6 things we learned from AC/DC at Wembley
Rhythm was in London on Saturday to see AC/DC headline Wembley Stadium, and we learned a few things along the way...
Ty Taylor has balls
Vintage Trouble opened up the show and frontman Ty Taylor must be commended for his gutsy display. The AC/DC support slot is a notoriously poisoned chalice, with many bands limping away battered and bruised after a brutal booing from the DC die-hards.
Vintage Trouble, however, seemed to win the crowd over early on, with Taylor bravely bellowing, 'I can't hear you' between each song as he whipped up further support. Nice work.
AC/DC have a monstrous catalogue
Ok, we knew this already, but it takes a night like this to really bring into focus just how incredible AC/DC's back catalogue is.
They played 20 songs across two hours, including Back in Black, Highway To Hell, For Those About To Rock, Thunderstruck, Whole Lotta Rosie and TNT. There were three new tracks and a couple of deeper cuts, but no Stiff Upper Lip, Problem Child, Money Talks, The Jack, Jailbreak, Heatseeker (the band's highest-charting UK single), Who Made Who, Rock and Roll Damnation. The list of missing classics goes on and on.
There was also just the one cut from 2008's well-received Black Ice album. Put simply, these guys have more A-list tunes than they know what to do with.
Chris Slade is a monster
Chris Slade was, of course, back behind the kit, having replaced Phil Rudd earlier this year. We all saw Slade lay waste to Donington in 'DC's superb set there back in 1991, but that was 24 years ago and you could have been forgiven for being unsure whether the 68-year-old could still cut a two-hour stadium show.
Well, he can. In fact, it seems he hasn't aged at all. He muscled his way through the set with rock solid tempos - the old myth that Slade played the songs faster than Rudd can now be laid to rest.
But Rudd and Mal are still missed
Yes, Slade did a great job. As did Stevie Young, the nephew of Angus and Malcolm Young drafted in to replace the latter. But that's the thing: you can't just replace Malcolm Young. Mal is AC/DC. He is the leader, the heart of the band.
And while Slade was on the money (and this reviewer heard several fans commenting that they preferred Slade's hammering to Rudd's one-dimensional beats - their words, not mine) it just isn't the same without the ice cool Phil Rudd laying the beats down.
The Wembley sound must be addressed
Let's get this one straight: the band gave it their all out there, but they were badly let down by the notoriously poor Wembley sound (Coldplay and Eminem fans previously came away from the venue with mixed reports).
While reports from the floor were that all was crystal clear, up in the upper tiers (we were sat in 511) the sound was atrocious. In fact, the worst this reviewer has ever heard, and that's from someone whose local venue has a sound engineer known as Feedback Phil.
For the first hour of the set Brian Johnson's voice was first out of sync and then completely under the radar, the guitars deafeningly loud and everything else lost in a muddy mix. The second half of the show saw things improve somewhat; it still was not spot on but you could at least make out the lyrics.
If you're going to put on gigs in such a huge venue, you surely can't just cater for those down at ground level, there were thousands of fans who shelled out £70 a pop on tickets who were left playing guess the song for half of the set.
DC are still a huge draw
The big question is: might this be the last time we see AC/DC perform on these shores? Well, we wouldn't be surprised at all to see them back next year, if only to meet the unwavering demand.
There were 60,000+ inside Wembley, and as the band took to the stage touts were selling £70 face value tickets for £200. We think they'll be back - let's just hope they opt for a jaunt around the UK's arenas rather than a one-off spectacular next time.