Australian idols AC/DC tore the roof off of BC Place last night with two hours of classic hits and zero misses that spanned the band’s epic 40-year career. Roughly 45,000 fans packed the stadium for the group’s Rock Or Bust tour, and thousands more were able to enjoy the show from the balconies of their downtown apartments.
It’s always a raucous party when AC/DC comes to Vancouver, and Monday’s show was their first visit to our city in six long years. I try not to use hokey cliches in my concert recaps, but you could literally feel the excitement in the air starting in the early afternoon as local fans began flooding the downtown area well in advance of the show’s advertised 8:30 p.m. start time.
Every bar was jam-packed with fans in vintage AC/DC t-shirts. Every car that circled BC Place was blasting an AC/DC song. I popped by the venue earlier in the day to do some people watching and the line-up to buy official AC/DC merchandise was in the hundreds. The most popular item? A cheap plastic headband with blinking red devil horns adorned with the group’s iconic logo (I’m still wearing mine as I write this). Also big were the BC Lions-style AC/DC mock jerseys that sold for $150.
So how was the show? Awesome, spectacular, mind-boggling and really, really loud. Rhythm guitarist Stevie Young, bassist Cliff Williams and drummer Chris Slade tore through anthems like “Back In Black” and “Thunderstruck” with a fiery gusto of guys half their age. But all eyes, including some of the security guards, were on singer Brian Johnson and lead guitarist Angus Young.
The duo were in rare form and sounded just as good live as they do on any of their classic albums. Especially great was “Let There Be Rock” from 1977’s album of the same name that included a guitar solo from Angus that lasted a good ten minutes.
Pyrotechnics and props helped fill the stage as well – the band performed “Hells Bells” as a giant bell sporting an AC/DC logo swung above them, and a giant, scantily-clad inflatable doll joined the guys for “Whole Lotta Rosie”.
The Rock & Roll Hall of Famers closed the show with “Highway To Hell” and “For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)” while the rabid crowd screamed and banged their heads accordingly. After a few more blasts from the enormous metal cannons on stage, the show was over and the band managed to crush the impossibly high expectations of every fan leaving the stadium.
Have a drink on us, guys – you’ve earned it.