An Hour With AC/DC
A pacer by nature, Rocks Off is already so excited about Sunday's AC/DC show he can hardly sit down long enough to type a complete sentence. So imagine how difficult it was to sit at the keyboard while listening to a solid hour of Sirius/XM's "AC/DC Radio" channel. Or don't, actually, because there's no way he's sitting down for a second when the Aussies' rock and roll train pulls into Toyota Center Sunday night. Anchors aweigh!
3:09 p.m.: The very end of "T.N.T.," Angus Young shredding away. This is gonna be fun.
3:10 p.m.: "Shake Your Foundations": From 1985's Fly on the Wall, more or less the midpoint between T. Rex and the Cult. The main idea of this song seems to be that the band plans to do some serious demolition. Hope Toyota Center called some structural engineers in this week. Oh, wait, you mean it's not about building safety?
"She had the sugar and I had the wine/ Took my hand, shook me to the core/ I told her not to touch, but she was coming back for more/ You know what for." Rocks Off thinks he knows. These guys are poets.
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3:14 p.m.: "Highway to Hell": Rocks Off has a sneaking suspicion the taunting opening riff - one of the simplest, and best, in '70s hard rock - may be the first three notes we hear Sunday night. Call it a hunch.
3:16 p.m.: Angus' "Highway to Hell" solo. Brief but badass.
3:18 p.m.: "Whole Lotta Rosie": Speaking of opening riffs... you could say this one's got it all. Blues in overdrive, steered by Bon Scott's leering appreciation of a certain zaftig lady. Whoever Rosie was, she must've given it to him good - maybe almost as good as the guitars' call-and-response at the bridge.
At the end, Angus just does. Not. Quit. Better-than-average chance of showing up in Sunday's setlist.
3:23 p.m.: "Hard as a Rock": The single from Ballbreaker, an album with a much better title than anything else except perhaps this song. Still, it has a special place in Rocks Off's heart - the Ballbreaker tour was his first and only time to see AC/DC live, at Austin's Frank Erwin Center in 1996, a show that to this day remains in his Top 10 (maybe Top 5) all-time. And how can you not love Brian Johnson bellowing "I'm hard as a rock" as the band behind him proves it?
3:28 p.m.: "The Jack": Going all the way back for some venereal High Voltage blues. The band did this in '96, stretching it out for a good ten minutes.
Amid some of the best asides in AC/DC history ("...and who knows what else?"), Bon Scott sounds so smug that whoever this woman was must have been worth the cost of his Penicillin prescription; even when he wonders, "But how was I to know she'd been shuffled before?" he doesn't exactly sound sorry about it. Meanwhile, Angus' Muddy Waters lessons are already paying off.
3:34 p.m.: "Back in Business": Another one from Fly on the Wall, otherwise known as AC/DC's prime autopilot period. For some reason, Brian Johnson sounds a lot like Alice Cooper. Lord only knows how long it took him to come up with lyrics like "I'm a wreckin' ball, I'm a stinging knife/ Steal your money, gonna take your life." Still, Angus doesn't disappoint... he hardly ever does.
3:38 p.m.: "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution" Wonderfully protracted middle-finger to the music-business bean-counters - AC/DC's finest - closes Back in Black with a bang.
The riff practically drips bared-teeth saliva, and the chorus is so uplifting Rocks Off is considering having the title inscribed on his tombstone. Rock and roll - or, as Johnson sings, "rah-ah-ah-ck and roll" - is, after all, just rock and roll.
3:43 p.m.: "Soul Stripper": Funky opening for an AC/DC song. Don't recognize this one; wonder what it's about? (It's from the original 1975 Australian version of High Voltage, left off the American release.) Shall we consult the lyrics as Angus tickles the upper reaches of his fretboard?
Bon Scott starts out in the Garden of Eden - always a good sign - and sure enough, by the end, he's been betrayed: "And when she had me hollow and naked/ That's when she put me down/ Pulled out a knife and flashed it before me/ Stuck it in and turned it around." Poor Bon.
3:49 p.m.: "For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)": Oh yes we do. Can't wait for the cannons!
3:55 p.m.: "Rockin' All the Way": Finally something from the new album, Black Ice. Standard metal-tipped boogie (though Angus sounds a little more Chuck Berry-like than usual), as Brian plays relationship counselor: "Come on here me out and take my advice/ She won't stop until you're in her sights."
3:58 p.m.: "High Voltage": The Prototypical AC/DC Riff/Solo/Stomp, there from the very beginning. It's not just "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock and Roll)" where the Young Brothers figured out how to make its guitars sound like bagpipes. Scotland forever!
4:02 p.m.: "Go Down": Blowjob blues from Let There Be Rock: "Don't stop drinking whiskey baby, since you been gone/ Ain't no one I know do it as good as you/ Licking on that licking stick the way you do." Stay classy, Bon Scott!
4:08 p.m.: "Heat Seeker (Live)": And... time! See y'all at the show! - Chris Gray
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