The 80’s metal classic rock tour continued for me and my 16 year old son with AC/DC in Tacoma, Washington on February 2, 2016.
This was the opening U.S. date on the “Rock or Bust Tour” and with their last show December 15th in New Zealand, you would think the band would be well-rested and loaded with energy for their first performance in the new world. And indeed they were, with the now 60-year-old Angus Young, playing guitar and running around the stage like it was still 1980 and 68-year-old lead singer Brian Johnson giving it his all and sounding as strong as ever.
This show was LOUD and of course, I forgot my ear plugs. By comparison, Motley Crue was fairly low volume last December in Portland. I explained to my son that this was how it was in the 80’s… most of us would go home with our ears ringing. That’s tougher to do when you’re pushing 50, but for one night, it was worth it and we loved every minute of it. After opening with ‘Rock or Bust,’ ‘Shoot to Thrill’ and ‘Hell Ain’t A Band Place To Be,’ AC/DC launched into ‘Back In Black,’ ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,’ an absolutely killer version of ‘Thunderstruck’ and ‘High Voltage.’
An onslaught of classics followed, including ‘Hells Bells,’ and ‘Given The Dog A Bone,’ which was the first time AC/DC has played that song live since the “Back In Black” tour in 1980… pretty cool.
‘Sin City’ was on the setlist and the smash ‘You Shook Me All Night Long.’ Then the lads from down under played my favorites back-to-back, ‘Shot Down In Flames’ and ‘Have A Drink On Me.’ I have mixed feelings about hearing the new singer perform the old singer’s songs (ie, I wasn’t that interested in hearing DIO singing Ozzy’s early Black Sabbath stuff) and I have always felt that way about Brian Johnson singing Bon Scott’s songs, but on this go around, he was really great, especially on ‘Shot Down In Flames,’ ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ and crowd favorite ‘T-N-T.’
AC/DC isn’t AC/DC without guitar god Angus Young and he delivered a blistering solo that was longer than most the band’s songs, but totally engrossing watching the master at work. His energy was unbelievable and seeing him spin around while laying on his back on the stage like he has always done, I couldn’t imagine this tour being his last (if that should turn out to be the case)… Angus still has so much to give.
After an 18 song set, AC/DC returned for encores ‘Highway To Hell’ and ‘For Those About To Rock,’ an epic end to a memorable night for my son and me.
The 2016 NAMM show took place over the weekend of January 21st thru the 24th, 2016 at the Anaheim Convention Center. NAMM is the trade show for music and instruments and it is not open to the general public. Every year NAMM attracts musicians, buyers, celebrities and media from all over the world to see new musical instruments and trade. This year METAL SHOP was invited to attend two days of the convention
On Friday, the show seemed more subdued and quiet than in the past years. I remember our second year at NAMM several years ago, the Friday crowd was huge and every line we waited in for a meet and greet seemed to take forever. That was not the case this year as I noticed a small line waiting for a meet and greet with Iron Maiden Drummer Nicko McBrain at the Sonor drum booth. Fans of Maiden and Nicko were very happy the lines were small and they had time to go do other meet and greets.
Other musicians spotted on Friday were John 5 (Rob Zombie), Rex Brown (Pantera), Chris Broderick (Ex-Megadeth and now with Act of Defiance), and Phil Anselmo (former Pantera), who seemed to greet everyone with a big smile and took photos with all his fans.
On Saturday the show was more alive and jumping. Arriving after 3pm, I was able to catch the final Meet and Greet with Mötley Crüe Bassist Nikki Sixx at Black Star Amps, where he was actually representing with his other band SIXX AM.
Other musicians spotted on Saturday included Rudy Sarzo (former Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne), Guitar virtuoso Yngwie Malmsteen, Doyle Von Frankenstein (Misfits) and Vic Rattlehead (Megadeth Mascot). It was great to see manufacturers like Ernie Ball Guitar Strings, Sonor Drums who has recently endorsed Nicko McBrian and his new drum set, and Marshall Amps, who every year have the biggest wall of amps.
If you are interested in attending the NAMM show next year, log on to NAMM.com and learn how to become a member and support live music in schools and in local music venues… Hope to see you all at NAMM 2017. -Ralph