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Review: AC/DC delivers a poignant lesson on the power of rock 'n' roll

Review: AC/DC delivers a poignant lesson on the power of rock ‘n’ roll
Perpetual motion … Angus Young of AC/DC. Photograph: Michal Augustini/Rex/Shutterstock

Who would have thought that the band known for its guitarist in a schoolboy uniform would face such profound changes with age? AC/DC, a rock institution, now counts only two core members standing tall. The losses of their rhythm section to death, retirement, and other personal circumstances have left Angus Young and Brian Johnson as the resilient torchbearers.

Angus Young, ever the icon, still dons his blue velvet uniform, but now showcases a head of pure white hair beneath the cap. Brian Johnson, after a tumultuous period of health issues and a temporary exit from the band, is simply ecstatic to be back on stage.

At 76, Johnson’s voice isn’t what it used to be. Even tracing back to 1980’s “Back in Black,” his vocals were already at the top of their range. Those very songs now seem to challenge him the most, as he often drops octaves mid-line or struggles to find the power he once commanded. But the audience doesn’t mind; the stadium echoes with happiness just for his presence.

The crowd is really here for those iconic riffs, recognizable from the first note. Classics like “Back in Black,” “Highway to Hell,” and “Whole Lotta Rosie” remain untouched in their brilliance. Angus Young’s guitar sound remains unique, his energy boundless. At 69, he spends the entire concert in constant motion. The newer rhythm section, spearheaded by his nephew Stevie Young, is impressively tight. Drummer Matt Laug, in particular, respects Phil Rudd’s classic parts, opting to deliver them authentically without unnecessary embellishment.

What unfolds is largely the same AC/DC show that fans have cherished for decades. However, small tweaks—like the iconic giant Rosie transitioning from an inflatable to screen projections—modernize the experience.

The deeper emotional pull comes from the shared suspicion that this might be AC/DC’s final world tour. Their primal, electrifying music generates palpable joy, a testament to the years they’ve spent thrilling fans across the globe. They once sang, “It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock’n’roll.” Reach it they did, and when they eventually bow out, they’ll do so from the pinnacle of rock history.

Source: Michal Augustini/Rex/Shutterstock