Exactly one week ago tonight, I was standing at the barricade that runs across the front of the stage while AC/DC were causing noise complaints in the Windy City! And according to the Cubs manager, also screwing up the in field. Starting their show at 8pm sharp, the band launched into “Rock or Bust,” and brought over 41,000 screaming fans to their feet, where they stayed for the 20 song, two hour show.
Seeing them four times on the Black Ice tour, I waited a long time for them to make their way to Chicago, and of course the wait was worth it. Even though Stevie Young is playing for his uncle Malcolm, and Chris Slade is playing drums in place of Phil Rudd, the band still brought the thunder from down under. Especially Angus, dressed in a bright red school boy uniform, who seemed to have the energy of a sixteen year old!
Lacing the song list with 3 new tracks from their latest album, Rock or Bust, the band covered some of my favorites, including “High Voltage,” “Have a Drink On Me,” and “Sin City.” The entire set included-
“Rock or Bust”
“Shoot to Thrill”
“Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be”
“Back in Black”
“Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”
“Rock N’ Roll Train”
“Baptism by Fire”
“You Shook Me All Night Long”
“Shot Down in Flames”
“Have a Drink on Me”
“Whole Lotta Rosie”
“Let There Be Rock”
“Highway to Hell”
“For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) ”
Of course “Hells Bells,” “You Shook Me,” and “Thunderstruck” got some of the biggest reactions from the crowd. The band was in top form, and were also shooting a DVD, which included a couple of large cameras that kept swinging down through the crowd. During “Let There Be Rock,” Angus made his way out onto the catwalk, and by the time the confetti was flying, he was rolling around on his back, never missing a note.
Brian, Cliff, Stevie and Chris did an incredible job keeping up with Angus. It is amazing what he is able to do, and I could definitely feel Malcolm’s spirit up there with him. I can’t imagine how hard it has been for him to tour without his older brother. The man who started the band, talked him into playing lead, and has written songs with him for 40 years.
Thanks to Angus and their incredible kindness, my friends and I were given tickets and passes to the hospitality section. There hasn’t been any meet and greets after the show on this tour, so once the fireworks were over, it was hard to say goodbye.
Luckily the next day their tour manager, Tim, gave me permission to drop copies of my new book at their hotel. We found our way to the hotel, and went in to enjoy a drink and sign some books. While I was working on that, Tim was texting me to let me know that he and Angus were out. All of a sudden Brian Johnson walked in with four of his friends and settled in the lounge. I never like to interrupt someone when they are entertaining guests, but I broke my own rules and went in to hand him a copy of my book.
Once he realized who I was, he gave me a big kiss and a hug. Then he paged through the book and had fun pointing out pictures to his friends. He told me that he was going to read it and “learn things about the band even I don’t know!” Although he was busy, he was still very gracious and after another hug and kiss, I gave him his privacy.
After all the books were signed, and we were getting ready to hit the road, I sent Tim a text thanking him for everything. To my sheer delight, he texted back to hold on for a bit and Angus would stop in for a quick hello. Within 15 minutes, Tim and Angus came walking in the door, and it was such a treat to see him again. The last visit we had was in Chicago in August of 2009. We’ve always had the ability to talk like we just saw each other, and this time was no different.
I told him what an incredible job they did at Wrigley Field, and that his solo in “Let There Be Rock,” brought tears to my eyes. Always joking, he replied, “It brought tears to mine, too.” Sticking around for at least a half an hour, he met my girlfriends, asked about my son Jamey, (whom he met in 2008), and wished him good luck in film school.
It was obvious that he cut his shopping trip short to make sure he got to say hello before we left. We walked outside to take a couple of pictures, and before Tim took a shot of just the two of us, I looked at him and said, “We’ve known each other for 38 years, and I think we still look fabulous!” That made him laugh, and then I reminded him to remember me when he decides to write his own book.
My girlfriend Tamara added that I am faithful and have stuck by the band for 38 years, and that they can’t get rid of me. We all laughed about that, and Angus quipped, “Hopefully that won’t change.” I assured him it never will. I can honestly say except for my son, Angus has been the only man in my life that has never let me down. Not once. And I think I can speak for millions of fans out there that feel the same way. AC/DC will always be AC/DC, and we can all thank Malcolm Young for that.
Malcolm’s legacy and their music will be around long after we are all gone. And isn’t that a comforting thought? Your great grandkids will be rockin’ to AC/DC, and we were the lucky ones who got to see them live when they were the greatest rock and roll band in the world. For those about to rock…FIRE!