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By Andrew Depedro, Ottawa Corespondent
Wednesday, September 9, 2015 @ 4:25 PM

In Siblings And Belated Birthday Gifts We Trust

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For my second time seeing one of Australia's legendary musical exports, rather than be at the mercy of unscrupulous scalpers and pay out the culo for floor tickets, I only needed to put in some babysitting hours - and bring my close friend Chris to the show too. And the show was closer to home as well as the stage.

TD Place (or the ol' Civic Center) was where the night's show would take place, deep in the heart of the trendy and affluent Glebe neighborhood. Originally constructed for the summer's FIFA Women's World Cup tournament, the stadium had taken 5 years to build, mostly due to being plagued by complaints by residents in the area over varying noise levels in their neighborhood. They'd also be the type of people who'd buy property near the airport and petition the TSB to enforce all aircraft to tone down the noise. That night, they'd be shit outta luck in having their complaints honored by the bylaw police as 30,000 strong packed the arena to catch the show. Plus the rest of Ottawa is used to the Glebe complaining about, well, everything.

Opening band VINTAGE TROUBLE are a band that are used to playing Ottawa by now, their first foray into O-town dating as far back as 2012 as special guests of THE WHO during their Quadrophenia And More tour as well as their appearance at Bluesfest last summer. The LA-based rhythm and blues band may only be 5 years old but they've amassed a steady following through a 3-album career (including the recently released 1 Hopeful Road) and racked up lots of roadwork experience, having toured with the likes of Brian May and BON JOVI among other acts. Paul Stanley even had the band play at his 60th birthday party and dueted with frontman Ty Taylor on a rousing cover of LED ZEPPELIN's "You Shook Me". Yet as impressive of a touring history that they possess, VINTAGE TROUBLE didn't seem to entirely resonate too much at first with much of the crowd, more eager to catch the headliners than witness Ty Taylor's Motown-inspired singing and stage style. In all honesty, neither was I no matter how much blood and soul the band poured out during songs such as "Run Like The River", "Nancy Lee" and "Angel City, California". Dare I say it, but there was a bit of a hipster aura about VT that made it challenging for the band to shake off. Still, they persisted in seeking crowd appreciation through singing alongside the audience and starting up a crowd wave and they eventually got it after their last song of the evening titled "Strike Your Light (Right On Me)", though probably moreso because it was the last song of the evening rather than the song itself. Points for trying though, gentlemen, as an actual hipster band wouldn't even acknowledge the existence of an unreceptive audience. Few bands wouldn't have taken the trouble otherwise like VINTAGE TROUBLE had that night.


After much waiting (mostly during the 30-minute long lineups at the beer tent during intermission), headliners AC/DC literally brought down the rock, mostly in the form of a projected meteor that came hurtling through space only to crash down on Earth. From there, the skies lit up with pyro and ear-shattering explosions.

But while most of the intro to their opening number - the title track from their 17th studio album Rock Or Bust, natch - was the magic of virtual wizardry recreated on two giant screens adorning the 110-foot stage on each side, the music and the enthusiasm was purely genuine, especially given how close AC/DC were in imploding themselves over the past year. The band had earlier this year endured the loss of founding guitarist Malcolm Young, whose career was cut short by an ongoing battle with dementia, and then was further hampered by the sudden arrest of drummer Phil Rudd on murder-for-hire charges during the album's recording. Rarely had an album title proved to be as much of an epiphany for AC/DC's survival, but the band soldiered on with new members: Stevie Young (Malcolm's nephew) on guitar and Chris Slade on drums. The chemistry remained solidified throughout the entire show as the band brought out much of their newer and top material from Rock Or Bust including "Play Ball" and the underrated "Baptism By Fire" alongside their classics such as "Back In Black", "You Shook Me All Night Long" and "Thunderstruck", among others. As an added bonus, likely to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the passing of original frontman Bon Scott, AC/DC made some serious modifications to their setlist to include rarely-played gems such as "High Voltage" and "Sin City". I say "rarely-played" here because those songs weren't on the setlist when I saw AC/DC 6 years prior, but frontman Brian Johnson gave those songs the proper treatment that they deserved to the delight of the plastic horn-wearing crowd. Even Angus Young delivered a more energetic and powerful 15-minute guitar solo after "Let There Be Rock" which featured his famous floor-spinning soloing technique alongside his usual three-chord hammer-on riffing skills as confetti fired up from beneath the rafters during his performance.

Climaxing, naturally, with "For Those About To Rock", AC/DC made the best use of the remainder of their arsenal of pyro and special effects and sent shockwaves of cannon fire across the neighborhood. The show just had to end right there. And if the neighborhood locals dared to complain about the concert that night, it might have been over the show not being longer even though that would've been wishful thinking. But the majority presided that night as AC/DC's first return back to the new Civic Center in 35 years (with STREETHEART as the opening band that year) proved that their legacy would never go bust under any circumstances.

With thanks to Chris for hanging out with me during the show and to his other half Nina for the transportation.

And thanks as well to Pilar and Hubert for the birthday present for which this review would not have been possible.



  • "Rock Or Bust"
  • "Shoot To Thrill"
  • "Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be"
  • "Back In Black"
  • "Play Ball"
  • "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap"
  • "Thunderstruck"
  • "High Voltage"
  • "Rock 'N Roll Train"
  • "Hell's Bells"
  • "Baptism By Fire"
  • "You Shook Me All Night Long"
  • "Sin City"
  • "Shot Down In Flames"
  • "Have A Drink On Me"
  • "T.N.T."
  • "Whole Lotta Rosie"
  • "Let There Be Rock"
  • Angus Young solo
  • "Highway To Hell"
  • "For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)"

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