Wednesday, August 12, 2009

AC/DC. Whoo! Rockin' rock and rollin' rock-rolls. Rock.

For some reason, the guys got really angry with me yesterday when I suggested that Angus Young looks like an old man. "How dare you?" they seemed to say, as though I had somehow sullied all that was good and holy about rock and roll. You can't say that Angus Young looks old! I mean, he's only 54! And he has a lot of energy! Somehow, saying Keith Richards looks like he's 100 is OK. Saying Mick Jagger is ancient is OK. But Angus Young? Not him! So...what? It's more politically correct to say that he looks like a nine-year-old? Well, he does have that uniform...

OK. Anyway, Angus Young looks old. He's scraggly and haggard and sweaty and tiny. What I was trying to say is that the energy level from this seemingly old man is incredible. Like that bald guy with the glasses who dances all crazy in the Six Flags commercial. Oops. Better not say that guy looks old either. He couldn't be a day under 90. Here is a clip of Angus Young advertising a theme park:




The older you look, the more remarkable it is when you put a ton of energy into something, right? Which is what made the AC/DC show all the more impressive. The opening animation, with the girls and the devil horns and the train speeding across the tracks, was perfect. Just like AC/DC themselves, it was over the top, all out, and terrifically cheesy. When the screens split up to reveal the big train wreck, I was laughing quite heartily. As I was when the giant inflatable woman descended on the stage for "Whole Lotta Rosie" and the big bell came down from the ceiling for "Hell's Bells". Something very "Stonehenge" about the whole thing.

There's no denying it, AC/DC rocks harder and with less self-consciousness than any other band I have ever seen. Even Brian Johnson, who is considering retirement after this tour, looks like there is nowhere else he would rather be than right there on the stage. I'm not sure he has much voice left, but it was certainly covered well by the rest of the band, and the crowd singing along with just about every song. And he nailed the choruses, which was good enough. By the time Angus had his shirt off and went up in the air on that rising stage while confetti rained down upon the crowd, the noise of the people in Scotiabank Place actually drowned out the band during parts of the show. And the band is loud. My ears are still ringing today.

But that, for me, was the best part of the show. The crowd. I have never seen, even at the Stones at Lansdowne with more people, a crowd as into the show as the crowd was at AC/DC on Monday. This is Ottawa. We barely make a sound during Game Six of the Stanley Cup finals. We can sit on our hands during Springsteen. We're boring and lame and reserved and demure. But not on Monday. On Monday, we were loud and boisterous and we participated. It was incredible, and nice to see. This, despite the fact that Scotiabank really went out of their way to prevent people from getting beer.

I took Tom Pechloff, and left him with the guys to go get a couple of beers. Every bank machine but one in the entire building was out of order. Finally, after about 40 minutes, I found the one working machine, which would allow you to take out only 20 dollars. No more, no less. Which is enough for one beer, really. By the time I got back to our section and went to the beer line, they had cut off service. I had no beers at all. Not that it matters. I could hear the show outside on the concourse as well as I could inside. And with AC/DC, they're not a band where I have to see them play a certain song. Do I really care if I see "Highway to Hell" but not "Rock And Roll Train"? All their songs are the same, and they all kick ass. So does the band. Considering how old they look.

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