That’s the Way I Wanna Rock and Roll!



It's the morning after the night before and as the dust settles on what was a fantastic night of Rock and Roll, I am left to ponder what I witnessed and to try and put the whole experience into a few, shamefully inappropriate words.

But sure, what the hell, I'll give it a go anyway....

First up – the complaints.

No 'Problem Child' and no 'It's a Long Way to the Top (If you wanna Rock & Roll)'. Seriously guys? I was convinced that at least the latter would make an appearance during the encore but it was not to be. Still, I tried to get a few people singing it on the way to our buses back to Brisbane, so that would have to make do.

OK, that's quite enough of all that whingeing, whining and complaining. Let's get onto the rest of the night!

The venue itself, QSAC, is worth mentioning. The acronym stands for Queensland Sports and Athletics Centre and was used for the 1982 Commonwealth Games. The original roofed stadium was intended to be the only permanent seating facility. The remainder of the stadium seating was built as "temporary" seating and was intended to be removed after the Commonwealth Games had finished but public opinion persuaded them to keep the stands.

As we made our way into the stadium through these massive temporary stands the sight that greeted us was incredible, with it looking like every other person had purchased Angus Young flashing devil's horns and were proudly wearing them everywhere we looked. The sea of flashing red horns was a beautiful thing to behold.

Having been to the same venue a while back to watch Ben Harper and Pearl Jam, it was with a little trepidation that we returned, having been none to impressed by the sound quality, the queues for the toilets and the extremely long queues for alcohol (mid-strength as always at concerts Down Under) but I am pleased to report that they had managed to get their act together this time around and everything was very accessible, even though there was probably an extra 15,000 at last night's gig.

Wolfmother were a very good support act and it was a shame that they only played for 45 minutes if only to marvel at the Sideshow Bob lookalike, Chris Ross, do his thing on keyboards. I'm not sure if he was playing it or dry humping it. Very entertaining.

Now Wolfmother are a big enough and well established band, especially here in Australia, so playing to such a big crowd on such a large stage probably was something that they were more than prepared for, so I think it is only fair at this point that I tip my hat in the direction of a young band of fellow Northern Irish men called The Answer who warmed up for AC/DC in 100+ stadium shows across the whole of North America – and this on the strength of their debut album. Fair play to youse lads and all the best of luck for the future!

Once Wolfmother departed, you could sense the anticipation levels rising, the air thick with excitement as the crowd got ready for the Main Event. Incidentally, I have never seen so many roadies descend upon a stage in preparation for a band coming on to perform.

This was going to be BIG.

I had deliberately stayed away from any reports of the show because I wanted everything to unfold before my very eyes, to drink in every last drop of it. We also had pretty good position standing about 20 metres back from the stage and to the right.

As Krissy and I stood there drinking our mid-strength rum and coke, I spied a long walkway stretching out from the middle of the stage to about 70 metres into the crowd. At the end, there seemed to be a small stage with lights and some equipment and we made the decision to get as close to that as we could.

Having been to watch the Foo Fighters last year and disappointed that we were unable to get tickets for the front section; we were thoroughly overjoyed when, during the show, a small stage came down from the ceiling close to where we were standing and the band played a 25 minute acoustic set from there, right on front of us.

Standing next to this and facing the main stage from a more central viewpoint, we were able to see the massive stage in all its glory, complete with two huge pairs of inflatable Angus horns sitting proudly on top of monumentally large walls of speakers at each side of the stage.

The stage was set, as it were.

Not long after that, the lights dimmed, the crowd went wild and AC/DC came on to explosions and fireworks as they burst into the song Runaway Train, taken from their recent album Black Ice. And blow me down with a feather, if the background of the stage didn't open up and a life size steam locomotive replica came bursting through as the band got ripped into their first song of the night.

All around us people – a lot of whom were really old enough to know better – started going ballistic, punching the air and jumping up and down like complete and utter loons. Needless to say, Krissy and I fitted in quite well.

This wasn't going to be big. This was going to be MASSIVE.

Rocking song after rocking song was belted out by the band with classics such as Back in Black, Hells Bells, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Shook me All Night Long all raining down on our more than willing ears as we, the audience, lapped it up.

Ah yes – the rain.

With the Brisbane sky overcast for much of the day (it does happen sometimes) in the lead up to the event and the promise of a shower or two in the evening, we were wondering if the rain would make an appearance. And when it finally rains in Brisbane, it really rains.

However, the skies opened up halfway through the show for one song and for one song only and served as a great way for the sweaty masses to cool down a little from their exertions. And then as soon as it had come, it left us alone again for the rest of the evening.

The song?

None other than Thunderstruck.

It was almost as if it was planned by the band - or perhaps a darker force was at play here?

Angus Young and Brian Johnson, aged 54 and 62 respectively were having a great time up on stage, running all over the place like men more than half their junior, playing to the crowd who were enjoying every minute of it. The energy being given off by the band was being fed back to them and multiplied by then some. It was a symbiotic relationship and one that gave us all what we needed to survive the two hours of mayhem.

When the band played A whole lotta Rosie, a massive inflatable Rosie appeared riding on top of the aforementioned locomotive. You certainly could say she had it all.

During the band's rendition of The Jack, Angus Young
turned his attention to performing an awkward and comical striptease that ended with him stripping down to an AC/DC-branded pair of boxer shorts. Where do I get my hands on those bad boys, I wondered? Actually merchandise stalls were everywhere and had I been so inclined, I'm sure I could have found a pair. There was AC/DC everything for sale.

He spent the rest of the gig with no shirt on - which was just as well considering how much sweat he was producing during his high-intensity performance. The sweat was lashing off him at a rate that had you thinking the aul' fella's heart would surely give in at any moment.

He later transformed the stage into the scene of a one-man jam session, when he spent a good ten minutes roaming around the performance space, runway and elevated platforms while kicking out a series of seriously impressive guitar solos to the audience's delight. Especially us, stood less than 10 metres from him at the end of the runway. So close were we that this photo was taken on my phone:

The crowd also got a taste of Black Ice, War Machine, High Voltage, and TNT during the dynamite gig.

When the band returned for an encore performance, the two large devil horn structures perched high above the stage became highly relevant as the musicians launched into one of their best and most familiar tracks: Highway to Hell.

The show ended with a bang. Well, several bangs actually. As AC/DC played For Those About To Rock (We Salute You), several cannons were pointed and "fired" towards the audience before a mini-fireworks display rounded out two hours of pure rock splendour.

Leading up to the event, I was a little concerned that I was getting way to excited about the prospect of watching these legends in the flesh. Surely when you build something up in your head as much as I had, I was setting myself up for disappointment and regret?

However, I am happy to report that this was – without doubt – the greatest concert that I have ever had the fortune to experience. A few years back I was lucky enough to see The Pogues perform a Christmas gig at the Brixton Academy in London and ever since, it has always been the benchmark for me and my concert experiences.

Sorry Shane, but Angus, Brian and the boys have knocked you off your perch and for this AC/DC, I salute you!

This blog was brought to you from my verandah with a few Peter Stuyvesants, a couple of glasses of ice-cooled water in the beautiful Brisbane sunshine and with the warm afterglow of a man who has realised a 25-year dream.


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