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AC/DC or freeze!Posted Friday, January 30, 2009, at 3:37 PM
As I trudged up to the top of the icy hill and looked over it, I started to wonder if this was all worth it.
The temperature stood at about 15 degrees, the frigid wind blasting me in the face, the slippery ground seemingly sliding beneath my feet.
Then I saw the lights of the BOK Center ahead and thousands of screaming fans clamoring to get inside, not only to get away from the freezing cold weather, but to see one of the greatest rock and roll bands in history - AC/DC. And for a minute, I wasn't thinking about the cold.
That's when it hit me: "Yeah, this is gonna be freakin' awesome!"
A group of friends and I made the trek down to Tulsa, Okla., earlier this week to see the legendary hard rock band in concert. A severe ice storm hit the area the day of the concert, causing us to wonder if the concert would even take place. It did. And neither the frigid weather nor the ice-covered roads could keep more than 11,000 fans, including me and my friends, from witnessing rock history.Or from walking the six blocks to get to the arena from where we parked.
This was the first concert I had been to in about 12 years - the last show I saw was the KISS reunion tour in 1996. That was a good show, filled with pyrotechnics, theatrics, and just great rock and roll music.
But much of that show had faded from my memory, and I don't think I'll ever...ever forget the show I witnessed on Jan. 26, 2009.
The opening band, called The Answer, hailed from Belfast, Ireland. They had sort of a bluesy rock and roll feel, and the lead singer reminded all of us of a young Robert Plant, the lead singer from the legendary Led Zeppelin. They played a small collection of songs, about 30 minutes worth, and did an ample job of getting the crowd warmed up for what was to come next.
Even The Answer's lead singer knew why the arena was filled that night, even with treacherous roads and continuous sleet keeping many people home.
"We know that you all came here to do two things: drink beer and listen to AC/DC," the singer said.
After an introductory video, the band came out and the place exploded. Well, not literally, but you know what I mean. Thousands on their feet, waving their arms, clapping their hands, and screaming at the top of their lungs. Cannons fired, flamethrowers shot 8-foot flames, and speakers blasted some of the hardest driving, toe-tapping rock and roll music ever created, that of the one and only AC/DC, those Australian chaps who have been performing their music for more than 35 years.
The band performed a mixture of songs from their newest album, "Black Ice," (which lead singer Brian Johnson himself even said was fitting for the weather in Tulsa the night of the show) and a collection of their greatest hits from past years, including "You Shook Me All Night Long," "Highway to Hell," "Thunderstruck," and several others. Plus, the crowd was treated to an 8-minute solo from one of the greatest guitarists active today, and perhaps one of the best guitarists in history, Angus Young.
Young, clad in his traditional schoolboy outfit and hat, entertained the crowd with his usual antics and frantic fretwork. His usual striptease during "The Jack," earned lot of laughs, and he later revealed what was hiding under his shorts, a pair of black boxers with "AC/DC" emblazoned on the rear. Then it was back to business as usual. For a man of 53, he hardly shows his age. Yeah, he's thinning on top and he's getting a little more frail and bony, but he still dances across the stage while strumming with the energy and vigor of a 25-year old.
One of the more memorable aspects of the concert was a 35-foot inflatable "Rosie" doll that emerged from the rear of the stage during the band's performance of their classic tune, "Whole Lotta Rosie." A scantily clad Rosie tapped her high heel to the beat, and moved to the rhythm as the band played; Johnson screeching and jiving as he belted out famous lyrics while the crowd sang along, guitarists and back-up vocalists Malcolm Young and Cliff Williams plucking and providing the harmony, and drummer Phil Rudd keeping the beat on the skins.
So, here's to you AC/DC, for making another memorable show and further planting yourselves in the annals of rock lore. And for entertaining an audience of dedicated fans one more time. And if it's your last tour, (these guys ain't getting any younger) we couldn't have asked for a better show, or better memories to take home with us.
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