Vassil Lefski Stadium, Sofia, Bulgaria
Noone can understand how difficult, awkward and out of logic and thoughts is to sometimes be in the position of someone that has to describe something that will always seem like a dream. Especially when it comes to things that if not all, then most people of a certain category would like to have witnessed even once before they pass away. Such is the case of being able, lucky and fortunate to see AC/DC live. A band whose history, offer and influence on the music of the world in general, not only I can’t state, but also each effort would fall into an unreachable gap. Let’s have a look on what happened, just in case we might finally believe it was all real.
First of all, this stadium right in the centre on the capital of Bulgaria is a great place to hold such gigs. Being the third time to visit it, I strongly recommend you all to see Sonisphere Festival in the two days it takes place, once you have the opportunity to do this. One of the best football stadiums around Europe, that can host about 45.000 people, while there must have been more than 50.000 people counting also the fact that the arena inside was full and not even a needle could fall on the ground. Excellent organisation before and after the show, where all people left very fast as soon as the show was over.
AC/DC entered the stage at 21:10 sharp, with the video walls playing a theme where the band was in a train out of control, and as it was over, the first sounds of ”Rock ‘n’ Roll Train” changed music history in the neighbour country forever. The sound is excellent, the band is in shape and great mood and ”Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be” is the next to hit the road, shortly before ”Back In Black” causes the first screams that tear the air. Brian Johnson sounds so confident, and just can’t hide his smiles and happiness about what he sees. ”Big Jack” from the new album ”Black Ice” is the next one, before Brian says it’s time for some ”Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” and once again we have screams and expressions around me show clearly that thousands of souls live inside a dream they don’t want to end.
”Shot Down In Flames” was one of the songs I was dying to listen to, a great groovy track that is not affected no matter how many years have passed, and soon after that, a familiar riff echoes like redemption. It is ”Thunderstruck”, being one of the first AC/DC songs many people ever listened. Suddenly time seems to have travelled back to where we all were kids and started realising the width and awe of their name. The title track of the new album ”Black Ice” brings us a while back to reality, in which we can see the band performing the new material about ten times better than in the studio release, proving it was a really good album.
The most characteristic part of the gig was when the riff of ”The Jack” was in front of us, while Brian singing ”She’s got the Jack” and the video walls showing pretty girls knocking around, hanging on people’s shoulders. And next was the best AC/DC song ever to be written in my humble opinion, and one of the reasons I’m still listening to rock and metal music: Brian starts running and rings the bell that has already been in front of the stage: ”Hells Bells” and if the sound of hell is like that, I bet my ass noone will ever want to go to heaven. Shocked and stunned, all people burst to tears, screams, they embrace people unknown to them and the show goes on without any hesitation.
”Shoot To Thrill” was the best that could happen after that, with its great rhythm. Some things get better while years pass by, it feels just like yesterday when we first had our smiles while getting to know this colossus. ”War Machine” is easily one of the best tracks of the new album, so it easily found its place on the setlist, followed by one of the oldest ones, ”High Voltage”, a great surprise for sure, but not less than the feeling of ”You Shook Me All Night Long” had to offer, with people starting dancing, kissing each other, and the party getting on its hottest part of the night.
After all, we’re all dynamites, feeling like ”TNT”, with the whole stadium ready to explode and get orbit around the planet. And as soon as we see the big ballon of Rosie taking shape, the hard rock itself is represented by ”Whole Lotta Rosie” and in the end follows a nearly 20 minute version of ”Let There Be Rock”. Angus Young totally out of control, playing like there is no tomorrow, with some great jams and solos, playing on the floor(!!!), on his knees (!!!) and wherever he could. I am sure Bon Scott was somewhere out there watching, smiling and drinking some heaven custom made bourbon, cheering us all for being there watching this relentless orgasm.
Of course, there was an encore with ”Highway To Hell” sending us in and out of ourselves and last but not least was the legendary track that ends each AC/DC concert from the moment it was released. Complaints? Yes: ”It’s A Long Way To The Top”, ”Touch Too Much” and ”Fire Your Guns” were really missing but after all, they played 2 hours of pure sweat, delivering the goods of rock ‘n’ roll and showing us all that no matter the age, it’s what you have inside you that makes you feel good. Blessed be the ones who were there or have seen them live before. Last but not least, just in case you thought I forgot: ”For Those About To Rock We Salute You” !
Aggelos “Redneck” Katsouras.