AC/DC put all doubts to rest at the Key Bank Center in Buffalo, NY. The last several years have been an incredible roller coaster for the band. The most recent of such events was the controversial removal of long-time vocalist Brian Johnson earlier this year. While there appears to be at least two sides to that story, what was clear was that AC/DC were about to bring on a new singer—for the first time since 1980. As the rumors began to fly of Axl Rose sightings earlier this year with the band, fans took sides on whether they felt Rose was an appropriate fit or not. Having gotten the opportunity to witness this lineup firsthand in Buffalo, I stand firmly on the side of, “Absolutely, yes!”
Axl Rose took the stage with AC/DC as they opened the show with the new album’s title track “Rock or Bust.” With the many band member replacements that have taken place over the last few years, it was a quick reminder that this was Angus Young’s show. Young still moves around the stage (with this iconic kicks and one-legged hops) as he moves up and down the runway that stretched half way to the back of the arena with the energy of a teenager. Despite this tour seeing three of the five band members replaced since their last album, the audience got the one thing every long-time fan of AC/DC has come to expect: consistency. Never having been known as a band to evolve, or mature in sound, AC/DC have brought fans a reliable source of punchy, hooky riffs with fun sing-a-long chorus’ album after album. Their live show is every bit as consistent, save for their song selections.
One aspect of the show that was a small departure from past tours was the band’s set list. Not only did they lengthen it to 24 songs (the last tour was only 20), they’ve dug out some old gems from the Bon Scott era such as “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)” and “Riff Raff.”
As they closed out the night in traditional style with their large cannons to fire during “For Those About to Rock,” the fans in my area were very vocal about their appreciation for the spectacle they’d been witness to this night. For some, they saw their first AC/DC show. For many, this was simply the latest incarnation of one of the greats. There can be no doubt, however, that Axl Rise was up to the task. Not only did he nail the vocals he also visibly enjoyed being on stage. Between this tour and the summer’s Guns N’ Roses quasi-reunion outing, it appears we’re witnessing a brand new Axl Rose. I have yet to meet a single person that doesn’t prefer this version. There have been plenty of rumors as to what AC/DC will do next. As long as there is a next, I’ll be happy to come along for the ride.
Text and photos by Charlie Meister
**Disclaimer: The words expressed in photo blog reviews do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Music Connection Magazine.