Photos by Charlie Meister in conjunction with Music Connection Magazine. For additional coverage of this show, head over to Music Connection HERE.
AC/DC headlined the First Niagara Center in Buffalo NY this past Sunday, performing after Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown opened for the nearly sold out crowd. The Sept 11 show was a rescheduled show, originally slated for March of 2016. When the show was originally announced, AC/DC was comprised of mostly "classic lineup" members, not including original singer Bon Scott of course. Since then, drummer Phil Rudd has been arrested, rhythm guitar and founding member Malcolm Young retired- suffering from dementia, and singer Brian Johnson announced his retirement due to a permanent loss of hearing. More recently, long-time bassist Cliff Williams has announced his looming retirement. With all of this happening in just over a year, the scheduled Buffalo date looked to be one of many cancelled, with an unlikely rescheduling. But despite the perfect storm of obstacles, the band performed on September 11, fronted by the recently uncovered recluse - front man Axl Rose. With a reshuffling of band members, the hiring of a new frontman (Rose) and the rescheduling, many wondered if the high cost of admission was worth paying. Was it?
Axl Rose's voice surprises many, as one of the best aging voices in rock in 2016. This allowed him to tackle the 24 song set list (including three encore songs), almost 50 percent of which was comprised of Bon Scott-era songs.
The band opened with "Rock or Bust", diving quickly into "Shoot to Thrill," "Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be," and "Back in Black." The band continued to play all expected classics, including many early Bon Scott-era "deep tracks" that have been dusted off on this recent tour.
With most of the band retiring in the last year, one could only assume a modern performance would be the "Angus Young show"- Young being the obvious focus of the band after seeing a slew of medical, legal, and personal issues take their toll on the lineup. That's exactly what we got, but is that a bad thing, or really unexpected? Angus has always been one of the, if not, THE driving force behind the band since its formation. Regardless of one's opinion on how Angus has handled the recent happenings of his band mates and relatives, Angus stayed true to the saying, "The show must go on," moving forward with this leg of the tour, and showing more energy than most will ever have, running back and forth, frequently going airborne, playing on top of the amplifier wall backdrop, and playing on a lifting platform in the middle of the crowd.
The fate of the band remains a mystery, especially with bassist Cliff Williams announcing his retirement after the current tour. But in the meantime, the band is putting on two-plus hour shows, digging back into the beginning of their history in their set lists, accompanied by a voice who does not try to sound like Brian Johnson, but fits the AC/DC sound perfectly. This tour just may be the band's swan song. It could also be the beginning of an unexpected chapter. Either way, it is certainly one to see if given the opportunity. And if you doubt Rose's ability to do the songs justice, spend just a bit of time on YouTube checking out some recent footage.
The setlist was as follows:
1. Rock or Bust
2. Shoot to Thrill
3. Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be.
4. Back in Black.
5. Got Some Rock N' Roll Thunder
6. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
7. Rock 'n' Roll Damnation
9. High Voltage
10. Rock 'n' Roll Train
11. Hells Bells
12. Givin' the Dog a Bone
13. If You Want Blood (You've Got It)
14. Live Wire
15. Sin City
16. You Shook Me All Night Long
17. Shot Down in Flames
18. Have a Drink on Me
20. Whole Lotta Rosie
21. Let There Be Rock
22. Highway to Hell
23. Riff Raff
24. For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)
Buffalo, NY - Let There Be Rock!