The crowd of 14,000 is willing it to happen but in reality nobody wants to see Angus Young’s arse. The hope is there’ll be pyrotechnics when he finally bends over and drops his shorts. There would have been little surprise if a roman candle had shot out and light up the pristine O2. In truth, the gleaming stage seemed oddly un-rock and roll compared to the grizzly band playing on top of it.
Such is the affection/adoration that the wirey guitarist is held in, we all live with (maybe even love) his exhibitionist streak because we are witnessing what many of us (old and young) in the room thought impossible – AC/DC in the raw. And when Angus finally drops the shorts, he is of course wearing immaculately branded AC/DC underwear. Along with the 3D back catalogue that appears during ‘Let There Be Rock’, it’s another example of the power of the brand of AC/DC. The main reason the band and that brand have weathered the decades is purely because they are so fucking good. It’s only a short leap to proclaim them as the very best band on the planet.
It’s tempting to say that the most mind blowing thing about AC/DC is the lack of tricks. Angus barely changes guitars at all, perhaps only during said striptease, Malcom hardly moves, Brian, well he just does the classic prowling and growling required of him. Then of course you remember that there’s an immaculate rock and roll train engine crashed through the back of the stage, the giant bell for Brian Johnson to bravely swing out of (although as the bell drops and leaves in about a minute, that’s a long way to bring a bell for 30 seconds swinging). There are canons, there’s Rosie, all utterly predictable, yet perhaps all the best things any of us will ever see on a Dublin stage.
Even the tracks from Black Ice are pretty fantastic, holding their own in the set, while the opening ‘Rock And Roll Train’ is already a classic. Of course though it’s the visceral songs that have soundtracked so many lives that blow the roof off. They roar, riff and rip through ‘Back In Black’, ‘Dirty Deeds’, ‘Shot Down In Flames’ and ‘Thunderstruck’ and it seems almost unreal, how they manage to seamlessly integrate new material into such a perfect greatest hits set. Rosie seems bigger and bustier than ever as she taps her rather large foot astride the train after a stunning brace of ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ and ‘TNT’. ‘Let There Be Rock’ closes the set, and as Angus reappeares through the floor for ‘Highway To Hell’ and the canons blast during ‘For Those About To Rock’, we knew we have just seen the best and most loved band on the planet. Words can’t adequately describe the privilege.
Photos below by Andy Sheridan, All rights reserved.