Judge Ryan Keefer wonders just how something that old and tiny is still so energetic.
The rock group that just keeps on going.
I know, along with most of you, that AC/DC has been around since 1973, but when learning the brother duo of lead guitarist Angus and rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young are only in their mid-50s, the mind reels. They've survived the death of their lead singer Bon Scott, only to replace him with Brian Johnson and watch their success go from mainstream to galactic. Maybe it was Scott's premature death, combined with the release of "Back in Black" several months later, that caused this leap to success. But their music, described as hard rock with some blues inspiration, had a solid following before Scott's death, which happened way back in 1980. They're known for their live performances, and their "Live in Donington" performance in 1991 is regarded as the quintessential AC/DC filmed performance. This particular performance, shot in 1996—in support of their album "Ballbreaker"—was filmed at the Plaza De Toros De Las Ventas in Madrid, on my birthday coincidentally enough. The two-hour set includes the following songs:
• "Back in Black"
Now I've never had the privilege to watch Angus, Malcolm, and company perform, and my initial thought is that when it comes to entertaining people, their bus left the station years ago. However, in this coliseum-type venue, the crowd is absolutely crazy. There might not be many Spaniards watching the show, but when it comes to the songs, they're all clapping and throwing their fists up on the recognizable songs. And when it comes to the hits, everyone—and I mean everyone—is jumping up and down in unison on the floor, and losing their minds.
What makes it fun—and even a little bit bone chilling—is how much the boys in the band are aware of and feed off this vibe. Are they a little too old to still be singing about "…Rosie" or "The Jack?" Maybe, but the performance is about giving as much enjoyment to as many people around the world as possible, and far too many performers seem to lose that spirit when it comes to living life on the road.
The 1.85:1 widescreen presentation looks relatively solid without any image issues. The feature isn't concerned about image detail and depth, and this concert was recorded long before we were talking about high-definition video, so it's pretty straightforward and enjoyable. There's a choice of a two-channel uncompressed PCM and TrueHD 5.1 soundtracks. I did some on the fly A/B switching, and aside from more speaker use, the soundstage on the TrueHD track is a little more dynamic, and the lower end has some more pop to it. Besides, the reason why you're watching it is for the lossless track, right? Supplements wise, there are a couple of additional songs from two other performances on the North American leg of the tour, along with a multi-angle look from the camera Angus wore on his head during the show.
If you're a rock fan, like me, looking for a good palette cleanser, AC/DC should do the trick. With all the other stuff that people say passes off for rock and roll nowadays, AC/DC reminds you that the old guys can still bring it when they want and have to. The audio and video qualities are fine as well, and the disc is worth perusing.
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Scales of Justice
Studio: Sony BMG
• Additional Footage
Review content copyright © 2008 Ryan Keefer; Site design and review layout copyright © 2014 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.