Live Review: AC/DC, The Hives, Kingswood

7 December 2015 | 2:40 pm | Bryget Chrisfield

"AC/DC are undeniable rock'n'roll gods."

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"Whereabouts are you, luv?" Lost people who haven't been out since AC/DC last toured our shores try to meet up with their friends around Southern Cross Station and a British bootleg T-shirt seller has set up even before gates open for the show. The Cookie Monster is back playing (AC/DC covers on) bagpipes at the end of the thoroughfare as we wind our way toward Etihad Stadium. Inside, local heroes Kingswood sound terrific but they also evoke Eagles Of Death Metal, which makes us remember that band's recent plight. Good on Kingswood, though, they do us proud.     

The Hives enter the stage space with their trademark cocky enthusiasm and drummer Chris Dangerous (born Christian Grahn) pelts into the relentless Come On!. Frontman Howlin' Pelle Almqvist is everything, strutting around the stage like a younger, better looking Mick Jagger. The descending bass riff from Take Back The Toys rumbles through the floor and the Swedish five-piece do everything within their power to get the audience onside, but AC/DC fans are brutal and mainly wave middle fingers in the air. Almqvist's usually effective audience participation calls ("Ladies?"/"And gentlemen?") largely fall on deaf ears, which is disappointing. It's mega-depressing watching one of one's favourite bands treated in this way. How can folk remain motionless during Walk Idiot Walk? Sorry, The Hives; your band name was even chopped off to read "[latter segment of an] E HIVES" on the screens, which is just plain rude.

It's a lava-in-space theme for AC/DC's intro visuals on this tour. Someone sets a flare off just behind the barrier separating the front from the back section in GA. Even though there appear to be less flashing red devil horn headbands on heads than when the band played this same venue as part of their Black Ice world tour, this $20 merch item creates a whole lotta atmosphere. Guitarist Angus Young is resplendent in his burgundy velvet school uniform, which stands out like dog's balls and makes him easy to locate on stage at all times. His shredding guitar work is matchless as he duckwalks and travels across the full length of the stage, legs resembling a one-armed scissor.

The award for best-ever song to punch the air to is Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (especially the "Done! Dirt! Cheap!" bit). And we all bow down to Thunderstruck, hearing for the first time how much the "ah-ah-ah-AH-ah-ah-AH-ah!" bit sounds like actual thunder. The first boob flash of the night is broadcast on the giant screens during High Voltage. There's no passengers aboard AC/DC's Rock N Roll train, but Young drives the locomotive. The giant Hells Bells bell sets the scene, but imagine if they could somehow make the onscreen footage of this 3D! AC/DC are undeniable rock'n'roll gods. The visuals are clearer than any we've clapped eyes on to date and how is it so loud in here? The roof's open but we have trouble talking to each other during songs, which is both unusual and awesome. Patriotic feels brim over.

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TNT ("Oi! Oi! Oi!") IS "dy-no-mite". We all look around to find as many minors as possible during the Whole Lotta Rosie intro in order to clock their reactions when the large-breasted, scantily-clad, inflatable subject of said song materialises. Let There Be Rock features Young's unparalleled solo (seriously, no other guitarist on the planet could do what he does) on an elevating riser and he absolutely deserves the fanfare of those confetti cannons. We decide Young needs a Guitar Hero-themed workout video 'cause he's lookin' mighty fit up there for a 60-year-old. Young's guitar playing while back spinning on the floor is just nuts and his rapidfire fingering moves faster than light.

AC/DC's encore hoons down Highway To Hell then the cannons are rolled out For Those About To Rock (We Salute You). These cannons detonate (not very loudly) but then the closing pyros are spectacular.

As we file out of the venue, Cookie Monster is still playing his bagpipes as a trail of flashing red devil horns light up Melbourne Rock City.