As the Juggernaut that is the AC/DC Rock or Bust tour rolls into Dublin it can only mean
one, two, four things; bells, cannons, inflatable dolls and rock hard riffery. On one of the finest evenings of the year the faithful make their way to the Aviva Stadium in anticipation of what is surely a highlight of the rock calendar.
It’s been an interesting and no doubt turbulent few years for AC/DC; one which saw the retirement of Malcolm Young due to the onset of serious illness, years of hard living having finally and sadly caught up with him. More bizarrely, ex-drummer Phil Rudd found himself in front of the beak in New Zealand for apparently, eh, being too hardcore, let’s say. The most serious charge against him having since been dropped, the ongoing legal issues have meant that AC/DC are touring with their drummer from the early ’90s, Chris Slade, with the Young brothers’ nephew Stevie Young replacing Malcolm and long-time bassist Cliff Williams completing the line-up.
But while Malcolm, described as the businessman of the band and the main riff-writer once held sway at the backline, front of house has nearly always been about Angus Young and Brian Johnson. Exploding onto the stage in front of a line of Marshall stacks, Angus, still in his school uniform and Johnson, still with a voice like a disused quarry, open with an ecstatically received performance of the title track of last year’s album Rock Or Bust.
From here on it’s a selection of mainly classics with some newer songs thrown in for good measure. The seminal ‘Back in Black’ comes early in the set. Thirty minutes and 6 songs in the band hit their stride with ‘Thunderstruck’ and fully settle into delivering a rock master-class. They can do no wrong as they pump out undeniable classic after classic, ‘High Voltage’, ‘Hells Bells’ accompanied, as always, by a huge bell hanging from the stage roof. It’s notable that on this occasion Johnson declined to swing from the bell, perhaps in deference to his 67 years. Angus delivers a somewhat shortened but still blistering face-melter on ‘Let There Be Rock, although thankfully he’s dropped the striptease from the act. The band bow out for the evening with ‘For Those About To Rock’, complete with cannons firing. If this is to be their final performance, they’ve gone out with an unholy bang.
AC/DC and Vintage Trouble photographed by Paulo Nuno.