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Review: Books, Theatre, Movies, Albums & Gigs.

AC/DC
The Black Ice Tour, 2009

Manchester Evening News Arena
Tuesday April 21

2 hrs.

The cover of the 'Black Ice' album by ACDC


From the moment the lights dim in the vast auditorium, AC/DC’s return to the concert stage to promote their latest album, Black Ice, is filled with electric anticipation that oozes from every pore of the gathered faithful.

 


Three massive screens show a cartoon of the band avoiding a runaway locomotive whilst the opening strains of Rock ‘N’ Roll train thunders from the speakers. It wouldn’t be fair to say what happens next, but suffice to say its pretty bloody spectacular and Angus, Brian, Cliff, Malcolm and Phil emerging from the wings only adds to the moment.

 

It’s been way too long, but the lads are here doing what they do best; performing in their own, incredibly loud, brash, fun-filled and exciting style.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Train gives way to Highway To Hell and you just know that you’re in for a treat, with all – well, nearly all – of the band’s defining songs coming out, front and centre.

Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be, Dirty Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap), You Shook Me All Night Long, Hell’s Bells and a particularly entertaining The Jack are all devoured by the throng, with the latter having some of Manchester’s prettiest women having their cleanliness scrutinised via the screens.

Angus Young has certainly lost non of his energy, duck walking the stage with a frantic fervour that defies logic or rolling on his back whilst on a platform twenty feet in the air. His guitar work maybe in the rough and ready category, but God it’s entertaining.
Brian Johnson delivers his granite vocals with gusto, pumping his fist and tightening his massive arms to swing from the rope of a giant bell like a spring chicken. Okay, there’s little communication between the stage and the crowd, but it doesn’t really matter because a lack of banter means more music.

Driven on by a relentless beat provided by Malcolm Young, Cliff Williams and permanently cigarette wielding Phil Rudd on the drums, power is never in short supply and when a inflatable, tattooed stripper emerges at the back of the kit, one fears for his safety given the possibility that he might be crushed by the biggest pair of jugs in Christendom.

These, of course, belong to Rosie and, yes, there’s certainly a whole lot of her. It’s just a pity that those at the back have to crane their necks around a bank of speakers hanging from the ceiling to get the full glory of her magnificence.

There were many highlights, but Shoot To Thrill, Thunderstruck and Let There Be Rock truly stand out. Of the new stuff, Big Jack, War Machine and the truly wonderful Anything Goes will live long in the memory.

Closing on the ubiquitous For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) and the traditional 21 Gun Salute from the cannons that have appeared from nowhere, AC/DC leave the stage with everybody well and truly satisfied.

A boy’s band they might be – and pissing off every feminist in the world is surely a part of that – but, these guys still know how to rock and the MEN Arena has rarely rocked louder, longer or with so much fun.
Chris High

Brian Johnson and Angus Young on stage
A large Rock and Roll Train dominates the stage
Inflatable 'Rosie' rides the Rock and Roll Train
The AC/DC Bell

 

 


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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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