Rock legends AC DC are not new to the touring circuit, meaning they know a thing or two about how to put on a show and what people want to see with a recipe for success that is tried and true. They held firm to that formula in front of a delighted sold out crowd at Scottrade Center for their show on Saturday night in downtown Saint Louis.
With a staple of songs that cross generations and genres like “You Shook Me All Night Long” and “Back in Black” and “Thunderstruck” (I could go on and on but I would just be regurgitating the setlist, which is at the end of this article) the band knows what fans want to hear. If you have a pulse you have heard, and probably liked, at least a couple of their songs.
The songs, themselves are anthems that people love to sing along to. Why do you think so many artists (rock, country, pop etc) cover an AC DC song during their live shows? It’s the reaction they get from it, the crowd approval, the sing alongs, the air guitars, the dancing, the excitement.
So image that for a full two hour show in an arena filled with adoring fans, many of whom are wearing blinking red devil horns and just having a blast. Throw in some explosions, a giant inflatable Rosie caricature, and enough lights to light up a small city with a high-octane band running around on a stage shaped like a guitar and you have the formula for mega-success.
For the show AC DC (vocalist Brian Johnson, guitarist Angus Young, rhythm guitarist Stevie Young, bassist Cliff Williams and drummer Chris Slade) delivered on every aspect. While Young and Johnson were running around on every square inch of the stage the band’s rhythm section remained out of the spotlight for the most part. Stevie Young and Williams only stepped forward out of the shadows long enough to provide backing vocals to several songs. But they were rock solid, holding down the base of the songs while Young and Johnson provided the energy.
For Young, running up and down the neck of the guitar shaped stage like working the frets on his guitar amplified his boyish energy. Sure, his jumps aren’t as high and he is a bit slower, but at age 60 he is more energetic that I am at 15 years his junior.
Young still works the axe like it’s nobody’s business, highlighted by a nearly 20 minute guitar solo during “Let There Be Rock” that outshines most of his peers. He hit every part of the stage, from a lifted b-stage at the end of the neck (complete with confetti canon) to the riser above the amp wall behind the drummer Young made sure he the fans got their money’s worth.
For the crowd, who worship Angus and hang on his every note they were enthralled with the classic unforgettable riffs that resonated through each song. During his solo Angus was comfortable in his church, performing from his alter high above the crowd preaching with his axe and leaving them in awe.
Johnson also was equally adept to working the crowd, running around leading the crowd with the raspy growl that is a signature for the band.
For a full two hours the band cruised through an impressive set that featured a few tracks from their most recent CD Rock or Bust, but for the most part they stayed to the formula that they have mastered over the course of four decades. Sure, they threw in their staples like six canon firing off thunderous shots to close the show, a large AC DC adorned bell that swung above the stage and even Angus wearing devil horns during “Highway to Hell”.
These may seem like gimmicks to some, but for AC DC fans they wouldn’t have it any other way. As for the band itself, if the recipe ain’t broke don’t “fix” it.
AC DC Setlist
Rock or Bust
Shoot to Thrill
Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be
Back in Black
Got Some Rock & Roll Thunder
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
Rock & Roll Train
Given the Dog a Bone
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)