Errols Weekly Music Update.

November 14, 2008

Concert Review: AC/DC at Madison Square Garden on 11/13/2008

Concert Review: AC/DC at Madison Square Garden on Thursday November 13, 2008.

“They Still Got It”: A Night of Pure Euphoria.

OK it has happened again. I, along with 18,000 other people, witnessed one of the best nights in concert history at Madison Square Garden. At this point in their career, AC/DC has molded their live shows into a “Masterpiece Theater” experience. I can honestly say that on any night of this current tour, each show will be a carbon copy of what happened last night (and of course on Wednesday night). Think about the times in your life when you experienced pure adoration. Maybe it was your wedding day, birth of a child, or whatever it is- you know the feeling I’m talking about. As I sit here writing about the show some 12 hours later, I am still in a state of euphoria as I recall the highlights of the show. I think I saw two of the best songs ever performed at the Garden last night with their classics “TNT” and “Whole Lotta Rosie.” Pure and simple, this is Rock & Roll the way it was intended to be. I will do my best to put you in my seat (although you will not be sitting).

Let me start from the beginning, now you all knew that I did not get tickets for the show when they first went on sale. Trying to put my disappointment on the backburner was tough as I ached to see the show. I knew what I was going to miss as I have seen them numerous times and throw in the fact that this could be their last tour ever, well….. Then it happened, a phone call, no let me say THE phone call from one of my long-time friends from Brooklyn, Mr. Slats. He asks me if I want to go to the show. I could feel a rush of adrenaline shoot throughout my whole body as I tried to contain my excitement. I calmly said that I would love to but with certain conditions going on I didn’t feel it was the right thing to do. He says the ticket is on the house, well folks; my Christmas present had come early for me this year. I was so appreciative I couldn’t even put into words, so hopefully this points out how I feel. In addition, he tells me that his cousin & his son are attending the show (his cousin was responsible for obtaining the tickets) and that this would be their first time seeing AC/DC live in concert. Actually I didn’t even tell them what to expect, I knew what was coming and actually was basking in the fact that I now have more witnesses to substantiate my positive reviews. We started off the night at a place called F.A.T.S. on 33rd street and when we walked in I thought AC/DC was on stage in there. Their music was blaring from every crevice of the restaurant along with about 50 flat screen TV’s that was replaying one of their festival concerts. Can I get any more psyched? I couldn’t wait to see them live at the greatest place on the planet to see an arena show- Madison Square Garden.

As we walked to the Garden, I felt at home. I was back in time as I know the same people that starting out seeing them back in the 1970’s were walking along shoulder to shoulder down the aisle again to the land of Oz. (remember VH?). Now folks just for a second I diverge from AC/DC for a second to let you know that it was exactly one year ago to the day, Nov. 13, that I was walking down the aisles to see the reunited Van Halen tour, so you know karma was on my side. Now sure, some of us have gone gray or lost some but the soul is still there. You could feel the electricity in the air and for this night all I was interested in was watching AC/DC, so we missed the opening band. (No offense to them). The best shows are always when the arena is completely filled and no one is sitting down. After the opening band finished, we made our way to the seats and all around the Garden you could see the red lighted devil horns on people’s heads flashing. Even that got me psyched, so you know I was basically losing my mind with anticipation. Now the stage is a picture of perfection (without a doubt, a long way from playing the bars in Australia). The Marshall Amps looked like a NY city block of buildings, (maybe the same size). There was a huge oval towards the front with a long runway that went out about 20-25 rows deep. At the end of the runway was a round circle stage that was surrounded by handrails. Later on this stage elevated into the air as Angus was rolling around whaling on the guitar. Right smack in the middle of the stage was a huge train. On both sides of the train were a huge rectangular screen and a smaller square screen that was real high in the air. Across the stage were about 16-17 squares that looked like the gratings on the city streets where you can hear the subway under your feet. It was actually a glass like structure where there were cameras underneath filming the boys walking over them and putting them up on the screen. It was technology at it best for this very old-fashioned rock band.

The lights go out and here it comes, the Super Bowl of all concerts. A film starts with a train rolling down the tracks and right away it is loud. It then morphs into an adult cartoon with some sexual overtones laced in. (c’mon its rock ‘n roll right??!!) As we see the cartoonish Angus-like figure hanging on the outside of this runaway train waiting for him to jump off, he does and the train crashes right into your face and then BOOM a fireball explosion erupts from the center of the stage. There they are!! Live and in your face from the opening chords of “Rock N Roll Train” off of their new album Black Ice. You are now officially there and in for the ride of your life as the crowd is in frenzied state. The main cogs in the wheel for AC/DC- Malcolm Young, Phil Rudd and Cliff Williams are in the back of the stage looking like a triangle as Rudd’s drum set sits in between Young and Williams. There he is Mr. Malcolm Young shaking his head up and down playing a guitar that seems much larger than him. He looks as if he is being electrocuted as he basically stays in the same position for most of the night. As a friend of mine, Ed, (who saw them on Wednesday night) stated, Malcolm is the match that ignites the fire in AC/DC.The front of the stage is for Brian Johnson and Angus Young and for most of the night Mr. Johnson let Angus take the spotlight. Angus was decked out in the trademark schoolboy outfit which was burgundy velvet this time around. I have to say that colors were a big part of this show as his outfit with all the different lighting fixtures really crystallized the appearance of the show. As Brain approached the chorus of the song, the crowd took over with “train ride on the tracks” in unison. As the song ended, the crowd was out of its mind and it was only going to get better. Mr. Johnson tells the crowd that they were going to do the new with the old and with that they laced into ‘Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be” (from their 2nd studio album-“Let There Be Rock”). As the drums start the third song of the night, one of the first highlights, the crowd realizes that it is “Back in Black” and talk about rabid? The fans wanted more and they were going to get it. Everyone sang word for word and as the song came to an end, Dan says to me that that is the best rock and roll song ever written. I hear someone behind us say, “They Still Got It.”

The fourth song of the night is “Big Jack” off of Ice and again I stand by my statement that if AC/DC allowed their songs on I-Tunes, this would be the most popular download. Most of the crowd appeared to know the new songs and the chorus is easy to pick up for this song so they happily sang along. All the while, everyone was doing their best air guitaring imitation of Angus, this song is perfect to snap your neck head banging. Brain leans into the microphone and says the next song is the ideal song for this town- “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.” I am telling you right now folks, witnessing them play this song again (yes I don’t care how many times you have heard it) is something that can’t be put into words. Everyone who was there understands what I’m talking about, so I’m trying to make you feel it but I may fall short. “Enough to drive you nuts…” Throughout this song there were green lights that hit the stage over Angus as he played his guitar solo that again just enhanced the event.

As the night progressed and I looked around the Garden there was one particular corporate box that had a whole bunch of people wearing the blinking devil horns dancing around having the time of their lives. How can you not smile when you see that? During the bluesy “The Jack” Angus did a strip-tease but this time down to underwear that had the bands name on it. I think people outside MSG heard the crowd singing this one. The huge bell fell from the ceiling as Angus started to swing on the rope to start “Hells Bells,” I defy anyone to tell me those opening sounds of the bell does not pump you up. “I’m a rolling thunder pouring rain; I’m coming down like a hurricane.” The frantic pace continued right into “Shoot to Thrill” and at this point I’m close to passing out on how great the show is. But wait it would only get better. As they played “War Machine” off of Ice, Brian was off to the side of the stage shadow boxing and looking like a clean shaven Paulie from the Rocky series. Just picture one of your older male relatives on the dance floor at a wedding swinging their arm side to side. Then the highlight of the night and maybe in all of MSG’s history: the incomparable “TNT.” Again picture 18,000 people having their arms a little above their heads moving their arms back and forth from the elbows up and screaming “Eye, Eye.” As the lights came on and displayed the entire Garden having a grand all time, I was at a loss for words. It can’t get any better, could it? Yes it can and did because the next song was “Whole Lotta Rosie.” I started to forget that I was around other people as I had my eyes closed and was somewhere off in a dream world as felt myself floating away. When I opened my eyes, I saw this huge inflatable doll, of course Rosie, and since this is a family page I won’t say where her hand was. Then to top it off, was the electric “Let There Be Rock” and this is where Angus rode up in the air that small circular stage I mentioned earlier. His guitar solo was fantastic as he hit the floor and swirled his body in a circular motion with his head being the steering wheel. As they said goodnight, I wanted more and I knew they were coming back for more.

The encores were the classic “Highway to Hell” and “For Those About to Rock.” Now people who attended my wedding know that during the reception there was a block of rock & roll music played by the DJ (yes my records) and AC/DC was included. One of the songs played was “Highway to Hell” so I was brought back to my wedding day when the opening chords hit the crowd. Then the cannons came out all lined up above and behind Phil Rudd as you knew what was coming. Explosion after explosion… As folks exited the Garden all the talk was about how great the show was. One guy said that it was going to be hard to wipe the smile off of his face for a while. It was one big happy family as the chants of “An-gus, clap-clap” echoed in the stairwells as we headed back down to earth to leave the Garden. Another job well done!! Thanks to Dan and Ron for the opportunity to go to the show. And to Joey- not many people can say that their first concert was AC/DC, it may be a while before you find something to top this experience of a lifetime.

Set List:

1  Rock and Roll Train

2  Hell Ain’t a Bad Place To Be

3  Back in Black

4  Big Jack

5  Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

6  Thunderstruck

7  Black Ice

8  The Jack

9  Hells Bells

10  Shoot to Thrill

11  War Machine

12  Anything Goes

13  You Shook Me All Night Long

14  TNT

15  Whole Lotta Rosie

16  Let There Be Rock

Guitar solo

17  Highway to Hell (Encore)

18  For Those About to Rock (Encore)

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8 Comments »

  1. perfect recap of the night. we were all dancing and going nuts the whole show.

    one thing about this band is that they give and give and give with their energy, so the crowd can’t help but give it right back. and that synergy ends up being completely electric. pure rock and roll goodness right there. i go to A LOT of concerts, and nothing compares to the energy of an ac/dc show. the entire crowd was standing and singing and clapping and chanting and fist pumping the whole time.

    ROCK!

    Comment by Diana — November 14, 2008 @ 2:22 pm

  2. Great review! Going to the show tonight in NJ!

    Comment by Mark — November 19, 2008 @ 4:28 pm

  3. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Just saw the show in Ft. Lauderdale,FL. I knew they would be amazing, having already seen them 5 times but this was their masterpiece. I was blown away by how powerful and tight they sounded after an 8 year layoff and being as old as they are. They went out at the top of their game and cemented their legacy as the greatest band in the history of Rock & Roll!

    Comment by Dave — December 21, 2008 @ 3:49 am

  4. Rock on!!! Just saw them in St. Louis (my 1st time) and I am thrilled to say the show was ‘rediculously amazing’!!! Loved it. No, I really loved it. The anticipation, the sights of the amps/lights/stage, etc., finally after all these decades getting to see these R’n Roll icons, and hanging with my friends it was a night I can’t keep from reliving. I’m proud, or embarassed, to say my only complaint (even at 43) is that I wanted the music even LOUDER ( if that’s possible because I saw quite a few with earplugs) and wanted them to play on, and on, and on . . . Thanks honey for the ticket.

    Comment by Denise — January 15, 2009 @ 8:44 pm

  5. Great review. I saw them in ’86 and was amazed at the energy of the band and the crowd. Every single person in the arena was on their feet, pumping their fist, singing, screaming…incredible. I’m going to the show tomorrow night in Dallas and can’t wait! Look up rock and roll in the dictionary and you should find a picture of AC/DC

    Comment by Scott — January 22, 2009 @ 4:25 pm

  6. I just saw them at the O2 (millenium dome)London 14 april 09. great gig and well chuffed to say they can still do it, and me too! Same set bar anything goes was replaced by shot down in flames which I went mental to, mind you the youth didn’t and were more familiar with thunderstruck! I aint got grey hair yet but I first caught them in 82. 5th time now and they still rock. I don’t know about you guys but we had standing and it was shit hot , was just out of reach to the high fives from Brian who had such a ball on stage. Happy faces all round. Good sound too, my ears are still ringing!
    Cheers

    Comment by max — April 16, 2009 @ 6:02 pm

  7. Sat here reading these reviews and comments and I am like a kid on Christmas Eve! I have tickets, to see the boys, on 26th June, at Wembley Stadium (London) and then again on 30th June at Hampden Stadium, (Glasgow, Scotland). Twice in one week and I don’t mind admitting it’s the most excited I have ever been about a concert. These guys have the music to chart my adolesence and I’m never ashamed, no matter how old I get and how musical influences change, to say that my favourite rock n roll band, EVER, are AC/DC!! Bring on Friday and the deafness for days…

    Comment by Barry K — June 24, 2009 @ 11:02 am

    • Hey Barry- Thanks for the nice words. Enjoy the shows. I am going again myself (and taking my youngest with me-he’s 11) to see them at Giants Stadium on July 31. Can’t wait!!-Errol

      Comment by ea0217 — June 24, 2009 @ 6:34 pm


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