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      AC/DC rock music: bonlives
    • May 18th 2009

    Review: AC/DC Black Ice World Tour - Olympiastadion, Munich - Friday 15 May 2009

    Arrived in Munich a bit after 1:00pm and after a stop by the hotel, I ventured down to Olympiastadion at around 4:15pm. On the advice of Yves, I made my way inside to guarantee access to the Front of Stage area. Reports had suggested that all fanclub tickets had been printed with Front of Stage on them, and since there was no way of knowing how many fanclub tickets had been sold, it was a wise move to enter the area early and obtain a wristband.

    This was my first European concert (apart from UK gigs) and I was expecting something special. The German fans were putting away some serious beer before the gig, but considering the size of the crowd and the amount of alcohol being consumed, I was surprised that there was no trouble whatsoever. So full marks to the Germans for being more focussed on the gig than on punching on - something that can’t be said for a couple of gigs in the UK.

    Yves and I spent the hours before the show soaking up the growing atmosphere - it was amazing to witness 70,000+ people steadily piling into the stadium. The most impressive thing was seeing the number of nicely faded DC shirts from older gigs - the mark of a true fan.

    We caught up with the AC/DC Abruzzo boys (acdc-abruzzo.blogspot.com) and shared a few stories with them. These guys are nuts – and for all the right reasons! Nice blokes and was great to see them at yet another show. I’d seen them at earlier UK gigs but hadn’t gone up to say hello.

    About 20 minutes before the show, Yves and I took up position up front and just to the right of stage, nicely wedged in behind some short girls who afforded us a clear view of the stage (not that Yves needed any help being 4 metres tall). Strangely the Front of Stage area was relatively empty for most of the build up, and at one point I was concerned that a mad rush of fans who were loosely contained in an area to the rear of the Front of Stage part could turn pretty nasty. By the time the Answer had finished their opening set the area was fairly full.

    When AC/DC stormed on at 9pm the crowd went fuckin bananas. It was obvious that this was the first time many in the crowd were seeing the Black Ice roadshow. Rock n Roll Train got the crowd jumping, before the band launched into Hell Aint a Bad Place To Be - a real favourite of mine. The opening riff of Back in Black had the crowd going wild again and this was really starting to shape up as a cracking show.

    Much the same as during earlier shows, Big Jack was a major step down in crowd intensity. Most people knew the words unlike at earlier shows, but it still doesn't crank in my books - and Munich was no different. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap lifted things a notch, with fists being thrown high into the air, and this continued during Shot Down in Flames. I'm absolutely loving Angus' solo during this track on the Black Ice world tour - really ripping up the fret board on this one.

    The band fired up the familiar opening sequence to Thunderstruck, just as the sky above started to darken over with rain clouds. There had been forecasts of a possible lightening storm for Munich, but the only sparks were those flying from the crowd as AC/DC belted out one of their biggest classics.

    Black Ice, understandably, was another step down in crowd tempo - in fact I can't really recall much from this song - it just doesn't strike a chord with me. On to The Jack, and yet another step down in crowd nuttiness. I've no idea why the band persists with this track in the setlist - it's a classic for sure, but the only reason I can think of for its continued inclusion is to give the band a well earned breather.

    Hells Bells lifted things a notch, but there was still a noticeable lull in the crowd's excitement levels. All that changed when Shoot To Thrill was rolled out - the crowd went mental! This for me continues to be the standout track on this tour - a true musical masterpiece which Brian can still pull off with ease. There's just no stopping the crowd on this one - from start to finish it's a thrashing beauty. And it was around this time that the first drops of rain started to fall.

    War Machine was received a bit better by the Germans, and Phil and Cliff owned the stage for this track. Indeed Cliff and Phil came across nice and strong the whole night and provided a solid backbone for the entire set.

    Dog Eat Dog!! Yes!! - and for a moment I was in heaven. It was so refreshing to hear something different, but I soon realised we were well into the second half of the show and there was little time left for something else to be thrown into the mix. Yves had hinted earlier in the night that the setlist was "longer" but that's all he was giving away, so I still had high hopes the boys would include some more tunes for the fans.

    Anything Goes was well received. The rain started getting a bit heavier at this point, so a lot of people took the opportunity to start putting on raincoats. I think a bit of the attention of the crowd was lost at this point who more focussed on covering up.

    You Shook Me All Night Long got the crowd bouncing in their raincoats and they quickly forgot about the downpour. By the time TNT was rolled out, the crowd was well and truly soaked. For me, witnessing AC/DC in the rain was something special. There was something truly awesome about standing there, dripping wet, watching your childhood (and adulthood) idols rip through TNT and then Whole Lotta Rosie. To me it was symbolic of the shit us fans have had to weather for 8 years while the band dragged its feet on a new album. And now, no amount of rain or hail was going to see me ducking for cover.

    Let There Be Rock was almost spiritual. How Angus managed to stay upright on the catwalk in an inch of water, and kept his fingers in the right place on a soaked fretboard, is one of those great mysteries of the world. As he disappeared in darkness for a moment with the video screens going strangely blank, I thought that water had worked its way into some wiring and that the plug would soon be pulled on the show. He re-emerged to roars from the crowd and an explosion of silvery confetti – clearly no one was pulling the plug on this band!. As he wrapped up the set, with close-ups of his rain-drenched guitar, I reflected on what had been, for me at least, a top shelf gig.

    My last hope for something special hinged on the encore. After resisting the temptation to read reports of setlist changes, I was itching with anticipation after each song, hoping, praying that I'd hear the opening chords of If You Want Blood - but it never happened. Highway to Hell took centre stage instead and by this time the rain had all but stopped. This of course was followed by the long-standing set closer For Those About To Rock.

    I think the band truly appreciated the commitment of the fans, particularly for standing through the rain. Phil acknowledged the crowd with a final "hang ten" sign, and the band disappeared off-stage to a short spell of fireworks.

    A solid show as always from AC/DC, and a real treat to have witnessed my first continental gig in Germany.

    A huge thanks to Yves who made the trip nice and easy with helpful travel tips and of course for hooking me up with a ticket. Cheers mate – much appreciated.

    Mike - bonlives

    Great read, thanks for the review. The German fans are simply superb, there's no doubt about it. Munich in March was probably the standout show for me, so I'm not surprised that you loved it. Did you get to see any of the city? Lovely place, but I imagine you didn't get much of a chance?

    Any new merchandise? I notice there's a new t-shirt (Hells Bell) on the UK store, was that for sale at the show?
      AC/DC rock music: bonlives
    • May 19th 2009
    I'll need to take a look at the UK store to see if I recognise the shirt. It all looked like standard fare to me. There were people getting round in what appeared to be a Munich gig tee, but couldn't see them for sale at official outlets. Really not sure if the shirts were official and sold out or very good looking bootlegs.
      AC/DC rock music: Jet1984
    • May 19th 2009
    Awesome review mate!

    Highlight for me that day was definitely the hours before the gig, seing 70'000 people swarming in, meeting with the Italian guys, just sharing some thoughts and stories about the band we all love and let the excitement grow!

    The show was really good. I thought Brian was really dead on that night! And due to the fact we were standing pretty much on the right of the stage Cliffs bass was pretty obvious in my ears, which was great to here. He's hell of a player.
    Shoot to thrill is indeed the highlight of this tour for me. Jeez, I still feel my neck! And it's always the same. When the clapping starts and they launch into that crescendo up until when Brian starts "Yeah yeah yeah, ...shoot youuuuuu. shooot youuu!" I always think...fuck this is good, but I cant scream along all of these "shoot yooo"'s ...of course I end up doing it anyways cause it feels so damn good. Gonna loose my voice 1 day :D

    All in all, a really good gig by the band. BUT!

    I've seen 7 gigs now on this tour, and I actually have 3 still lined up, Oslo, Helsinki, Glasgow. If the Setlist won't change during the next couple of gigs I will skip Olso and Helsinki. I love this music so much and it's just a PAIN to see what they play once you've seen what they could play (I've seen If you want blood, Gone Shootin, Damnation live..). Seriously, Black Ice is a good album, but the material is just not kicking it live, as you said Mike, crowd goes down low when they play BJ or BI...

    After speaking with the italian guys and hearing what they had to say about the setlist and why it's there, I have hope that it will change drastically towards the end of the year latest.

    Anyways, it was a good gig, and I hope they will get even better during the tour!
      AC/DC rock music: bonlives
    • May 19th 2009
    I agree with your "BUT" jet, something has to change drastically and I just hope it happens sooner rather than later. If the Oz shows roll out the same setlist, I'm going to be mighty disappointed.
    "After speaking with the italian guys and hearing what they had to say about the setlist and why it's there..."

    So what is the theory behind this set list?
    If this is the "record company influence" argument, then I have to say that I absolutely don't buy it. If (and it's a big if) the label are leaning on the band to play 5 off the new album, then I can just about accept that. If, on the other hand, we are supposed to believe that the label are somewhow preventing the band from mixing it up a bit, then I doubt it, personally. Not saying it's not true (after all, what the hell do I know?), but I for one don't believe this at all....
      AC/DC rock music: bonlives
    • May 20th 2009
    I can accept theres a desire to play tracks off the new album to boost sales, even though I think the bulk of the sales have already been made. Surely beyond that the band have freedom to do whatever they like.
    Exactly - who the hell is putting off buying Black Ice until they go the concert? Strange one, and I agree with you, mate - the vast majority of copies of Black Ice have were sold some months ago, and it will continue to sell steadily in much lower quantities now whether or not the band are playing 1, 2 or 5 tracks off it live.....
      AC/DC rock music: Jet1984
    • May 20th 2009
    We'll I guess in the end we won't be able to know for sure. Record company influence is what some people say is actually happening. And as much as I like to think the band wouldn't do something like that, a record company sure as hell would. They would make em play songs with Miley Cirus if they could. Malcolam calls all the shots. I don't know what deals he signed and what the money behind is, but i can imagine that the record company has more to say than we would think.

    Anyways, in the end it might just be the band who likes to play those songs and doesn't give a shit about their inner fanbase. That of course would be a bitter pill compared to the record company theory. Lets wait and see what the rest of the tour bings. All hope is not lost yet :D
    You may well be right, Jet, and who am I to prove otherwise? It's a sound argument and I can't help but agree with your first statement - we will never know for sure. But my own feeling is that it sounds like an excuse used by the fans to explain something which you aren't too far away from explaining in the second paragraph in your post above. I hope it isn't true; in fact, I would hate to think that the band were just going through the motions, and to hell with the idiots who buy all 4 of our slightly-differently packaged Black Ice CDs and who spend hundreds/thousands of pounds following us around the UK, Europe and the rest of the world. I personally would be happy (in a way) to find out that Sony held all the cards and had the band against the wall. At least that would make me feel less of a mug...
      AC/DC rock music: Jet1984
    • May 20th 2009 edited
    "I personally would be happy (in a way) to find out that Sony held all the cards and had the band against the wall. At least that would make me feel less of a mug..."

    Yes indeed. And imagine if that deal or whatever agreement they have would end before the tour is over, and they decided just out of the blue, when you are expecting it the least, to come out with half of Powerage in their setlist!

    Wanna hear a wild guess? Wait for the Australian tour next year, and the following euro tour part 2 (which I heard strong rumours about in Munich, people talking about signed deals with the Stade de France 2010 already) for them to play what really matter to us. I know it sounds pretty insane. Hell I'm going insane here listening to Powerage all day thinking about what could be.

    Bah...I need a cold beer...and no Mike, ain't flying tomorrow :D
      AC/DC rock music: bonlives
    • May 20th 2009

    :) good to know

    I actually do believe that the record company has a far greater say in things that we think. But, since I'm not on a first name basis with Malcolm or anyone responsible for signing contracts, I'm only guessing as much as the next person. Until we get a mole on the inside, we'll never know!

    I'm still hopeful word will get through to someone, somewhere who is in an influential position.

    Just play fuckin' Love Bomb and I'll die lucky!