My expectations for attending this event weren't high. I drove recklessly all day, hoping to drastically injure and/or hospitalise myself in the hopes of missing out on going. Essentially, I imagined being forced to watch Thunderstruck over and over and beat off to pictures of Angus Young almost as much as he does daily.
However, I forgot the joy that pretentious cynicism can bring to any event, be it a bad concert or a family funeral. However, none of the joy that I had came from any of the bands playing.
Firstly, the crowd. I was surrounded by the lowest common denominator, people with bad music taste. A woman bragged to her friends how she had seen Babba in concert. I think that about sums up the level of humanity there.
I'll begin with the opening acts. Calling All Cars are hardly worth mentioning. I only caught the last song of their set, but with that, I had heard all their material. Utterly unremarkable band in a series of utterly unremarkable bands. When Wolfmother came on, my expectations raised, seeing as I was one of the many who had a previous vested interest in these guys back in 2006 when they won Triple J's album of the year. They still have no changed. The lead singer, Andrew Stockdale, had an air of superiority over being the only psych rock band on a night of commercialised rock. I've got news for you Andrew Stockdale, you ARE commercialised rock. I sat through the seemingly endless solos of an absolute wanker... No, it was probably useful as a warm-up. Nonetheless, the fact that their setlist blended together into one song is not a compliment in the slightest as could be said for, say, Scenes From a Memory (speaking of pretentious wankery), but rather as unremarkable dad rock. Again, probably useful as a warm-up. The highlight of Wolfmother's set was surprisingly, Back Round off their new album. The song isn't good at all, I've just connected it with Medicate by AFI because they're in the same set on Guitar Hero 5 and I usually skip Back Round halfway through, so the mental image of Davey Havok pushing Stockdale out of the way and just screaming, "MEDICATE, HERE WITH ME" into the microphone was just too good to be true. It didn't happen.
Now, for AC/DC, I took several hundred words of notes, just to be sure to capture everything I couldn't when my phone's internet connection died. However, looking back, these notes make... little sense. I will attempt to recapture the night as best I can.
The first song to cause me to take notes was The Jack. Prior to this was just Black Ice, a pitiful attempt at a career revival by doing the opposite of what made them famous (writing the same songs), and Back in Black. The thing about The Jack that really caused me to take notes was just the disgust and beginning awareness of what I was seeing. Young, potentially self-respecting women raised their tops to a song about a woman having a sexually transmitted infection, sung by a sleazy, sweaty fat man, who is accompanied by some kind of balding cenobite on guitar. The horrible demon, alternatively named Angus Young, then proceeded to do a striptease on stage. That's right, the cameramen willingly changed from young women to a sixty year-old man taking off his clothes. This was my first alert that things were not as they seemed.
As Hells Bells began, and Brian Johnson took a running leap onto the rope attached to the bell, I found I had my fingers crossed that he would miss and snap his spine. Not only to end the show early, but part of me would love to say I was at the last AC/DC concert, and yes I did see the singer plunge to his death. Unfortunately, he did not and I had to witness another hour and ten minutes of the same song. For some reason, I then had in my notes "baby's first rock group". It's true, I'm just not sure what prompted me to write this.
Whenever the camera would cut to Malcolm Young, he looked surprised and disoriented. I think it's a safe bet that he has alzheimer's, and that his band members should potentially begin researching treatment for this. This isn't a light-hearted joke, I'm really certain there's something wrong with him. Also, I had a note saying "Bob Rock on bass?" Bob Rock's the guy that played bass on St. Anger. Again, I have no idea why I wrote this.
Now, onto another good point. If I never hear another pointless outro solo of tremolo on a single chord or a slide for as long as I live, it will still come too soon. Nearly every song featured this, as if the audience was just waiting for this captivating piece of music to announce to them that the song was over. I know they blend together, but perhaps instead of just tacking this on the end of everything, perhaps, JUST perhaps, you could work on your songwriting skills. It's a long shot, but anything's possible. Look at U2, I would have given their career a year at best.
The next thing I had written was "lights too bright, rock music too loud". I suppose it was some kind of joke, but I don't find it funny now. However, something I still find relevant is the video they showed to accompany their new hit, "War Machine". The video, while essentially being a rip-off of an Iron Maiden song I'm failing to name right now (It's either Powerslave or Aces High), showed Angus Young piloting a plane that proceeds to drop girls out of it as if they are bombs. I know AC/DC has a history of treating women like objects considering their lyrical themes, but this is just ridiculous. After this, a tank (labelled with AC/DC on the side, just in case the viewer wasn't smart enough to make the connection) and a giant stone man walk across the desert. Then the plane drops a bell on a pirate ship, which Malcolm Young is on board. Perhaps this is the reason for his disorientation, the video is a symbol for the fact he wanted to quit the band, so they followed suit with their fans and gave him a frontal lobotomy. It seems to make sense. Also, high point of the show, as well as a real low point for Lost viewers, the CGI was only just worse than the submarine or the underwater island. This isn't a joke, a multi-season running, award winning show has only marginally better CGI than AC/DC. Only a few people will understand this, but those that will are certain to be disappointed.
Brian Johnson, the sweaty old pervert then announced that they would play "High Voltage Rock and Roll". As I awaited the opening notes of "Danger! High Voltage!", I was disappointed to find that they never came, instead playing an entirely unrelated song. On the bright side, they showed photos of a potentially disabled relative of Brian May. However, as the photos progressed, I became less sure it was Brian May's cousin with an extra chromosome, and rather felt that Dave Grohl had boarded Ajira 316 and been left there after the bomb went off. Either way, I laughed at this, as there's really no reason for this attack on Queen, and they could have easily gone for the less tasteless option of attacking Freddie Mercury for having AIDS.
They then managed to work the word "Australia" into TNT. I never realised how much I hate bands doing this, it's a cop-out for the audience to cheer just because they hear a place that they're aware of. To be fair though, the band members could have just stood on stage and waved keys for an hour and a half and 70% of the people there would have cheered. However, during TNT, the veiled rape threat of "lock up your back doors" became apparent to me when coupled with Johnson's menacing, lecherous leer. I will perhaps never look at AC/DC the same way.
They followed with Whole Lotta Rosie, which was subtly shown to the audience through an enormous inflatable woman with large breasts. At one point though, I thought it had stopped inflating, and laughed a lot remembering the line, "we salute you, our half-inflated dark lord." The next note just says, "woman must have been huge to ride on a train, possibly what killed Bon Scott?"
The next 20 minutes were devoted to Let There Be Rock, a song that really disappointed me on the night because I kept waiting for Henry Rollins to come out. Also, there were guitars and drums at the show prior to Johnson announcing "let there be guitars/drums", which makes him a dirty, rotten liar. I began to question the historical accuracy of the videos they continued to show during this song, as it showed an image of Angus Young, impaled on his own guitar, vomiting blood. I'm somewhat sure this never happened in the past, because I did not see a scar on his horrible, 60 year old body, but I suppose it could have been some kind of clone or shapeshifter in the photo. Or on stage, I'm still not 100%. Then it got to the solo, which took the last 15 minutes of the show, and as the solo neared it's climax, AC/DC released a horde of locusts into the air from under the stage. I'm kind of pissed that they stole National Sunday Law Crisis's idea, but more just concerned about how they'd get the locusts back in for the next show. Also, Angus Young would continually stop until he could hear the crowd cheering for him. I now understand why he's not in the Hellraiser cube with the other cenobites, this human quality of neediness and pathetic desperation is not something that the others would look on kindly.
I can wrap up the night quite simply. If I wanted to see a wanker play the guitar in an over-the-top manner, I would have gone to Eddie's house.
PS, they played an encore of Highway to Hell. I kept hoping the only good thing ever associated with that song would happen and Sam and Dean would send the demons on stage back to hell.
PPS, as I was walking out, I saw a group of indie kids. I am still confused.