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BOASTING A STIFF … UPPER LIP: AC/DC TAKE WIND BACK WEDNESDAY


Continuing the gigs-are-shut-down-but-we-can-still-remember series, Wind Back Wednesday goes the full meat and potatoes with the biggest Australian band of all time. From the last tour they played indoors in this city too – which the ringing ears of some of us can probably celebrate given the band were definitely using their outdoor voice, and volume settings, for this room.

This 2001 concert had spectacle, testicles, wallet and watch. Bless.

AC/DC Sydney Entertainment Centre, January 30


There are social uses for rock'n'roll you know, real social benefits for the wider community. While you would be hard-pressed to argue that most bands are on a mission from God, an AC/DC concert is a perfect example of the good that can flow from having your ears bleed.


Here in one room, in a supportive environment, many men, some of them lonely, possibly sad at being unable to talk about this part of their lives, can meet as one and, instead of worrying about the mortgage, the car repairs or the fact their waistlines now offer a significant bulge in the black tour T-shirt from the mid-'80s, they can open up and yell "ANGUS!" and not mean a cow.


No-one will laugh at them for playing air guitar, not even with that stupid, I-am-passing-a-watermelon look on their face. No-one will sneer at them for headbanging while a middle-aged man in a schoolboy's outfit duck-walks across the stage playing a meaty little riff.


No-one will say turn that music down, for in this room everyone knows that Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution isn't a song title, it's a way of life. Mate. Maaate.

Patronising? Moi? Oh come on, don't be like that. Can't you take a joke? AC/DC can.

This is a band that's spent the past 20 years singing about a girl with "American thighs" who "told me to come but I was already there"; nearly 30 years singing Whole Lotta Rosie, about a somewhat bulky girl who really likes to rumpy-pumpy (represented on stage by a giant blow-up doll in suspenders and garter); who have introduced this time a song called Stiff Upper Lip with its dramatic pause: "I was born with a stiff ... upper lip/ then I shoot, shoot, shoot from the hip".

And just in case you didn't get it, during Hard As A Rock (and methinks Brian Johnson was not singing about his steel-capped boots) the video screens played some of a cartoon porn film featuring naked Snow Whites and seven dwarves who were decidedly not small everywhere, and then cut in footage of pistons going up and down and trains entering tunnels.


That was as subtle as it got; that was as subtle as anyone wanted. The audience got what they came for: meat and potatoes rock'n'roll - just thicker meat and bigger potatoes than many of those who claim to be hard rockers.


Sure, you have to laugh, but it's with them not at them. The diminutive Johnson (one part of the shortest band in rock, alongside Malcolm Young who looks like a well-lived and wiry 11-year-old), for one seems to be having too good a time to mock.


And while the cannons roared in For Those About To Rock, the bell rang in Hell's Bells and Angus Young did all the requisite moves - the duck walk, the dropping of the daks, the spinning on the ground spraying sweat guitar solo - it was Angus's older brother and Johnson who grounded the show in solid working-class rock values.

Hell, Johnson is so unaffected he constantly adjusted himself, completely unselfconsciously, much in the way he would if he was standing at the bar having a pint of heavy and crisps.


And did I mention it was loud? Oh ... My ... God.

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