Live Review: AC/DC, Wembley Stadium (04/07/15)

Only one performance in England, at London’s Wembley Stadium. The 72,500 tickets available sold out in less than 60 minutes. These facts emphasise the formidable reputation that AC/DC have built over their forty-two years as a group, and the dedication of their many, many fans, all of whom were out in force and ready to rock.

Despite the controversies facing the band recently – the accusations surrounding their former drummer Phil Rudd and the sad retirement of core member Malcolm Young due to his diagnosis with dementia – AC/DC were determined to continue making music.

Hence the release of Rock or Bust, and a subsequent 2015 world tour, for which tickets sold like gold dust. And dedicated their fan base was: flashing devil horns were being sported by practically everyone and AC/DC shirts were everywhere, as was the odd Angus Young lookalike, with people dressed in his trademark schoolboy outfit. The concert had attracted old and young, from all over the world, and the merchandise was so popular many items immediately sold out. With such anticipation for the show to come, the atmosphere was electric.

It was undoubtedly the old classics that sent the crowd truly wild, and made up the majority of the set

And the wait was certainly worthwhile. Opening with title track, ‘Rock or Bust’, AC/DC produced a once-in-a-lifetime show on possibly their last-ever tour, complete with a giant inflatable doll, huge bell and an opening animation which created a spine-tingling moment of anticipation for all in the audience. The grating vocals of a gyrating Brian Johnson, combined with ear-splitting guitar and drums, had everyone on their feet and headbanging immediately. Whilst the new tracks did get a look in – including ‘Rock or Bust’, ‘Play Ball’ and ‘Baptism by Fire’ – it was undoubtedly the old classics that sent the crowd truly wild, and made up the majority of the set.

A flawless ‘Back in Black’, ‘Thunderstruck’ and ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ were sure-fire stand outs. Stalwart Cliff Williams, Rudd’s replacement Chris Slade and the Young brothers’ nephew Stevie Young on rhythm guitar, were fantastic, but remained very much out of the spotlight, which was taken by Angus Young on lead guitar.

Despite now being sixty years old (the youngest band member is Stevie at 58!), Angus can still work the crowd and play the guitar with the greatest skill. Performing his favourite ‘duck-walk’, dropping to the floor and running around the stage like a madman in various states of undress, Angus still managed to perform a ten-minute solo on ‘Let There Be Rock’, upon which the rest of the band simply left the stage, as the audience went wild.

The encore came in the form of classic crowd-pleasers ‘Highway to Hell’ complete with pyrotechnics, and ‘For Those About To Rock’, where cannons and confetti were fired over the heads of the crowd, leading to an immense standing ovation and a feeling of elation at experiencing these titans of rock live.

Amy Wilcockson

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