As one of the most enduring heavy bands in history, it was far from a shock to find AC/DC selling out Wrigley Field at the initial onsale of its “Rock Or Bust” World Tour. Although Tuesday’s Chicago concert consisted of a reconstructed line-up from the last time through town, founding guitarist Angus Young, longtime singer Brian Johnson, veteran bassist Cliff Williams, rhythm guitarist Stevie Young (stepping in for his ailing uncle Malcolm) and drummer Chris Slade (returning after Phil Rudd’s recent legal woes), once again rose beyond personnel problems to deliver a balls to the wall set that doubled as an unforgettable last stand of summer.
That meant loads of stadium sized sing-a-longs (sure to light up the DVD-to-be) throughout monster rockers such as “You Shook Me All Night Long,” “T.N.T” and “Whole Lotta Rosie,” all carried by Johnson’s gravelly vocals, commanding presence and jovial interplay with longtime partner Angus Young.
The two hour trip on a devil-horned stage straight out of hell began with the tour’s bombastic namesake, which considering the group is always fine turning its no nonsense formula, fit right in alongside the classics “Shoot To Thrill,” “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” and “Back In Black.” “Play Ball” was particularly appropriate on the Chicago Cubs’ home turf, but outside of the aforementioned and fellow current cut “Baptism By Fire” (that title says it all), the 20 song night was stocked mightily with tunes from the prior four decades.
That meant loads of stadium sized sing-a-longs (sure to light up the DVD-to-be) throughout monster rockers such as “You Shook Me All Night Long,” “T.N.T” and “Whole Lotta Rosie,” all carried by Johnson’s gravelly vocals, commanding presence and jovial interplay with longtime partner Angus Young. In fact, that indestructible original was just as much of a presence between his muscular six-string slaughters and playing off his perpetual schoolboy persona, especially when he took the finale “Let There Be Rock” exponentially beyond eleven on a hydraulic lift capable of putting all of Spinal Tap’s combined stunts to shame.
The guys kept the “Highway To Hell” (naturally adorned with actual flames) and “For Those About to Rock We Salute You” (insert cannon blasts here) going well into the encore, yet again reinforcing their elder statesman status with unyielding aggression. But unlike some old-timers best relegated to the retro stations, AC/DC’s music is still very much alive and able to connect with both lifers and an entirely new generation of fans who can now say they caught one of hard rock’s ultimate engineers in essentially flawless action.