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Added by Central Electronic Brain     June 07, 2016    
 
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AC/DC  - Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium, London (UK) - 4 June 2016

No one was sure what to expect when these two titans of Rock 'n' Roll got together. Spectacular, but good or bad? Well the consensus was that, as we at least expected, the result was amazing and not at all a disappointment. The first initial and very welcome surprise is that the band were bang on time for an early start time of half past eight... Including Axl Rose, who is back on his feet and running and stomping even with his broken leg still in cast... and if anything Angus Young was looking younger than the last tour...

However, the jury was still out for at least the first five songs. Firstly, there were two new songs in the first five – 'Rock Or Bust' and 'Rock And Roll Thunder' – and Brian Johnson is pretty much irreplaceable on 'Back In Black'! However, the crowd, a sea of blinking red horns, were still taking in the huge stage and lights along with Young's trade-mark stomping and rocking forward and back and his sideways running hop at this point. They give an enormous roar following the first classic played – 'Shoot To Thrill'. By the time Young is making horns with his fingers during 'Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be' things start cooking. Rose's voice seems better suited to the Bon Scott material and once the first five tracks are out of the way he seems to relax. During 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap', 'Rock 'N' Roll Damnation' and 'Thunderstruck', set against dramatic lightning effects, his voice is sounding great and the crowd are well and truly won over by his substitution for Johnson. The sound is clear and world class.

But Rose is not just carrying this gig, he's adding his own special twist. During 'High Voltage', aware that he is smashing the chorus and clearly far more comfortable, he started even to show off a little shaking his ass. Meanwhile, Young gets his mojo, doing some great free-form guitar work during 'Runaway Train' – everyone knows it is going well. After the atmospheric toll of the bell for 'Hells Bells', Rose is employing his trade mark Falsetto wobble in a higher register, making his version of this song different to Johnson's, but also something truly excellent. Even in the more average tune 'Givin' The Dog A Bone', his nasal tones elevate its arguably plodding chorus. After a fine version of 'If You Want Blood...' Rose is singing four notes on the chorus where Johnson usually sings two or maybe three, and Young is fist-pumping him along. Young removes his tie and plays his guitar behind his ears... all doubts as to how this is going are way past.

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The first girl to be blessed with the camera during 'You Shook Me All Night Long' does the honours to the fullest – t-shirt up... no bra splendour – setting the tone of the song to which Rose does definite justice. Young is doing what Young does in splendid fashion with rhythmic guitar licks in his usual style. He's still going like the Energizer Bunny even though we are half way through with no loss of adrenaline or energy. Rose rings out his T-shirt with sweat, whilst 'TNT' sees crowd participation ramp up the show in the chorus "hey hey hey", with Young hitting the high notes and humping his Marshall stacks in appreciation.

'Whole Lotta Rosie' is always a highlight and below her statuesque effigy Rose continues to insert notes where Johnson isn't aware there are spaces and he's starting to sing a line/take a stance, sing a line take a stance, sing a line, take a stance like the old days in Guns 'N' Roses. Rose indeed declares he used to play this track with GN'R and did so at their first appearance at The Marquee.

However, while the attention has been very much on Rose as a novelty, for the final part of the gig Young takes the floor alone. Lifted up on a hydraulic platform he holds the floor with a solo for about twenty mins doing the "circle round on the floor" hop in mid-air playing faster and faster against an optical screen effect of thousands of Young images; he is the piece de resistance before the encore.

On his return in a characteristic white jacket, Rose continues to add his own flavour and in 'Highway To Hell', against the fires of Hell on screen, he keeps this time single notes where Johnson employs more. He's determined not just to be a fill in, and why should he with his world class status? By the time he reaches the final track, 'For Those About To Rock', he is clearly enjoying the power of shouting "fire!" while the deafening cannons go off to punctuate proceedings. Young is adding his best blistering solo and the final moments are indeed spectacular.

Did we miss Johnson? Yes, we did. But did we see something truly extraordinary? Oh yes! No refunds required!

Dawn Osborne

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