AC/DC

support The Answer + The Floor Is Made Of Lava
author AP date 19/06/09 venue Parken, Copenhagen, DEN

As I wait for a bus at Hellerup Station, shivering in some kind of momentary monsoon rain, I try to comfort myself with the fact that the national stadium, Parken, has a roof that can be slid over should there be need (and there is need right now, listening to the approaching thunder). Well, the roof is on. It's covering the stage, just about, and us premium ticket holders are left rolling our thumbs in the rain as the waiting for the first support act (scheduled for 18:45) drags on and on. When The Floor Is Made Of Lava finally steps on stage, my mind has gone to a dark place and wants to hate everything in its vicinity. There is light at the end of the tunnel though, what with AC/DC playing later and all, but for now I feel it just to be a little bit bitter. Well, let's be honest, I've got fuck all to complain about. I have a front-pit ticket to see one of the most legendary rock bands of all time and I plan to rock out with my cock out!

The Floor Is Made Of Lava

Nothing can redeem my mood, it seems, standing soaking wet in the near-empty left front pit with a watered down beer, not even a sampler of what's to come later. Clearly these Danish youngsters have some experience in playing to larger crowds (they did support Oasis earlier this year after all) but perhaps they bit off more than they could swallow in accepting this prestigious offer to open a concert headlined by a colossus like AC/DC. Their musicianship is top notch as do their songs sound to be, but the band lacks seriously in showmanship. I'm willing to forgive some amounts of it because of nervousness but that doesn't change the fact that, combined with the annoying early evening sun everything about The Floor Is Made Of Lava's show depresses me: their dress, their shameless idolatry and how they appear not be humbled by this opportunity. It's all very unconvincing and I find myself checking my watch more often than is necessary.

4

The Answer

Now, The Answer's worship of rock legends is even more shameless and does little to improve my decaying happiness. The next batch of approaching dark clouds isn't helping either, but at least Cormac Neeson, the band's vocalist, is a far more charismatic character than the singer of The Floor Is Made Of Lava, and the band has a seasoned demeanor: they've been around. Unfortunately this stage is much too enormous for a quartet like this when all they have is their instruments and themselves. It's just not visually captivating, and because the sound quality at Parken is notoriously derelict (and because in this case the volume is ridiculously low, too) the music isn't exactly compensating. I don't want to be too big a bastard though, because obviously this is a band with genuine potential (explained alone by the fact that they are the main support act on this tour) and the show is well-executed and professional. It's just a bit... boring.

6

AC/DC

Oh, the irony. The black clouds, thunder and torrential rain finally give way to clear skies as the mightiest rock band of all time, AC/DC, steps on stage to thunderous applause. That is, after a fantastic, animated introduction, which consists of Brian and Angus battling the devil himself on board the rock n' roll train, culminating in that train smashing through a brick wall and the enormous monitors on stage exploding in half to reveal a full size locomotive behind the band. And when said song begins, the acoustical problems of the previous two sets fade into oblivion: it's simply loud as a motherfucker. So loud, in fact, that rumour has it the concert could be heard some twenty kilometers away (confirmed by our regular reader anoxia in Valby who sent me the text message, "THUNDERSTRUCK?" when that song was played as the seventh in the set).

One would think that guys pushing sixty would settle for simply standing on stage and unleashing classic after classic, because let's face it, that alone is enough to satisfy most fans of this band, but no; this band rolls forward full steam from start to finish with a rigor and stamina that puts our generation to shame. Indeed, the energy on stage is immense. Angus and Brian take turns marching down the lengthy catwalk that divides the front pits, posing for eager photographers and high-fiving even more eager members of the crowd and despite their grey hair and wrinkly faces they ask for little rest between songs. And when Brian isn't hurling his arms around or running across the stage, Angus throws himself around the stage like a spastic teenager, even stripping down to his bare minimums during the sleazy "The Jack" and revealing a pair of AC/DC boxers beneath his green (now absent) school uniform. We love every second of it.

This band's show is about as gimmicky as can be, what with the aforementioned train on stage, not to mention the two pairs of giant, flashing red horns positioned on top of the speaker stacks on either side of the stage, or the giant, embroidered bell that descends from the ceiling during, you guessed it, "Hell's Bells". Were it not for the boyish image of the band, some of this might of course have seemed tacky, but when angus steps into a hoop in the rope hanging from the bell and chimes it with lunacy in his eyes as it rises back up, him with it, you've got to admit: these guys are veterans of entertainment. And every one of the 48,000 souls in the sold out stadium agrees. Imagine the roar, tens of thousands of men and women, old and young, dancing and jumping in unison - very few bands are so engaging, and even fewer are fit to command venues of this magnitude.

Clearly 36 years of career has taught the band a thing or two about show business, because it's impossible to conceive of anything that could have been better. The light show is top notch as is sound quality; there are zero technical difficulties (not even so much as tuning guitars) and thereby zero lengthy breaks in between songs (they just keep going and going, it's absolutely fucking mindblowing, the physical endurance that this band sports); and there's enough humorous gimmicks and stage props to keep things interesting throughout. During "Whole Lotta Rosie", for instance, an enormous, inflatable Rosie appears on top of the locomotive, bobbing her head and tapping her foot against the floor with the beat. And when "Let There Be Rock" finishes the set, real cannons fire blank rounds at the audience, adding to the already deafening volume of the music even more punch.

For fifteen minutes Angus then becomes the centre of attention as he unleashes a gritty guitar solo which culminates in him taking to a platform on a smaller stage set up in the centre of the stadium, which lifts the little man ten meters into the air before an ocean of confetti explodes around him and snows down on the roaring crowd as the band exits. But we all know there's going to be an encore, and what will be in it: "Highway to Hell" and "For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)", the latter of which ends in a stunning display of fireworks and the aforementioned cannons firing at us. A grand conclusion to a grand concert.

With two hours of show and just five songs from the band's latest album "Black Ice", the setlist is the very best of AC/DC and as such there are no complaints to be made in that department (although the consensus seemed to be that the poppy "Anything Goes" could have been left out in favor of yet another hard-rocking classic). You name it, they played it - and they played it loud. Call me a lousy critic if you like, but the tiny cosmetic issues that may have been pointed out by other reviews were to me completely imperceptible. While some reporters were busy nitpicking, I for one was busy rocking out to a show that spells out rock n' fucking roll with its every note; the kind of show that is beyond the reach of most bands today. I was among legends and it was perfect.

10

Setlist:

01. Rock N' Roll Train

02. Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be

03. Back In Black

04. Big Jack

05. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

06. Show Down In Flames

07. Thunderstruck

08. Black Ice

09. The Jack

10. Hell's Bells

11. Shoot To Thrill

12. War Machine

13. Dog Eat Dog Play

14. Anything Goes

15. You Shook Me All Night Long

16. T.N.T.

17. Whole Lotta Rosie

18. Let There Be Rock

--Encore--

19. Highway To Hell

20. For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)

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