Back in 1979, I was the proud owner of two AC/DC albums: If You Want Blood, You’ve Got It…Live and Powerage. I loved listening to those albums before I left the house to go to Friday or Saturday night basketball games in order to get psyched to play. That is, until I realized their music got me too hyped, and I would begin a game cold as ice. That was when I turned to funk music, which always seemed in the rhythm of basketball. But, I digress about my long gone athletic career. Let’s get back on track.
In July 1979, the local rock station, WFBQ, or Q-95, began playing a new song by AC/DC could “Highway to Hell” from their upcoming album of the same name. Even better, the DJs were announcing that AC/DC was the middle band in a triple-band concert coming up on August 1, 1979. And, since Cross Country season had yet just started, a few of us went to the concert of Ted Nugent, AC/DC and this newer band from Germany, Scorpions.
Of course, I bought the Highway to Hell album when it came out and purchased a ticket for the concert, which was $7.50 back then! Although I had a couple of Nugent albums, I was more excited for the men down under, AC/DC. So, we waited for the concert by listening to the album at each others’ houses and constantly talking about the concert out on our eight-mile morning runs.
Finally, the day rolled around. Another guy, Jeff, and I went down to the old Market Square Arena together to meet up with the rest of the guys from the old hometown. It was back in the days of festival seating, before the horrible deaths that occurred before The Who concert in Cincinnati later that year. I cannot begin to tell you how different things were back then. Drugs and drinks were openly used back then. When I walked into the restroom after arriving, some stoned dude was leaning up against the wall, just saying to anyone who entered that he had drugs of all sorts for sale and opened his large hand to show us. Being a naive guy from a small town, I kind of had my mind blown. But, then I shrugged, told my would-be dealer no thanks and left after doing my intended task.
The first band on was Scorpions. I didn’t like them then and still don’t care for them now. They did produce a couple of good songs in the Eighties, but I honestly can’t recall their titles. Oh well! After they played for 15 minutes, they left the stage, much to the pleasure of the crowd.
Next up was AC/DC, and they kicked ass! It was a tight 30-minute set complete with all of the famous antics of lead guitarist Angus Young, like mooning the crowd, being carried through the crowd on the back of singer Bon Scott (Yes! I saw Bon Scott! I’m old, I told you.), etc. It was a magical set that kept me a fan of theirs forever, sans a few albums between For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) and Razor’s Edge, when the band re-discovered their mojo. Like I’ve always told my boys, there are three sure things in life: taxes, death and the AC/DC power chord riff. By the way, Ted Nugent did headline and sucked. That was the last time I really paid attention to Nugent, or “Uncle Ted” as my oldest son calls him.
Unfortunately, it was a mere seven months when Bon Scott died after going on a bender. I remember the next day at school it seemed as though every male student, and a few females, were wearing an AC/DC concert T-shirt. They were one of the two biggest bands in popularity at my school, with the other being the original Lynyrd Skynyrd. For me, I prefer AC/DC and how throughout their career they have remained true to themselves. Very few bands can actually make that claim, even when they have brought in new singers and musicians.
By the way, I ended up taking my oldest son to see AC/DC for his sixteenth birthday in 2001, for the Stiff Upper Lip Tour. But, I had to hold my breath to make sure singer Brian Johnson did not die seven months later. WHEW! Lightning did not strike twice. Vive AC/DC!
3 thoughts on “Three Sure Things In Life: Taxes, Death And AC/DC”
Thanks for sharing this AC/DC story and though I’m a Scorpions fan, I will concede that their 1979 tour behind their Lovedrive album was nothing to get excited about – 1980’s Animal Magnetism is when I fell in with the German band sticking around through Blackout (1982) and Love At First Sting (1984) and seeing them three times live before losing interest.
Once again, your “advanced age” worked to your advantage and you got to see Bon fronting the band mere months before his fatal misadventure. I didn’t hear of AC/DC until the first day of my freshman year of high school in late August 1980 when my friend Robbie Rottet showed up at the bus stop with his guitar case emblazoned with not only AC/DC’s distinctive logo but also that of another band new to me, Def Leppard. That same afternoon or later that weekend because of football practice, I was at his house listening to the Back In Black and On Through The Night albums as well as Pat Benatar’s Crimes Of Passion album. I would later go on to see AC/DC and Def Leppard three times each but never got to see all five feet of Ms. Benatar live.
I enjoyed some of his earlier songs and the squealing crunch of “Little Miss Dangerous” (1986) but pretty much dropped Uncle Ted from my regular listening regimen and routine in the late Eighties. As I thought he had died years prior, I was surprised to see him open for Kiss in 2000 at the very last concert I ever attended; my pre-teen children were impressed with him shooting a flaming arrow into his guitar though I must report his entire, mercifully brief set sounded absolutely horrible and it wasn’t the PA system.
Looked up your AC/DC show on setlist.fm. These seven songs were reportedly performed that night; jog any memories?
“Bad Boy Boogie”
“Dog Eat Dog”
They represent seven of the nine most played songs on that particular tour with the other two being “Whole Lotta Rosie” and “Let There Be Rock”, both of which, in my Brian Johnson-era experiences, last 10-15 minutes each which would have put them way over their thirty-minute allotment. It seems odd to me that even though they released the Highway To Hell album around that same time that they weren’t playing any songs from it yet. Or maybe I just don’t understand how the touring/recording cycle worked back then.
I had stumbled across the setlist, which is what got me talking about AC/DC with Bon. FYI: I did see that little pixie with the magnificent voice Pat Benatar live on her 1981 tour, just days before going off to college. She was fantastic and should be remembered for her greatness back then. Her opening act was the pre-Buster Poindexter David Johansen, who was on that tour because MTV was pimping his live album at the time on which he was covering some of his Dolls “hits”.