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Classic Rock News And Views
May 25, 2011
The year 1979 must seem like ancient history to a good percentage of AC/DC’s present fans, kind of like when I hear my parents talk about 1952 or something. 1979 was ten years before my first son was born and during that time a youthful AC/DC was out touring the world. With singer Bon Scott still out front, the band probably had no idea the concert footage shot in Paris on that December day would be the last to include Scott. In a tragic and all-too-familiar exit from this life, he was found lifeless during the afternoon of February 20th, 1980 in a car after being left to sleep off a night of heavy drinking.
Although Scott was only 33 years old at the time of his death, the time he spent as the frontman for one of the hardest-rocking bands of all time certainly provided him with experiences that many can only dream about. Let There Be Rock will live on as a tribute to Scott’s brief, but highly-influential mark left behind on a group that continues to thrill fans world-wide some three decades later.
The untimely departure of Scott no doubt forced a profound readjustment for the group for obvious reasons, but beyond the emotional aspect, Bon Scott was a major creative force alongside the Young brothers as revealed in the DVD’s credits that list them as the composers of every song performed during that show.
Let There Be Rock might be what fans expect in many ways, since a good number of the bands hottest hits of the day are served up with a bit of interview footage sprinkled in between. The show features AC/DC staples such as “Live Wire,” “Highway To Hell,” “Whole Lotta Rosie,” “Let There Be Rock,” and of course, more.
Although I’ve always found AC/DC to be a group I’m happy to listen to when it happened to come on MTV or a friend’s car radio, I don’t claim to be a hard-core AC/DC fan. Even so, some of the footage on Let There Be Rock took me back to a vivid memory of the first time I saw AC/DC on MTV or some other concert-oriented program of the day.
Obviously, the channel I was watching is not so indelibly etched in my memory, but the performance was another matter! In particular, the wild and nearly endless energy produced by human perpetual motion machine Angus Young. How he could play guitar (before the days of wireless no less!) and move his head like that and spin around on the floor like the “Tasmanian Devil” of Looney Tunes fame was, and still is, beyond me.
It was also interesting to note that Young’s “strip tease” routine is a well-rehearsed bit of comedy that’s been part of the show since at least 1979 when the film for this DVD was shot. It’s hard not to think of Young as a sort of second frontman given all the attention he seems to draw from the cameras as well as the fans.
As for the production of the DVD itself, the sound quality is very good on my standard DVD copy. As someone who might be considered notorious for my criticism of the sound on live recordings, that probably translates to the “sound quality is excellent” for those a bit less snobby with regard to studio vs. live recordings.
The video is also quite good, especially considering that it was filmed well before HD became part of the lexicon. How that original footage makes the transition to Blu-Ray on the limited collector’s edition is not known to me, but my suspicion is that it is worth picking up for those with the players and home theater systems that will permit the full high-quality experience of the show.
As one might expect, the whole live experience back in 1979 is not quite as extravagant as most of today’s rock shows where all the extras are concerned. There are no giant cannons or bigger-than-life Rosie dolls. Standard colored lighting and a flash of the full moon from Angus Young’s direction make do as the lasers, pyrotechnics and Jumbo Tron-style screens of the day. All of those extras are not necessarily exclusive to today, but Let There Be Rock is all about bringing the music to the assembled fans in The City of Light at that time. as well as those who to choose to add this historic recording to their personal collections.
Let There Be Rock is set for release on June 7th. The DVD features 97 minutes of color concert and interview footage featuring Dolby Surround Sound Stereo and 5.1 with closed captioning. The limited collector’s edition runs approximately 183 minutes and is available on both DVD and Blu-Ray.
May 9, 2011
The year 2013 will be an important one for Australian rockers AC/DC. Die hard fans are aware that it stands as a major milestone for the group, putting four decades in the rear-view mirror since they first called themselves a band. The hard-rocking group may also be working on plans to celebrate their upcoming ruby anniversary in a way that will rival the success of their last album, Black Ice, and the nearly two-year world tour that followed. Considering the fact that the Black Ice tour was the third highest-grossing concert tour of all time, it will literally be a hard act to follow.
Guitarist Angus Young reportedly told the UK’s Sun newspaper that he and his band mates were thinking about how they could better the Black Ice tour, and sounded confident when he stated that they were not yet sure how they would do it, but they would. They will, of course, have to conjure up another blockbuster album like Black Ice to use as a launch pad.
I don’t count myself among the doubters, no matter the enormity of the task that AC/DC may be taking on. Visitors to this site prove over and over again that AC/DC is a force to be reckoned with, and along with the likes of Rush and Van Halen, seem to draw the lion’s share of readers. Drawing on my own personal experience, it’s easy for me to understand AC/DC’s appeal, although I’ve never considered myself a big fan of heavy metal. I realize some may put Rush or Van Halen in that same category, but for me “heavy metal” has always defined artists like Ozzy, Judas Priest and AC/DC, among others.
Despite what I said about most groups that satisfy my personal definition of heavy metal, there’s something about AC/DC that just makes me want to keep on listening. I have never given much thought to the reason for that, but having just done so, one word comes to mind. Solid. Maybe it’s the arrangements, the musicianship or the mixing and engineering, but there’s something about that signature AC/DC sound that’s just about as solid is it gets.
As for the timetable on a new album, Young says that the group hopes to get it done “within the next couple of years.” With the 40th anniversary looming in 2013, it’s a good bet that estimate will be on target. What lies beyond is not clear, but it is certain that AC/DC is not yet entertaining any thoughts of retirement.
During a recent interview with lead singer Brian Johnson to talk about the release of the group’s new concert DVD, Live at the River Plate, Rolling Stone asked when they might consider retiring. Johnson replied, “You just keep going as long as you think you’ve got something. And hopefully other people like it too. When the beast doesn’t need feeding any more.”
Like so many of their contemporaries who are still rocking into their late fifties and early sixties, the AC/DC lads may be slowing down just a bit but they seem determined to stay fit enough to keep creating and performing for their dedicated fans. Angus Young is said to have had some problems with his legs during the Black Ice tour, but reports that his discomfort evaporated when he was on stage. Johnson acknowledges that touring is “physical” and that, “You don’t have time to recuperate on the road so you have to keep yourself fit, go to the gym every other day.”
With “the beast” showing no sign of being satiated yet, it likely that fans can look forward to a great anniversary celebration with some of the best hard rockers in the industry. A little older and a little slower perhaps, but still able to rock? You bet.
December 28, 2009
Known as one of the hardest-rocking classic acts to ever grace the stage, AC/DC sure knows how to play it loud. That’s what their fans pay to see, and that’s what they get. I mean, what would be the point of playing a track like “Highway To Hell” or “Hell’s Bell’s” at any setting below eight?
Despite the fans and their obvious love for the Aussie rockers’ thunderous sound, it appears that there may be trouble ahead for fans who have plans to attend the show at the Wels airport in May. The Wels Airport is in Austria, and is said by conservationists to be too close to the nesting areas of a bird known as a curlew. In fact, the area is said to be the second largest curlew nesting area in Upper Austria.
Not surprisingly, the Wels airport show is already sold out, and there are bound to be a significant number of ticket-holders who are not pleased about the possibility of a cancellation.
According to Hans Uhl who is affiliated with a group known as BirdLife, they will take their efforts to halt the concert to the courts if they feel it is necessary. The group believes that the concert will disturb the nesting curlews, as well as other ground-nesting birds species in the area.
“The second biggest colony of curlews in Upper Austria and various other ground-nesting birds must not become endangered,” Uhl is quoted as saying.
We are normally accustomed to warnings about loud music being detrimental to the hearing of human beings who like to crank it up, but this is the first time I can recall hearing that raucous rock and roll may be a danger to wildlife, and even cause them to become endangered.
It appears that the ball is now in AC/DC’s court. Will they decide to cancel the show, or flip BirdLife “the bird” and fight it out in the courts with the conservationists?
Originally seen in the Daily Telegraph.
September 30, 2009
COLUMBIA RECORDS AND ALBERT PRODUCTIONS UNLEASH BACKTRACKS
THE ULTIMATE AC/DC EXPERIENCE, AVAILABLE IN TWO SPECIAL BOXED EDITIONS, ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 10
Deluxe Collector’s Limited Edition Features 3 CDs of Live & Studio Rarities, 2 DVDS Including the Long-Awaited "Family Jewels Disc 3," A Vinyl LP of Studio Collectibles, A Coffee Table Book, Facsimiles of Authentic Memorabilia, Fine Art Lithographs & More Boxed In An AC/DC Working Guitar Amplifier – Available Exclusively Through Band’s Website
Columbia Records and Albert Productions proudly announces the release of Backtracks, the ultimate AC/DC collector’s experience, available Tuesday, November 10.
Arriving in two distinctly different fan-friendly editions, Backtracks spans the length and breadth of AC/DC’s career, bringing together rare songs, hard-to-find live performances and the long-awaited debut of "Family Jewels Disc 3," a DVD showcasing the group’s music videos, live performances, and promotional clips from 1992-2009. (The original double-disc "Family Jewels" was named 2005′s "DVD of the Year" by the UK’s Classic Rock magazine while the RIAA certified the collection 10x Platinum for sales in excess of 1 million copies in the US alone.)
Manufactured in an exclusive run limited to 50,000 pieces, the deluxe collector’s edition of Backtracks includes a CD of studio rarities, two CDs of live rarities, the "Family Jewels Disc 3" DVD, the "Live at the Circus Krone" DVD, a front-row immersion in the band’s scorching 2003 club show in Munich, Germany, and a 12" long-playing album, struck in 180 gram vinyl, of hard-to-find studio tracks. The limited edition Backtracks includes a five-disc media carrier to house and transport the set’s three CDs and two DVDs.
In addition the deluxe collector’s edition comes with a 164-page coffee table book and an Original Memorabilia Reproductions Envelope containing an astounding array of facsimiles including the "I DO IT FOR AC/DC" button (the band’s very first tour merchandise), the 1976 "Lock Up Your Daughters" tour flyer, the Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap recording track sheet, a 2′ x 3′ 1977 Let There Be Rock European Tour poster, a Bon Scott parrot tattoo replica, an AC/DC logo guitar pick, an Australian Money Talks dollar, three black and white fine art lithographs of never-before-seen photos of the band in the Alberts Studio in 1977 and more.
The AC/DC deluxe collector’s edition of Backtracks comes housed in a fully operational AC/DC guitar amplifier. The limited and numbered deluxe collector’s edition of Backtracks will be available direct-to-consumers exclusively through the website www.acdcbacktracks.com with full details on pre-ordering information.
The three-disc standard version of Backtracks distills the electrifying essence of the deluxe set into one CD of studio rarities, one CD of hard-to-find live tracks, and the indispensable "Family Jewels Disc 3" DVD.
September 28, 2009
It’s a story that is beginning to sound all too familiar. An aging rocker’s medical issues have put a stop to a tour by a big-named rock act – although this time it is expected to be a relatively short break, although some unlucky AC/DC fans are probably wondering when the show they have tickets to will actually happen.
Vocalist Brian Johnson, who at age 61, is still doing an admirable job of belting out the group’s signature hard rock catalog is set to be recovering from an unspecified medical procedure that will take the band off the road until October 16th, when they plan to resume to tour in Washington, D.C.
The unexpected break will result in the cancellation of six tour dates which include Phoenix, Las Vegas, Louisville, Kansas City, Des Moines and Milwaukee. Those dates will be rescheduled, but it’s too early to know exactly what the new dates will be.
Johnson has been quoted recently regarding the possibility of his retirement from AC/DC. Referring to himself as the “the old dog in the regiment,” Johnson is not sure he will be able to keep rocking with AC/DC for much longer.
The current tour, which has had the band on the road for nearly a year has got to be a pretty draining experience even for rockers who are much younger than Johnson. Although fans see him on stage holding his own with the group, it’s likely that he devotes a lot of time to keeping himself fit and capable of delivering the kind of performance AC/DC fans expect.
Fans holding tickets for the Washington, D.C. show are likely keeping their fingers crossed while hoping that Johnson recovers in time to resume on schedule, but as we all know, the healing process does not always respect the schedule.