So we may as well get straight to the point. The only question anyone wants to know. Was Axl any good? The answer is simple, he and AC/DC were absolutely brilliant from start to finish. For some of you this is all you want to know for those further interested, read on.
There has been more written about AC/DC, Brian Johnson and the whole saga in the last few months than every other band. Everyone appears to have an opinion. There the camp that think AC/DC is only AC/DC with Brian, those who simply can’t forgive Axl for his previous poor behaviour heading up Guns and Roses and then those; like myself who think if you are going to have someone else head your band for some gigs than Axl Rose is a worthy replacement. What has confused me and many others is why AC/DC have not been clearer about the whole situation, at the very least it has put Axl on the back foot due to the rumours and speculation surrounding the tour.
The vibe outside the Eithad and leading up to the gig was great. Support band Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown played to a pretty large crowd, everyone was in early and happy to support them. The band themselves gave it everything and Tyler Bryant was running around and using the most of the space of a larger stage. He’s also a pretty useful lead guitar player and I’d definitely be interested in seeing them more. I was pretty impressed how he managed to invoice the crowd and really make an impression in their support slot.
AC/DC themselves appeared at 8.30pm on the dot , to their usual fireworks and entrance video. On comes Axl and the crowd almost seemed to be holding its breathe. It took no more than 30 seconds to win the crowd over. It was apparent from the moment that he set foot on the stage, that he was thrilled to be there, was honoured to be stepping into Brian’s shoes for however long and that he was humbled by that honour.
The set, as you may have already heard by now was littered with a lot of AC/DC’s older catalogue with the like of “Riff Raff” even getting a hearing. Many would agree that Axl’s voice is more suited to Bon Scott’s than Brian’s and this may be one reason, the other may be that without Brian perhaps the band felt that they could revisit some of the older catalogue. And what a set it was too. 23 songs were played in all, in a set lasting almost 2 and half hours.
So what really made the gig for me. AC/DC and Angus. Let’s face this is a show band, it always has been. Angus is demon on guitar, on stage. He’s the ultimate showman and AC/DC shows have always been about him. The back catalogue is huge and fantastic – how could they fail?
Well. What about Axl? Just unbelievable in this role. Everyone I talked to agree the reason he was great was a combination of 100% effort and attitude and the fact he respected it was AC/DC not Axls show, He was a fantastic frontman but it no way tried to steal the limelight. Instead, you had the old Axl. Loving where he was and what he was doing. His leg may have been in a cast but it did not stop him for a minute. He never once stood still, he was running, dancing, swirling around the stage, up the ramp. Yet, still he did not steal the show he was part of the show. It became Axl and Angus in a good way. The highest compliment I can pay him is that about half way through the set I forgot it was Axl – it was just us and AC/DC having a good time.
Whatever, happens next in AC/DC’s career I for one am happy that I was there on a muggy Manchester summer night to see what can happen when given the chance.
- Rock Or Bust
- Shoot To Thrill
- Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be
- Back In Black
- Get Some Rock and Roll Thunder
- Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
- Rock ‘n’ Roll Damnation
- High Voltage
- Rock ‘n’ Roll Train
- Hell Bells
- Give the dog a Bone
- If you want Blood (you’ve got it)
- Sin City
- You Shook Me All Night Long
- Shoot Down In Flames
- Have a Drink On Me
- Whole Lotta Rosie
- Let There Be Rock
- Highway to Hell
- Riff Raff
- For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)