Live Review: AC/DC, The Hives, Kingswood

1 December 2015 | 11:44 am | Mark Beresford

"AC/DC live has truly become a right of passage for Australian music fans, the crowd spanning so many generations, all singing along to rock classics."

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It was not an ideal time for a support act set, since the sun was still blazing down and the crowd barely within reach of the stadium, but Kingswood pressed on. Given a 20-minute slot, they kept their set concise and drilled through Sucker Punch, ICFTYDLM, Micro Wars and Ohio. While they managed to adapt to the large stage well with a solid live performance, it was largely unnoticed by the black-shirted crowd.

It was always going to be interesting to see just how much of The Hives' persona was accepted across the arena. Thankfully, the band didn't seem to give a damn what anyone thought and put on classic Hives for anyone to enjoy. Howlin' Pelle Almqvist led the white-suited outfit through the ridiculously fun Walk Idiot Walk, Die, All Right!, and Main Offender, all while taking the piss out of himself, the band and the crowd in the tongue-in-cheek personality you'd expected from the Swedes. By time Tick Tick Boom rung out, the transformation in the audience was apparent: The Hives had won the night.

Not one for a small entrance, AC/DC exploded onto the stage amid a flurry of fireworks and massive light towers, standing diminutive among a giant, devil-horned arching stage rig. While the rhythm trio of Stevie Young, Cliff Williams and Chris Slade held firm at the back of the stage, the spotlights were darting about for the front duo of Angus Young and Brian Johnson, and deservedly so. The schoolboy uniform clad Young still masters his SG with all the duckwalking and devil horns the crowd could want, while Johnson — who may have dropped a step or two in hitting certain notes — bounded across the stage at his fist-pumping, boogie dancing best. It's truly unbelievable that a band this far into their career is this explosive and energetic while delivering a razor sharp performance. Dropping in some newer tracks such as set opener Rock Or Bust was to be expected and was still eaten up by the pandemonic crowd. However, it was the time-honoured moments retained in their set over the years that sent the crowd to the next level still; You Shook Me All Night Long, the dropping of the Bell for Hells Bells, the giant inflatable Rosie for Whole Lotta Rosie and Angus Young's wild 15-minute solo in Let There Be Rock, elevated above the middle of the crowd. They commanded the 40-odd thousand people like an army to their general, everyone basking in the deafening sound towers and standing under a sea of confetti explosions. Rising from beneath the stage like he was ascending from the underworld, the horned Young struck the riff of Highway To Hell, signalling jets of flames to burst from the stage and every person to get up and scream along. As they fired their cannons into the crowd for the finale For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) and unleashed a barrage of fireworks into the Perth sky, the tinnitus had sunk in well for many by the end of a fantastic show.

AC/DC live has truly become a right of passage for Australian music fans, the crowd spanning so many generations, all singing along to rock classics soaked in blue-collared, sun-drenched pub styles, captivating everyone from the hardcore fans driving eight hours to attend to the inner city kid who wants to experience the phenomenon while they still can. It's absolutely enormous, it's an all-inclusive show and it's rock and fucking roll — long live AC/DC.

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