AC/DC’s riotous rock riles the savage beast in Vancouver

property of the newt

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 17, 1988

By Steve Newton

The would-be gatecrashers throwing rocks and bottles outside B.C. Place last Monday night (June 13) may have thought they were having fun, but if they’d had any sense at all they would have saved those bottles, cashed them in, and collected enough money for a ticket to get inside. That’s where the real fun was happening–the kind of deafening good time that only rock’s premier blues-metal band, AC/DC, can deliver.

No, lead guitarist Angus Young was not wearing long pants. And no, he didn’t have a crewcut. He hasn’t been working out at the gym either. The heart and soul of the band was the same scrawny, long-haired demon in schoolboy shorts that his fans idolize and pay $20 for life-size posters of. They wouldn’t have it any other way.

Young opened the show by leaping from a missile-shaped device for “Heatseeker”, one of only two tunes the band played from its latest album, Blow Up Your Video. It was their old hits that the Aussie fivesome relied upon to get the crowd all riled up, and rile them they did. During the second tune, “Shoot to Thrill”, dozens of fans charged the floor from the bleachers, hoping to get closer to their heroes. Most of them made it past the skimpy security, but the poor unlucky ones who got caught were treated to a headlock or two and dragged kicking and screaming away.

Before long the entire floor was covered with a seething mass of fist-thrusting bodies, and the security guys gave up their posts and took to keeping fans away from the sound and light-system enclosure on the floor. One thing you don’t want to do is deprive 20,000-plus AC/DC fans of the electricity they’re thriving on by having the power supply disrupted.

Then you’d really be talkin’ trouble.

With steel-throated screamer Brian Johnson roaming the stage like a brawny thug in sleeveless denim jacket and cloth cap, the band belted its way through songs of sex (“You Shook Me All Night Long”, “The Jack”), rock ‘n’ roll (“Let There Be Rock”, “That’s the Way I Wanna Rock and Roll”), and the place you might end up if you have too much of both (“Highway to Hell”, “Hell’s Bells”). Angus did his obligatory mooning of the crowd on “Jailbreak”–a quick down-and-up of the shorts that you’d have missed if you blinked–before playing a solo on his back while his kicking little legs spun him around in a circle.

For their last song–the 16th in an almost two-hour show–the band brought out two long-barrelled cannons for a 21-gun salute on “For Those About to Rock”. Talk about going out with a bang.

 

To hear the 23-minute audio of my 1983 interview with AC/DC’s Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson subscribe to my Patreon page, where you can also eavesdrop on my uncut, one-on-one conversations with:

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John Hiatt, 2010
Nancy Wilson of Heart, 2006
Jeff Golub, 1989
Moe Berg of the Pursuit of Happiness, 1990
Todd Rundgren, 2006
Chad Kroeger of Nickelback, 2001
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Terry Bozzio, 2003
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Matthew Sweet, 1995
Jim McCarty of the Yardbirds, 2003
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Kate Bush, 1985
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Jeff Healey, 1988
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Colin Linden, 1993
Kenny Wayne Shepherd, 1995
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Elliot Easton from the Cars, 1996
Wayne Kramer from the MC5, 2004
Bob Rock, 1992
Nick Gilder, 1985
Roy Buchanan, 1988
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Jason Bonham, 1989
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Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers, 2003
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Steve Kilbey of the Church, 1990
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Randy Hansen, 2001
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Warren Haynes of Gov’t Mule, 1998
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Robben Ford, 1993
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Jason Isbell, 2007
Joe Satriani, 1990
Brad Delp of Boston, 1988
John Sykes of Blue Murder, 1989
Dave Mustaine of Megadeth, 1998
Alice Cooper, 1986
Lars Ulrich of Metallica, 1985
Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon, 1992
Myles Goodwyn of April Wine, 2001
John Mellencamp, 1999
Mike Campbell of Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, 1999
Kenny Aronoff, 1999
Jon Bon Jovi, 1986
Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, 1992
Little Steven, 1987
Stevie Salas, 1990
Joe Bonamassa, 2011
Rob Baker of the Tragically Hip, 1997
Tommy Emmanuel, 1994
John Petrucci of Dream Theater, 2010
Eric Johnson, 2001
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Gene Simmons of Kiss, 1992
Ace Frehley from Kiss, 2008
David Lee Roth, 1994
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
John Mayall of the Bluesbreakers, 1988
Steve Vai, 1990
Tony Iommi of Heaven and Hell, 2007
Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 1996
Geoff Tate of Queensryche, 1991
James Hetfield of Metallica, 1986
Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1990
Rick Richards of the Georgia Satellites, 1988
Andy McCoy and Sam Yaffa of Hanoi Rocks, 1984
Steve Morse, 1991
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Brian May from Queen, 1993
Dickey Betts of the Allman Brothers, 1991
Jake E. Lee of Badlands, 1992
Rickey Medlocke of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1997
John Fogerty, 1997
Joe Perry of Aerosmith, 1987
Rick Derringer, 1999
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Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, 1994
Mick Ronson, 1988
Geddy Lee of Rush, 2002
Buck Dharma of Blue Oyster Cult, 1997
Michael Schenker, 1992
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Vinnie Paul of Pantera, 1992
Joan Jett, 1992
Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, 1988
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Paul Rodgers, 1997
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Walter Trout, 2003
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Tommy Aldridge, 2001
Donald “Duck” Dunn, 1985
Mark Farner of Grand Funk, 1991
Chris Robinson of Black Crowes, 1990
Jennifer Batten, 2002
Mike Fraser, 2014
Leo Kottke, 2002
Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, 2002
David Gogo, 1991
Booker T. Jones, 2016
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Buddy Guy, 1991
Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers, 1990
Mike Cooley of the Drive-By Truckers, 2016
Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1986
Lindsay Mitchell of Prism, 1988
Buddy Miles, 2001
Eddie Money, 1988
Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith, 1983
Gaye Delorme, 1990
Dave Murray of Iron Maiden, 1984
Graham Bonnet of Alcatrazz, 1984
Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, 2016
Doc Neeson of Angel City, 1985
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Sonny Landreth, 2016
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Otis Rush, 1997
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Leslie West of Mountain, 2002
Steve Howe of Yes, 2017
Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, 1983
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Robert Plant, 1993
Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson of AC/DC, 1983
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Tal Wilkenfeld, 2016
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…with hundreds more to come

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