One of my favourite things about going through my AC/DC collection is finding gold in the stuff I have overlooked. Stiff Upper Lip Live is treasure chest full. I spin AC/DC’s albums everyday, but I don’t really make much time for the home videos. I remember buying this in 2001 and watching it once before putting it on the shelf. I haven’t watched it again until this past weekend. What a mistake. I don’t remember how I felt in back then, but my fresh eyes were blown away by how truly great it is.
Stiff Upper Lip Live was filmed on June 14th, 2001 in Munich, Germany. The venue was the Olympiastadion with 80,000 people in attendance. And let me tell you, this crowd was INTO it. They didn’t even want The Jack to end. It takes a special kind of AC/DC fan to not want The Jack to end.
The entire set list is mind blowing for AC/DC. They are usually set in their ways for live shows. Same songs, different order, a few from the new album mixed in. But I was surprised to see what was on this list.
They brought back Bad Boy Boogie and Problem Child – Wow, OK. I don’t think they played those since the ’80s. I never heard Brian sing them before.
What Do You Do For Money Honey – Crazy! They haven’t played that since the Back In Black tour!
Up To My Neck in You – SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!
Another highlight is Hard As A Rock. It is not my favourite tune but the energy the band was getting from the crowd while playing it made it special.
The rest is the standard stuff that is played at every show. Whole Lotta Rosie, Thunderstruck, Back In Black, etc. Although it was a little weird to see only one song from Stiff Upper Lip on a DVD titled Stiff Upper Lip Live. But the one song they played was Stiff Upper Lip so it isn’t a lie. Everyone following me so far?
The band had one final surprise. The have ended most (if not all) of their shows since the For Those About To Rock Tour with For Those About To Rock (We Salute You). It is a tough tune to follow up with a big crescendo at the end. And they do play it here. With confetti, fire, and the cannons. The whole bit. We all know it is the last song.
But, it wasn’t that night. They come out again and get the whole place rocking to Shot Down in Flames before exiting the stage for good! What?!?! Crazy.
The DVD also sports superb DTS audio track. Cliff’s bass is a little weak in the mix, but Phil’s drums carried a lot of weight on the bottom end. Angus and Malcolm’s guitars are strong but not over powering, and Brian is nice and clear through out. I bathed in that surround sound.
You might be wondering why I’m reviewing the DVD and not the Blu-ray. The reason being because there isn’t one, and I think I know why. This production used camera’s on wires like what they would use for NFL football games at the time. It is a excellent idea for some different angles, but there is a noticeable drop in image quality whenever they switch to one. A result of 2001 remote camera technology vs. film cameras.
This drop would be exaggerated more if they were to up the resolution to 1080p, let alone 4K. There are solutions, all are expensive except leaving it as is. You can see what I’m talking about on this HD* clip on YouTube. One of the “floating” shots is at 1:11:
It is a shame too because out of all of AC/DC’s home video concerts, I have mad respect for this set list the most. After little variation between previous live videos, Live at Donington and No Bull, Stiff Upper Lip Live brought back some old favourites and delivered a few surprises while the band has a great rapport with the crowd.
It is out of print now and I see a few copies on eBay with some gross Canadian shipping costs attached. You can find streams of the full show online with the only the DTS audio track and a 10 minute interview with the band missing. The interview is nothing to write home about, except for Malcolm’s part:
Thanks for buying the DVD. I hope it is hot shit.
I’d say so.
*It is a 480p clip taken from the DVD that is up-converted to 720p. Trust me, it is not the same as a native HD transfer.