This was a concert I was excited to see and it lived up to my expectations. I had been an AC/DC fan since I middle school thanks in large part to a cool neighbor that played guitar and was huge Angus Young fan. A few months later I had moved overseas and Back in Black came out and I was hooked on their heavy rocking blues sound for life.
My previous opportunity to see AC/DC was during the Flick of the Switch tour in Birmingham, AL. However they cancelled the date and I was bummed. This time they were coming to play on my college campus, NC State! And they were playing in Reynolds Coliseum which had not hosted rock concerts for several years. Rumors were that it stemmed from Van Halen’s last concert there during the 1984 tour. It didn’t matter to me, AC/DC was playing a few miles from my house on the Blow Up Your Video tour!
Opening Band: Cinderella
Ticket Price: $18.50
Since the show was walking distance from my house we headed over a bit early to see the opening band, Cinderella. When I first saw Cinderella on MTV I was a bit turned off with their glam metal look. That and the fact that they were heavily being tied to Bon Jovi made me want to dislike them more. But after hearing their set I was impressed. They rocked their set and showed they were more than a glam metal band on heavy MTV rotation. Their lead singer had a strong voice, similar to Brian Johnson of AC/DC.
After Cinderella’s set, it was time for AC/DC. Now everything you’ve heard about their shows is true in the sense that they get the crowd pumped and engaged. Before you see them onstage they tease you with their opening number. This tour is was Heatseeker and their entrance was epic. As the build up continued the large missile rose from center stage, breaking through the floor. The missile door then blows off and there stands Angus Young in his school boy uniform, not missing a beat.
Angus jumped out from the platform, and started running across the stage playing his ass off as he typically does. They go into Shoot to Thrill and I’m in pure heaven. Shoot to Thrill is my favorite song on what is definitely a metal bible, Back in Black.
I knew this was going to be one of those shows where I would be loving the setlist. Mostly because AC/DC was only playing two songs off the new album and the rest were their classic hits. For the first half of the show I ventured into the mosh pit that was the entire basketball court as the stage was set up at the South end of the coliseum.
And the hits kept coming, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap and Back in Black where the next two songs. I’ve always felt that Brian Johnston does a great job singing Bon Scott’s songs even though they have different vocal styles. Next was Who Made Who from the Maximum Overdrive soundtrack. I always felt this was one of their more pop songs but it was special to me since the movie was shot in Wilmington, NC just a few years before. Stephen King had AC/DC do the soundtrack as they were his favorite band.
One of the surprises was Jailbreak. I did not see this one coming but was excited as I love this song with it’s solid beat and simple riff. The crowd is singing along with the chorus and the Reynolds Coliseum is going off! Then it’s Hells Bells, which of course opens with the familiar single large church bell with it’s simple rings spaced a few seconds apart. Then you hear Angus start playing that slow intro. The song builds up as each band member joins in and then you have AC/DC at full power.
They played their only other new track, That’s the Way I wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll off Blow Up Your Video. One of their less memorable songs from this period and album. After that it was back to the classics with The Jack and You Shook Me All Night Long, their other big hit. During The Jack, Angus strips his school boy outfit some while teasing the crowd to have him “moon” the audience. He roams all points of the stage and commands the audience to get louder. Finally he flashes AC/DC boxers to the crowd and the place erupts!
At this point I’ve started my air guitar and head banging from the bleacher seats at the end of the floor. Close enough to see everything but just out of the pit. If you have ever been to Reynolds you know that the seats in the bleachers are joined in sets of 3-4 seats welded together. This allowed you to bang them against the aluminum riser beneath you and get a booming sound, which we did for T.N.T. and a few other songs.
The set closed out with You three old-school tracks,High Voltage, Whole Lotta Rosie and Let There be Rock. Whole Lotta Rosie is one of those songs that grabs and you and takes you for a ride. AC/DC does that during their show, it’s a roller coaster of blues, metal, rock and loudness that kicks ass. Followed up with monster guitar solo during Let There Be Rock and it was an incredible show so far.
By the end of the set I was satisfied but knew that they always ended with For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) and this show would be no different. The encore started with Highway to Hell. Much like the opening of the show this is great song to take the stage with the killer opening riffs that everyone knows. Then came T.N.T. and I was in overdrive. The crowd was chanting “Oi, Oi, Oi” along with the band. I always loved this song and it is one of my favorite AC/DC songs. Finally the closer, For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) was upon us. You could see the cannons above the light truss and were so prepared for them to fire. In typical AC/DC fashion this song builds off Angus’s lead riff and evolves into a song that you can go to war with. At this point I was glad that I was away from the stage. When the cannons fired at the end of the song it was loud! I think my ears rang a slight bit for the next few days, but it was totally worth it.
To date this is the only time I’ve seen AC/DC live. I’ve had a few chances to see them on past tours but have been a bit reluctant. Brian Johnson’s voice is not what it used to be and rightfully so. I’m really glad I saw them at this time when they were in their prime. They sounded great and put on the rocking good show I expected of them.