[Album Review] AC/DC | AC/DC Live

AC/DC Live was the “new album” when I was just getting into the band in ’92.  I remember other kids at school were quickly writing it off because they didn’t want to hear “Brian Johnson sing Bon Scott’s songs”.  At that time all I had heard from Bon is what is on High Voltage and Highway To Hell.  So, I jumped at a chance to get the single CD version when a friend offered to sell me one for only $10!

I asked him if the reason why he was selling it is that he didn’t like Brian singing Bon’s songs. 

“Nah, it just that every song sounds the same.”

Not this again, lol.

This was the first time I heard Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap and Whole Lotta Rosie.  I immediately began saving allowances to get my hands on the 2 disc “Collector’s Edition”.  Their live sound really clicked with me.  When these were recorded in ’91, it was still the pre-grunge era and heavy metal had yet to become a dirty word.  Malcolm Young was using a thicker gauge of strings on his rhythm guitar and the band furiously attacked each tune with a thick ‘n chunky ’90s hard rock sound.  Songs like Rosie, Dirty Deeds, and Sin City made all sorts of my mixed tapes back in the day.

In fact, there are two songs that made the “Collector’s Edition”, Heatseeker and That’s The Way I Wanna Rock ‘n Roll that I feel are even better than original recordings.  

But not every track benefited from this approach.  The brighter songs like You Shook Me All Night Long and Who Made Who sound a bit dull.  And I am lukewarm to how Jailbreak and Let There Be Rock are handled.  They are stretched to an epic-length as Angus Young would put on a visual performance during the live show.  It doesn’t translate too well for an audio-only experience.  Fun to listen to for a few times, but skippable after that.

Drummer Chris Slade needs to be mentioned here as well.  This is the only official live release with him in the band and I do enjoy his style.  He added an extra layer for AC/DC to build on with songs like Thunderstruck.  Gimmick or not, I love it when he hammers into those two big bass drums during the THUN-DER! part.

The throwback feel of High Voltage is another highlight.  It is stretched out to 10 minutes, but the band is in a real groove with a boogie beat that they rarely approach since the mid-’70s.   I just a get a feel-good vibe from this one.

One final thing to mention, if you are going to get this, get the original 2-disc CD version.  First, the vinyl omits two songs, Money Talks and Are You Ready? which is a cryin’ shame since these are (so far) the only time they appear live on an official release. 

Second, you need to keep an eye out for the “Angus Buck”!

The “Collector’s Edition” of AC/DC Live used to come with one of these and a poster!  I don’t believe any of the re-releases do.  If you find one, make sure it has the cardboard slipcover, the poster, and the Angus Buck!

Not only have you’ve found something that isn’t easy to come by but you get a cover where Brian Johnson isn’t completely cheesed out of!  

As an AC/DC album 4.5/5
Compared to everything else: Lock up your daughters.

18 comments

  1. I bought the deluxe of this on CD at the time. I was pumped that this was coming out back at the time but I hear what you’re saying about Jailbreak and Let There Be Rock as visual. But you do know that if they had edited it people would be screaming about it. lol
    I have toyed with the idea of getting this on vinyl so thanks for the heads up about two tracks being left off.
    Great writeup Kev.

    Liked by 1 person

          1. Thats crappy. Kiss ALive 2 came with the booklet and tatoos even and Maiden Live After Death came with everything.
            Kinda sucks. Glad I asked I knew by that reissue’s on CD no bucks but not on the vinyl. That’s cheap!

            Liked by 1 person

  2. This album in Oz gave The Razors Edge album a new wind and Thunderstruck became even more legendary.
    AC is a powerful live band, especially when they boogie.

    And seriously which other band brings a massive blow up doll, canons, church bells and fake money to a concert along with pyro and flames. Lol.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Those are some interesting thoughts on “Jailbreak” because personally, I love listening to this live version because I know what to expect and what Angus does during it. But it also allows me to hear Mal’s guitar better with Angus adding a little bit of flavor here and there. Chris Slade definitely brought something different to AC/DC, like those two bass drums on the side, how did he come up with that?!?!?! The intro to “Thunderstruck” itself is very busy due to Slade’s hi-hat. Also, if you listen closely to TNT, the intro is two times faster, then it starts to slow down when it gets to the oi part. It doesn’t sound that bad in the live video, but still!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I’m like that with some of their songs too, especially with “Whole Lotta Rosie.” That’s why I’m careful about about which songs I add to my playlist and which ones I toss to the side, that way when I watch concerts, I don’t get annoyed when the overplayed songs come on.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. They dropped a load of the Angus money on us at the end of one of their gigs on the Razor’s Edge tour (I think). My mate nabbed one and gave it to me later, which was an act of kindness.

    Liked by 2 people

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