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LIVE: AC/DC with The Hives & Kingswood, Perth, 27 November, 2015

| 3 December 2015 | Reply

LIVE: AC/DC with The Hives & Kingswood, Perth, 27 November, 2015
Domain Stadium, Perth – Friday, 27 November, 2015
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
Photography by Maree King

The big question about Friday night’s Perth return for AC/DC was: How will they go on their first major tour without foundation member Malcolm Young?

ACDC Live Perth 27 Nov 2015 by Maree King (5)

It’s a question that should barely have been asked: the AC/DC machine are total pros, and with another Young (Stevie, 58-year-old nephew of Angus & Malcolm, who previously deputised for Malcolm when he took time out to address a drinking problem in 1988) on board, the band sounded fantastic. Chris Slade, drummer for several years around the Razor’s Edge album of 1990, has also returned to the fold following Phil Rudd’s legal troubles in New Zealand.

ACDC live Perth 27 Nov 2015 by Maree King  (3)

More than just sounding fantastic – the best 100% ROCK have ever witnessed the band over almost thirty years, in fact – AC/DC exuded a confidence and joie de vivre which has seemed missing for a while. On previous tours it has seemed the band were highly choreographed, over-rehearsed, even going through the motions. This time round they were playful, happy, passionate and excited. It was simply a thrill to watch and hear them on such great form, with singer Brian Johnson more chatty to the crowd, and when he thrusts the microphone under Angus’s mouth to sing along with an anthemic chorus or two, it’s hard not to think that Malcolm might have disapproved a little.

That’s not to say all of the Accadacca set pieces were not in place: AC/DC have come a long, long way since the days of sweaty pubs, and the raw genius simplicity of their songs is fleshed out with all the explosions, fireworks, inflatable Rosies, multiple cannon salutes and schoolboy-guitarists in a frenzy that forty-thousand people can handle.

First up though, was KINGSWOOD, fresh from Melbourne with a short twenty minute wham-bam-thankyou-ma’am set. Battling a shitty mix to start with and the lack of their own distinctive sound, they put in a solid effort none-the-less.

Lagersta, Sweden’s finest, THE HIVES had a helluva job: win over the notoriously patriotic AC/DC crowd with their punchy, primal garage rock. Dressed in snazzy white & black suits, they couldn’t have been more at odds with the predominantly black t-shirted throng, but they’re one of the world’s most exciting live bands and wasted no time in proving they were up to the daunting task.

The Hives Live Perth 27 Nov 2015 by Maree King (5)

Enigmatic frontman Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist told the crowd that AC/DC had sent the band to train them so they were ready for the headliners, and although some pockets of bogans weren’t interested in anything other than their heroes, Walk Idiot Walk, Main Offender and Tick Tick Boom proved Almqvist perfectly justified in laughing audaciously, “you can approve of The Hives or you can disapprove of The Hives: I don’t care – AC/DC asked us to play with them!”

With the sun finally down the atmosphere in Domain Stadium was electric, the whooping and hollering starting as soon as the massive video screens flickered to life showing astronauts discovering a flaming AC/DC logo on the moon, which then crashed to earth as a comet, prompting a spray of real explosions and fireworks and latest album title track Rock Or Bust.

The set list is also envigorated since their last couple of tours: out is The Jack (thank goodness: Brian Johnson never could quite pull Bon Scott’s smutty classic off), and in its place is a smattering of their best tracks spanning forty years.

Both the Scott and Johnson eras are celebrated, and alongside the biggest hits (Back In Black, Thunderstruck, High Voltage, Hells Bells, You Shook Me All Night Long) and crowd favourites (Shoot To Thrill, Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, T.N.T., Have A Drink On Me, Whole Lotta Rosie) are new tracks (Play Ball, Rock n’ Roll Train, Baptism By Fire) and a couple of more lesser-known numbers which brought the house down (a superlative Sin City and Shot Down In Flames.)

ACDC Live Perth 27 Nov 2015 by Maree King (3)

Angus – frenetic, as always – never stops for a minute, especially not through his over-long (but much-loved judging by the reaction) solo spot during main set closer Let There Be Rock, followed by a triumphant encore of Highway To Hell and For Those About To Rock, complete with pyro and fireworks a-plenty.

Marred only by too many outbreaks of violence amongst the feral bogans who have no idea how to handle themselves in public, AC/DC’s return might be the last time we see them live in Perth and if that is the case, then they will have gone out riding high on some of the (no disrespect intended to Malcolm) best form of their career.

Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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