ACDC – Let There Be Rock at Coachella 2015
AC/DC Sets the Indio Music and Art Venue on Fire!
It has taken me two weeks to write this review. I have no idea how to put into words the nuances of the live show that AC/DC put on at Coachella, weekend one. Moreover, a sense of “I’m not worthy” continues to ring in my head almost as loud as the band’s anthem. There is no way to show a reader or, even with video, a viewer the true magnitude of the stage show and talent at an AC/DC concert. So, here it is, my feeble attempt to convince every reader that, should the opportunity arise, go, see, and experience an AC/DC concert or live your music loving life out unfulfilled!
AC/DC kicked of their “Rock or Bust” World Tour as the headlining act at day one of Coachella, 2015. As the most mind-blowing performance of my concert going career, “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You, 1981)” has been the first thing on my mind when I wake up in the morning every day since. My favorite part of the show was watching the transformation on the faces of the under 25 dance club crowd as they went from skeptical and unenthused to AC/DC enthusiasts; dancing, singing, and screaming for more of one of rock and roll’s greatest legends.
Brian Johnson was in classic form on lead vocals, hitting every note and classic rock stance like a true rock God and Cliff Williams (bass), Chris Slade (drums), and Stevie Young (rhythm guitar) kept pace with AC/DC’s biggest hits from 1977 to 2014. But, the true star of the show was Angus Young on guitar. Angus’ famous style of lead guitar coupled with his ability manipulate every inch of the stage while playing some of the most difficult cords in rock history has not faltered over the years. When the band broke into “Back in Black” (1980) as their third song of a twenty song, two hour set, I knew that this band of 60 year olds were going to blow the minds of everyone in the audience. Another welcome surprise was the set list. AC/DC, in the process of kicking off a world tour to promote their new album, Rock or Bust, 2014, resisted the temptation to spend their stage time pushing the new tunes and, instead, gifted the audience a stellar show with a set list that featured every song you know all of the words to spanning AC/DC’s 38 year career.
The highlight of the show was when Angus Young railed out an amazing extended rendition of “Let There Be Rock” (1977) as he ran from the stage, never missing a chord, and popped up in the middle of the huge crowd on a riser that lifted him on a giant, light infused, confetti spewing stage, into the dark desert sky. It was an amazing bit of showmanship and 80’s style big venue rock show that set the audience into frenzy. As if that wasn’t enough, Angus then ran back to the stage, still playing his guitar, and continued to show his mastery atop the stacked Marshall amps; ending the approximately 15 minute stint by sliding on his knees to the front of the stage. The Coachella scene was rocked, shaken, and not done being captivated. For their encore AC/DC, with legs trailing blood from both of Angus’ knees, proceeded to blow my mind with pyrotechnics during “Highway to Hell” (1979) and cannon fire with their closing song, “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You, 1981). It was a ridiculously wonderful spectacle of showmanship, talent, and true old-school rock and roll enthusiasm, something that the new musicians are lacking a flair for.
In line for the shuttle after the show I saw the same under 25 dance club crowd and I asked a few of them what they thought of AC/DC’s show. The response, every time, an overly enthusiastic, “I am blown away!”
A humbled, Sarah Tonin
13 Stitches Magazine Reviewer