it before. That’s the level of my commitment to this project – I will hear every record in the house, either for the first time or the millionth!
As for AC/DC… Fuckin’ A. Man, this is a band we all love, and for damn good reasons. This immersion into their work, for the past couple of weeks, has been so much fun. Right on. LET’S GO!
A successful day in the big (sh)city for me and my Dad! Lots to tell, but it’s late, I did a lot of driving and walking (I’m tired) and there’s work and getting the kids to school in the morning… Still, the least I can do is report back on today’s adventures real quick…
Traffic was non-existant (Mike, our next trip should be on a Sunday!), the weather said rain but we got sunny and warm, and the city was alive with people and festivals and awesome.
Parked up at Bloor, saw that Honest Ed’s is gone. The signs are still there but the store is empty. End of an era. I hit up BMV and Dad went off and did his thing. I could have spent SO much in BMV, it’s crazy. Really quality stock, as always. I was thrilled to see they have turned all their CDs with spines up so you can scan the titles without flipping – an excellent development. I didn’t get a whole of time with the LPs, but they have a ton…
Here are my BMV Scores (all CD):
Soooo much greatness here, eh? Wowzers!
NB: The Iron & Wine, Chuck Brown/Eva Cassidy and Jeff “Tain” Watts came from the 3-for-$10 bin.
NB: I wish Watts had a song called “Bartók” on his Bar Talk album. Alas, he does not. Missed opportunity, that.
Dad and I then met at Paupers for lunch (awesome as always), and walked down through the Annex to Chinatown. Kensington Market was jammed with people, as some sort of Art Festival was going on. The whole area was blocked off to cars, and people were dancing and singing and doing things (one lady was a Poet For Hire. Give her money and a topic, and she would type you out a new poem on the spot on her old Underwood). I hit up Sonic Boom while Dad went off and did his thing.
My Sonic Boom Scores (all CD):
Holy mackerel, what a pile of awesome! And again, as is always the case with Sonic Boom, several of these were either $0.99 or $2.99. And I could have spent soooo much more in there, too. I had a basket full and made myself go through and put stuff back. It was painful.
NB: The Buddy Guy is a high school nostalgia grab for me. I loved that set then, and I bet I will now.
NB: The 10,000 Maniacs was one I said I’d watch for when I put Quit on the three records of theirs I have (during their All The Everything series post, a while back). And here it is! It’s a hits disc and a rarities disc together. Right on.
NB: Granelli is a jazz drummer. DJ Stinkin’ Rich is a Buck 65 alias. Oh baby.
NB: The Evens includes Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat, Fugazi). With my three (3!) Fugazi scores at BMV as well, it was an Ian MacKaye kind of day.
NB: Though it was new CD full price, the Cowboy Junkies had to come home. Check out who guests on it: Skydiggers, Sarah Harmer, Hawksley Workman, Jason Collett, Doug Paisley, Lee Harevy Osmond, The Good Family, Martin Tielli & Dave Clark, The Screwed, Reid Jamieson, Harlan Pepper, Jessy Bell Smith, The Potion Kings, Ivy Mairi… Wow!
NB: The Greg MacPherson… I texted James did he need it, it was only $0.99. Nope, he had it already and likes it alot, said I should get it for myself and if I didn’t like it, he would give me $0.99. Challenge accepted!
NB: The Jam tribute is cool. Yes, it has Oasis twats on it, but it has Beastie Boys too so that makes it all better.
So then we walked back up to the car, blasted out of town. Quick bite to eat in Orangeville (watching some of the Memorial Cup hockey game on TV – Windsor beat Erie 4-3), then home.
And there you have it. A busy day encapsulated in one short-ish post. You’ll see all of these albums in the All The Everything series, eventually. At least now you know from whence they came. Also, sad to report I did not find one single Grail List item for anyone. Sorry, folks. I tried! I really did (the list was in my phone)! Ah well, next time.
Well this was a no-brainer. I picked it up at work for next to nothing, and knew exactly what I was getting. Rock fucking on!
They’ve still got it (of course), and the set list is great. Shows how deep your catalogue is when you drop Shook Me All Night Long at track 2…
The crowd was well into it, and the sound is good. I could have done with fewer camera cuts. It felt a bit like watching a pong pong ball quickly bouncing around the stadium, so you’d just get focussed on something and then it would zap to something else. Too many quick cuts.
But the rock prevailed, and the mighty AC/DC tore down the fuckin’ house. My daughter (she’s 5) sat on my lap for the first few tracks and, when I asked her if she liked this kind of music, she turned to me with a huge genuine smile, gave me the metal horns and said “YEAHHHHHH!” That’s Daddy’s girl! My son also asked me to scan ahead to Back In Black (his fave, ‘cos Daddy can play it on guitar), and they both danced around like loons. Ah, kids…
The big blow-out For Those About To Rock… was fun, and then a quick and dirty encore of Shot Down In Flames was a sweet encore. Cool DVD.
Stiff Upper Lip Live is a DVD made by Australian hard rock band AC/DC during their Stiff Upper Lip World Tour, which was supporting their album Stiff Upper Lip. It was recorded on 14 June 2001 at the Olympiastadion in Munich, Germany and released to DVD on 4 December 2001 in the USA.
Stiff Upper Lip / You Shook Me All Night Long / Problem Child / Thunderstruck / Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be / Hard As A Rock / Shoot To Thrill / Rock And Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution / What Do You Do For Money Honey / Bad Boy Boogie / Hells Bells / Up To My Neck In You / The Jack / Back In Black / Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap / Highway To Hell / Whole Lotta Rosie / Let There Be Rock / T.N.T. / For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) / Shot Down In Flames
On our annual Mike And Aaron Go To Toronto trip this year, Mike and I also did our annual swapping of goodies. This is as much fun as the trip itself, saving stuff up we know the other will like. This year, Mike gave me a bunch of CDs. Awesomely, this one was in the batch!
My lovely wife and I (she was my lovely girlfriend, then) lived in Montreal from 1999-2001. She was a student working towards her Masters degree at Concordia University, during that time.
Late on the evening of August 15, 2000 (I Googled the date) we were out for a walk along Ste-Catherines, as we were wont to do as we lived downtown and we walked everywhere. Montreal is a very walkable city, and it’s very vibrant too, especially downtown in the summertime. We loved never knowing what we were going to see around the next corner. There was always some sort of festival, event, or just people being people everywhere we went. I still miss the city for this reason.
We were just approaching the big, old Hudson Bay building when the rains came down, instantly and hard. We ducked under the awning of the Bay for shelter, just hanging out and waiting for the rain to let up a bit so we could keep going. A blast like that surely would not last long. Suddenly, from east of our position, we heard a lot of hooting and hollering and, as quickly as the rains came, a large group of young people in black t-shirts came running through the rain towards us. They were a jubilant mob, cheering and high-fiving and laughing as they went. In Montreal, this is not an unusual sight.
I shouted to one fellow, to ask what was going on. He shouted back, “The AC/DC concert just ended!” So I shouted back at him, as he disappeared up the sidewalk, “How was the show?” And a whole bunch of the group all yelled back, “IT WAS FUCKING AWESOMMMMME!!! WOOOOOO!!! AC/DC YEAHHHHHH!!!!” Etc and so on…
It was a beautiful thing. Those people were all full of the adrenaline of seeing their heroes live at the Bell Centre, ears still ringing and sure to not get much sleep that night – last call in Montreal was 03:00 so they were clearly headed for the pub for a couple of hours’ drinking before heading home (probably for more drinks). They were running up the street in the rain, pure joy in motion. And THAT is what I thought of when I thought of this album.
Quite simply, it’s a totally satisfying blast of rawk thrown headfirst into a molten pool of blues. This is (yet another) prime example of AC/DC’s supreme, indelible sound. Monstrous riffs hewn from solid rock, verve and swagger and great rawk songs enough to send a mob of young people running up the street in the rain because they could not contain themselves or their own energy. This is a great, great record. Thanks heaps, Mike!
Brother Scott, our Heavy Metal Overlord sent me this molten chunk of the rawk. Holy hell, what a record.
Right off the bat, Thunderstruck. That is all.
Fire Your Guns is another stone classic that will tear you a new one, given enough volume. Wow. Moneytalks… Damn. Talk about a 1-2-3 punch combo! Another great riff, cool tune. The title track is one, it turns out, that I knew but not by title. I’ve heard it many times, over the years, usually at friends’ places. That guitar line, sounds to me like it could have been used in a Bond film, am I right? Love that bit at 2:15. Rawk!
Mistress For Christmas is still totally a true blood song of theirs, but the lyrics are a bit silly. It’s like all their double-entendres over the years have finally exploded and become one song with no more hiding behind words. Still, it’s fun enough. Rock Your Heart Out is a fun rocker, but it seems to be lacking bottom end somehow during the verses. I can still hear the bass but it’s very high up, with the result of sounding thin. But it gets all better for the chorus and the rest of it, more like my mind says it should be all the way through.
Are You Ready, another huge track. It’s a thumper we all know well. Got You By The Balls plods a bit, but it’s another immutable riff of theirs. In fact, I’ve heard this one before too, though I couldn’t tell you precisely where or when.
Shot Of Love. Oh man, I am so glad to have this one here in the collection. I’ve always loved this song. This is a Greatest hit, in my book. It oughta be, anyway. Let’s Make It might be a bigger track on another record, instead of trying (as it does) to stand up to the monster tracks on this album. Can anyone else hear one of the Mutt Lange bands doing this song? I can! Bryan Adams, anyone?
Goodbye And Good Riddance To Bad Luck throbs bluesily along. I liked it, worthy of inclusion here. It may never be a hit, but it sure does strut. And finally, If You Dare is another cool one (love the guitar here, of course). But again, this album becomes a comparison game. These good songs have to stand shoulder to shoulder with the great ones. Tough gig.
In sum, WOW. This was such a cool record, a great mix of humungous tracks and several other shoulda-beens. This band is, as you all well know, pretty much unstoppable. All fandom of these guys is absolutely justified.
Thanks heaps, Scott!!
Aaaand as promised, we are back to the series of gratitude posts!
Brother Scott, our benevolent Heavy Metal Overlord sent me this one, and it’s a bit of a dark horse. Read on to find out why I say that!
The title track is a stone AC/DC classic, full of bluesy swagger. I like to think of it as their 1812 Overture, I mean, why doesn’t every truly great song have frickin’ CANNONS? … And then, when it double-times it, the party really gets underway. Yummy.
Put The Finger On You is another great rocker with, if my ears are hearing it rightly, just a little bit of a pop sensibility to it. It ain’t much, and it’s not a bad thing, but it’s there (to me). Let’s Get It Up (haha that’s what she said!) proves that , as it goes, this record is setting a groove. I’ll get to more on that in a little bit. Now, this is never going to be a ‘classic’ track, but it still totally deserves to be in their discography.
Inject The Venom’s teaser intro made me hope that it’s gonna take right off at double-speed when it hits… but nope. They go for slower and heavier, and that’s cool too. It’s a great song, but all the stopping and starting makes it feel a bit pasted together. That said, that same style works damn well for the solo section, the interplay with the band before it becomes a typical solo run. Playful and bluesy!
Snowballed… oh man, these guys are the masters of double-entendre. This has full-on screaming vocals over a faster rocker. Fun! And then we get to Evil Walks, which I think was built to be a Greatest Hit, but for whatever reason it’s not and it oughta be. I really liked this song. Really not sure why it isn’t a staple song for them.
C.O.D. is another undeniable AC/DC track. You know what I mean, it’s that sound. You know, as this record plays I’m really getting a feel for the overall sense they were going after, here. And you know what, it works. It’s weird to say, since it all sounds like AC/DC, but this record has an identity all its own. I think I made a mistaken (unconscious) assumption that all of their stuff was just more of this same. And sound-wise, it could persuasively argued that a lot of it is. But this record is, overall, slower, heavier, definitely bluesy. Its own beast. I like it!
Breaking The Rules stomps along fairly gently (for them), which is more fuel to my argument (above). Some would say it is too slow, or not hard enough. Those folks aren’t listening closely enough. This is a great one, hiding in plain sight. Night Of The Long Knives threw me. It is AC/DC’s Aerosmith track. Play it, you’ll hear it. Ha, fun! Slinky! Not sure which NotLK they mean, but whichever it is, it’s still a fun song.
And lastly we have Spellbound, another comparitively slow one and, at this point, spellbound is what I am with this record. It took stones for a band like this to make an entire record like this. There’ve always been tracks here or there, but a whole album? Maybe there is, I haven’t heard them all (yet). It’s still them, it still rocks, but it is by and large way more laid-back than other efforts (from the same era) that I’ve recently heard. I like that about it, because it allows their blues and swagger to come to the fore without feeling like I’m being pummelled by the hit machine.
This one gets both metal horns held high. \m/ \m/
Thanks heaps, Scott!
I’ve been on a bit of an AC/DC bender, lately. It’s been lovely…
Mike (all hail Lebrain!) sent me this 2CD hits blast of AC/DC live. It’s exactly what you think it is: balls-out, party-time blues rawk to the Nth degree. Fantastic.
Usually, with these reviews, I go through track by track and give impressions. For this one, I’m just gonna mention a few general thoughts, below. But first, I’ll leave this here and let it basically be ’nuff said:
CD1: Rock N Roll Train * Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be * Back In Black * Big Jack * Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap * Shot Down In Flames * Thunderstruck * Black Ice * The Jack * Hells Bells
CD2: Shoot To Thrill * War Machine * Dog Eat Dog * You Shook Me All Night Long * T.N.T. * Whole Lotta Rosie * Let There Be Rock * Highway To Hell * For Those About To Rock (We Salute You).
Friggin’ MASSIVE, is what that lot is. Wow.
OK, I did have some notes on this one, too…
~ Too bad they did the edited crowd noise thing again, leaving disorienting washes of cheering noises that then fade away. Honestly, leave it all in. If you’re worried about sound quality and distraction, we’ll just go play the studio versions. This is live! You’re throwing a party, so let us hear it all! South American crowds are passionate and loud, it’d be fun to have the full sound of being there!
~ This concert is a good mix of old and new, with 9/19 (so close to half!) of the songs being from the Bon Scott period (if my count is correct).
~ Dirty Deeds and Let There Be Rock were really satisfying fast versions. Yum.
~ The Jack is here, of course. The intro’s pretty lame, vocally. Oh well. And this song is still not grabbing me. I just can’t name what it is that’s wrong that I can’t get to it. It’s fine, and all, but I always feel like, ‘so what.’
~ Do the drums sound muddy (in places) to anyone else? Like, too much bass sound or something? I really noticed it in the intro to Thunderstruck. Could just be my ears, because there are other times where the mix is just right (and it KILLS).
~ I like that they didn’t save up all of their biggest hits for the end of the show, though you could be forgiven for thinking they had, by looking at the list for CD2 (above). This is just proof that this band has written so many huge songs that any setlist of theirs, at this point, is gonna look like a greatest hits comp.
~ I loved the intro to Highway To Hell. Angus is a blues rawk guitar God. A live show like this is just further proof (as if we needed it). He so makes me want an SG. It’s a physical need to own one. Crazy.
~ I noticed that Johnson’s not doing the full scream through all of the songs anymore. He drops down to a lower growl sometimes. Fair enough. That’s a lot of years of shredding your vocal chords. He’s lucky he can talk at all.
~ In the intro to Whole Lotta Rosie, he says ‘old girlfriend,’ but he wasnt even in the band when the song was written. Who knows, it’s possible that he, too, has an ex named Rosie who ain’t exactly pretty and ain’t exactly small…
~ Total pandering to the crowd in Shook Me when he says “knocking me out with Argentinian thighs…” Well-played, sir.
~ I did find it odd to end the show with For Those About To Rock… I mean, if the song is for people who are about to start rocking, wouldn’t you want to play it first? Just a thought. Also, the big crashing ending of this song goes on way too long. I mean, we get it. End already! But I also understand, I mean, if you’re gonna fly all the way to Buenes Aires to do a show, you may as well make it as worth your while as you can. It’s all about the spectacle.
In sum, at this point this band can do no wrong. These are all great versions. This is a solid, gigantic slab of live AC/DC rawk, and the energy of both the band and the crowd (when we can hear them) is undeniable. And it’s all totally fuckin’ great.
Thanks heaps, Mike!! \m/ \m/
Long live Scott, our ever-lovin’ Heavy Metal Overlord, who sent me this record and… oh man. It is greatness.
The title track is a certified AC/DC classic. You already know this. Wow. Next up is Girl’s Got Rhythm, which ramps up the pace for pure blues rawk bliss. Turns out I knew this song already, though not until I heard it again. Yeah! Yeah! YEAH!
Walk All Over You has a bit of a long intro, but once it kicks in we’re right back at full tilt boogie. The half-count chorus is a bit odd, but I realize it’s probably because this would be so much fun in concert – yell along with the chorus, then go nuts when they charge in again. Great solo here too. Worth noting that the sound on this record is just huge!
Touch Too Much is a bit of an oddball. I can’t even explain why. It still rocks, it still hits hard. It’s just… melodic in a different way? That’s not even right. Actually, I like this, the departure. It’s still totally them, but more of a… pop song? GASP! Beating Around The Bush has a great guitar intro that sets up an absolutely blistering pace. Holy crap this band is untouchable when they’re rocking out. They lay down the brilliance track after track after…
Shot Down In Flames is yet another heartbeat-thumper like only this band makes. I am falling love with this record. Get It Hot brings the blues and that signature throbbing bass. It’s a great shuffle rock tune designed to get you up and dancing. This cooks. If You Want Blood (You’ve Got it) I knew from the live album (of the same name) [reviewed recently here in these pages]. It’s a perfect, pure rawk song. You knew this already. What a party!
Love Hungry’s ringing intro becomes a mid-tempo stomper that proves this combination of players is unstoppable. Am I the only one who can hear (the much later track) Rock And Roll Train in this one, if you speed this one up? And finally we have Night Prowler, which closes out this blast of an album with a searing, slow blues. This one pulsates, that’s the word that comes to mind. Superb tune, and a perfect ending.
In sum, all I can say is holy shit. That was awesome. The whole thing. Seriously. Wow.
Thanks heaps, Scott!! All hail our HMO!
Another blast of AC/DC mayhem, courtesy of Scott, our ever-lovin’ HMO. And this one is superb.
Go Down has to be one of the greatest AC/DC song titles ever. This is a huge track, a straight-up blues rocker. There are many bands that play like this, but none of them do it as well as these guys. Love the break-down here, and the guitar solo too. Dog Eat Dog is an excellent fist-pumper, lots of time spent on the toms. It chugs along yet never really achieves that lift-off we crave. Of course, that’s part of this tune’s special menace.
Let There Be Rock ramps up the pace, so you better hold on for your life. Love how it gets down to just the battery, and then the guitar is a well-timed, welcome addition. It doesn’t last long, but I did here the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Catholic School Girls Rule in part of this song. Could the Chilis have lifted it so blatantly? Whatever, this song makes me want to drive really fast. Hot damn.
Bad Boy Boogie is another sweet rocker. Huge solos, here. Holy, this record sounds great, excellent mix and so far all of the songs have been perfect examples of this band’s early sound. This could become a fave album of theirs for me, and I’m only halfway through! Problem Child keeps the ball rolling handily with another chunky rock riff that chews the scenery nd gets the heart pumping. Fantastic.
Overdose builds off some arpeggios and becomes yet another monster AC/DC riff. I don’t know how they do it. Each song sound carved from granite, all different and yet still totally recognizeable as only them. Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be is one I already knew, a greatest hits track equal to all of their others. A monster, loved it. And finally, Whole Lotta Rosie which, speaking of classic hits… sweet jeebus, turn this the hell UP. Wooohooo!
Interesting To Also Note: From roughly the same period, the live album If you Want Blood (You Got It), which was recently reviewed in these pages, has 10 tracks… and 5 of those 10 songs are culled from this album proper. It is that good.
In Sum: This is a great band with many awesome songs, but this album stands as a perfect example of their best early work. I loved every song here, and it sounds great too. Dammit, now I wanna go buy an SG…
Thanks heaps, SCOTT!
Scott, our Heavy Metal Overlord, sent me this CD amongst the many AC/DC discs in the parcel he sent. It’s an ass-kicker! I have never seen AC/DC live. It’s an oversiiight that requires correction.
I had some odd moments listening to this record. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it and it’s an excellent document of the band in action. But I had several moments where I was sure I heard songs by other people, or references to others. Heck, even the album title is a nod to the Stones. But, please bear with me if I mention such things, and know that I am a (relative) AC/DC noob. I’m working on it.
Riff Raff blasts off at a helluva pace. It’s obviously been re-done in a studio afterwards, as the crowd comes in and disappears (around 4:35). I dislike when bands do that. Anyway, it hardly matters, this is a solid introductory track. And, to my untutored ears, I thought it sounded a lot like Led Zeppelin’s Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Hell Ain’t a Bad Place To Be is a pure AC/DC classic track. Once again, the crowd disappears, though. Sigh. Just leave it in, warts and all, and let it all be there. It is a live album, after all. I don’t know why I’m distracted by this, I’m simultaneously rocking out! Bad Boy Boogie rips us another one, talk about great energy. I’m picking up ZZ Top from this riff. Man, I’m at it again. Which came first, though? WHO CARES. Turn it up! Great solo here, too.
Now, Deke said if I’m tired of the album version of The Jack, I should give this live version a spin. Well, it’s bluesy as hell, still good, just… it’s just not grabbing me. What is it about this song? I am pre-programmed and built to love tracks like this! So why am I not feeling it? I just don’t know. Anyway, the audience participation was cool, you can tell they have the crowd in the palm of their hand. Lots of huge solos, I loved that part.
Problem Child picks the pace back up, so hold on to yer tits. Man, this band can really rock! This is pure jock rock bliss. Go! Go! Go! And then we hit Whole Lotta Rosie, which is a classic track we all know well. This version gives the album cut a high-energy run for its money. And hot damn, that solo! Fingers a-flyin’! This is a stand out track on the record, for sure.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Damnation is not a song I’ve heard before, but it’s a decent track that hasn’t quite got the lift-off of some of the others. You know, though, that I could totally hear the Black Crowes doing this song. And finally, it’s High Volatge, which I heard as a potential Stones track when I (recently) reviewed the album of the same name. Good version here, tons of fun.
So, in sum? WHOA. What a show! Shame about editing out the crowd noise, and The Jack. But there’s way more to love here than I maybe let on in this wrote-up. Let’s put it this way: for every minor point I made about this or that in this review, there were ten points in this listening session where I was falling in love with early AC/DC. Hard.
Thanks heaps, Scott! This is a really cool live reacord. Hard to believe I was 4 years old when they recorded it. 🙂
Scott, our Heavy Metal Overlord, sent me this one, and it’s a corker. It was exactly what I needed to hear, today!
It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll) is a great fist-pumping blues rawk opener, and probably the best use of bag pipes in a rock song this side of Dropkick Murphys. Rock ‘n’ Roll Singer is cut from the same hard marble template as most AC/DC songs. This is an album fave, for me. Freakin’ fantastic track.
The Jack gets over-played on our local, animal-themed rawk radio station. Honestly, I’m a bit done with it. It’s not the best riff they ever slapped together (just a 12-bar with fills and solos), and it plods along tiredly. Plus, its nasty subject matter is blech, and all of its dumb card game double entendres were only funny the first time or three, AND this could have gotten the job done in three minutes instead of six. Yeah, not bad track, not great either.
Live Wire’s throbbing bass and guitar flirtation intro soon becomes a fairly straight-on rocker that sounds like only this band can sound. ‘Holy smokes!’ haha, fun. Angus is endlessly great to listen to, that guitar tone is amazing, and his riffs must surely come from a pantheon of gods. I couldn’t help but hear that noodly Thunderstruck riff over top of this one, though. It’s like they stole this song from themselves and updated it later. Interesting.
TNT is a bona fide classic. man, I don’t need to tell you anything about this greatest hit track. Oi! Oi! Oi! Up next is Can I Sit Next To You Girl, a track I’d never heard before and I love it! It’s a total barroom blues rocker, and sounds like a hundred other songs of this type (Thorogood, anyone?) while still sounding like pure AC/DC.
Little Lover is a blues throbber, as close (I’d imagine) as this band comes to a balld or slow song. Of course, it totally works. What a ripping guitar solo here, too. She’s Got Balls stomps along menacingly. It’s got a meditative quality to it, in its repetition. Just let your brain go along with it and you’ll find that the song is over long before you’re ready for it to be.
And finally, High Voltage sounds like a lost Stones song, to me. It just has that jangly guitar thing to it, you know? It’s a jagged (but not Jagger?) blues rocker that brings this record to an arena anthem-worthy shout-along close.
In sum: I am drenched in the blues, I’ve banged my head against the rock, and I’m completely happy to have taken the ride. It was also a pleasure to spend a sustained period of time with the vocals of Bon Scott. It’s not something I’ve been able to do, short of a track here and there, until Scott sent these discs.
I would give this album two thumbs up if I didn’t already have both hands held high in metal horns.
Thanks so much, Scott. This was great!
This Is Radio Hell
Is it just me, or have you also noticed that the Lite FM pap schlock has grown inconceivably even more mindless and insipid? I work two jobs, and at both places this crap is piped into the environment. After eight hours, I’m near homicidal. Seriously, that ‘Say what you need to say’ song has said what it needs to say, no need to repeat it endlessly. And between James Blunt telling me I’m beautiful and Sarah McLachlan telling me my love is better than ice cream, hell yes, Daniel Powter, I’ve had a bad day, and it’s because an endless supply of this shite is stabbing my brain cells one at a time. And lastly, who the hell is that woman butchering Aerosmith’s ‘Dream On?’ She needs to be dragged out at dawn for foisting that steaming pile on us. Is there really anyone out there that finds this garbage acceptable?
Tal Wilkenfeld – Transformation
This young lady is definitely making a name for herself, playing brilliant bass in Jeff Beck’s band (check out the recent show live from Ronnie Scott’s), among other notable gigs. But this completely tight, jazzy solo record is maybe an even better indicator that she totally kicks ass. Here she really steps up and lets go with a sweet flow, and her fellow musicians are in top form too. These instrumental adventures will blow your mind. Hot damn, indeed.
AC/DC – Black Ice
Quelle suprise. AC/DC has made another blues rock record using their well-worn template. The only new thing here is that this one definitely comes in at half-speed. Probably they’re just getting old, wanting to pepper their concert set lists with plodding songs that will let them rest a bit more. And if you can believe it, I swear the track Anything Goes sounds like a Mellencamp cover. I know! Fans will love this, and so will rock radio. To me, it ain’t even within shouting distance of their best, but whatever. It’s AC/DC. Turn it up and let it endlessly be 1985.
Flight Of The Conchords – The Distant Future
We love the Conchords! James introduced us to their hilarious brilliance, and we can’t thank him enough. This is their debut ep, and every track is solid gold. If you’ve seen the show, you’ll know what to expect. If not, well, get on the bus ‘cos this is where it’s at. There is too little of this kind of comedic excellence in our plastic, idiocy-addled culture. Long live the Conchords.
Gabba Gabba Hey – A Tribute To The Ramones
The Ramones deserve every tribute possible, and then some. This is an interesting disc, because in a way it’s cool (these are, after all, Ramones songs and therefore awesome. Also, Keith Morris is involved, so right on), but in another way it’s kind of lackluster. Odd that a long list of artists would get together and create what sounds mostly like a predictable, half-assed job. Not all the tracks are like this, of course, but enough so that this disc is just okay, not the pile of amazing it should be. At least they didn’t just pick all the obvious songs. You’d be further ahead to just listen to the originals, if you want the real blast.
This album is a template, chiselled from the very bedrock beneath our feet. It is so classic it can’t even be described that way any more. It is in and of itself.
I have to assume you already have a battle-worn, well-loved copy of this beauty screaming and jiving on top of the record stack by your player (doesn’t everyone?), so you know exactly what I’m on about. If you don’t know every word to every song on this essential record, there’s clearly something amiss.
The band’s first record following the death of the incredible Bon Scott, there’s more than sufficient proof here that these guys are the undisputed kings of cock rock, leaders of an entire generation of leather-clad high school misfits driving around in their shitty little camaros, blasting these missiles of rock at the neighbourhood and doing their best to look tough while doing it.
I have most of AC/DC’s albums (but I’ve never owned a Camaro and I don’t pretend to be tough), and admittedly they are all pretty much the same – and I mean that comment in the nicest possible way. But really, they are. Each is chock full of sexual double-entendre, a desire for volume and fun and a slightly disrespectful violence, all played over very loud, fundamental blues rock.
They may not have started it, but they made it their own, and the fact that they’re still going (and playing to a completely rabid fan base) all these decades later speaks to the primal nerve this band’s music zings like Angus’ E string.
This is the second copy of the album I’ve owned, a re-master I snagged recently (a part of that set of re-releases in digi-packs they did a few years back). Frankly, I can’t tell the difference in the sound, but I’m hardly an expert. All I know is that it sounds fantastic, just like it always did, especially at higher and higher volume levels. I suppose the fancier packaging is nice and all, and fans love excuses to drop their money to support their favourite band, right? Right!
Look, Back In Black fucking rocks. Own it, love it, live it. Sure, you’ll laugh yourself silly and wonder at yourself while you do it, but you’ll have such a good time (and you’ll be amazed at how beyond classic these songs still are) that you really, really won’t care.
01 Hells Bells
02 Shoot To Thrill
03 What Do You Do For Money Honey
04 Given The Dog A Bone
05 Let Me Put My Love Into You
06 Back In Black
07 You Shook Me All Night Long
08 Have A Drink On Me
09 Shake A Leg
10 Rock And Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution