It took AC/DC five years to hit the European continent again. But when they finally did yesterday at Arnhem's opening gig, they came in with a blast! On a day that started as a Stormy May day with rain for those who waited patiently outside as from 9 o' clock in the morning, the band made sure not to miss this first appointment of the European leg of the Rock or Bust tour. Place of this rendez-vous: Gelredome, just across the street from the legendary Rijnhal, known from the broadcasted 13 July 1979 show of the Highway to Hell tour. The Hall still exists, but hosts now christian gatherings, a real twist of faith .... Also, nearly in Angus' backyard, as he lives not even an hour away from this venue.
Rijnhal - Arnhem Gelredome - Arnhem
To the point: AC/DC will always be AC/DC, things hardly change, part of their huge success. You know that. Let's rather focus on what was different this time! Spoiler alert: if you don't want to know, please don't read any further! :o)
1. Stevie on rhythm guitar
Could you ever imagine AC/DC without Malcolm Young ? No. Can nephew Stevie Young take his place live (we know he did great on the album) and fill the gap? Yes, absolutely!! Cautiously observing the rest of the band in full concentration in the beginning, Stevie got really comfortable, displaying a big grin on his face as the set evolved. Malcolm can be happy with a family replacement like Stevie. Tough the crowd did not forget about Malcolm. On social networks, the message spread quickly to shout 'Malcolm's name during the first chords of Whole Lotta Rosie. Let's say half of the crowd at the Gelredome is on Facebook, so it was a nice mixture of both 'Angus' and 'Malcolm' shoutings at the same time. A great sign of beautiful brotherhood.
2. Chris Slade on drums
Ex AC/DC-legionair Chris Slade fills in again for Phil Rudd and is now the elder member of the band. Not that you notice. It felt like he never left the band. Chris paid honor to his powerhouse drum battery reputation and hit the skins on his brand new drum kit as if it was the last night on earth. Where are the critics now with their unfair and disrespectful comments about a 'hi hat thing' and 'techno' (???) drumming?? All of it was 200% compatible with AC/DC's reknown sound experience and it is a genuine celebration to expose your ears and eyes to his endless energy level. And face it: Chris saved AC/DC's 40th anniversary bash from being cancelled or postponed!
3. Setlist: The Jack, or not?!
On Sunday 3 May, we could hear the band rehearse the entire set as well as Dog Eat Dog, which will most likely be the replacement song for locations where the bands plays two shows (Paris, Munich, Zurich, Madrid, ...). But The Jack is not (yet) part of the set. The (not so great) weather for this 'Summer Tour' could explain why Angus didn't strip. Anyhow, the omission of a striptease made that Angus played the entire concert in (oversized) shirt until the very end. But....who knows....: a playlist that I obtained after the show mentions The Jack as an 'Extra' song amongst others. I guess the future will tell when exactly that card gets finally pulled!
4. The stage
Great opening scene: Apollo 13 style with AC/DC astronauts and a huge rock heading for planet Earth....or something like that. For the scene itself, not much excitement, but maybe this was a smaller scene for the smaller indoor shows. Can't remember any having seen any animation videos like during Black Ice (War Machine), but as I stood close to the stage, it was quite difficult to watch the enormous screens side of stage. Remarkeable was the extremely high stage and very short catwalk, only accessed towards the end of the show. Personally I didn't mind, as it probably saved Angus and Brian some much needed oxygen!
Well, so far for the things I recall. Up to the next show for more....