In 2005, AC/DC released the compilation video Family Jewels that sold really freakin’ well. It would easier for me to name the places where it didn’t go platinum than did. The only option was for the band was to follow it up with another. They called it Plug Me In, released it in 2007, and it is even better.
Family Jewels was fairly bare bones for what it is, 3 hours of videos on two discs. For Plug Me In AC/DC went all out. The three discs in the set are loaded with material totaling 380 minutes of rock, interviews, and Angus dancing around naked in 1976. Most of it is live too, with only a few performances set to backing tracks for Television.
The discs are made up of one to several tunes from various live events throughout the decades. All are presented in chronological order, with Disc 1 being from the Bon Scott era, the second is Brian Johnson material, and the third is mostly bonus tracks.
Since all of the content is taken from various shows, it will be way too much for me to detail for everything, so I’ll give you some the highlights and general thoughts:
Disc 1: The Bon Scott Era
- In 1976 for a show called Super Pop in the UK, they performed the most mid-tempo version of Live Wire I have ever heard. I wonder if they were told to keep it low key. And they’re using Orange amps! They must have been a show sponsor.
- It is surprising to see how often Angus wore something other than the School Uniform in the early days.
- Several clips from the ’78 Glasgow Show that was used for the live album If You Want Blood… You Got It! are here: Let There Be Rock, Rock ‘N Roll Damnation, and Dog Eat Dog which did not make the album. Bad Boy Boogie from the same show is on disc 3.
Disc 2: The (continuing) Brian Johnson Era
- The Japanese crowd in ’81 throw rolls of toilet paper at the band. I’m sure with was meant as a compliment.
- It is sad how little material there is of AC/DC’s live shows in the ’80s. The disc jumps from ’83 to ’91.
- One of Angus’ strings goes out of tune during Whole Lotta Rosie when performing in front of 1.6 million people in Russia in ’91. He handled it like a pro.
- Only Gone Shooting from the 1996 VH-1 special made it. I wish it were the whole performance.
- The band performs Ride On in Paris in 2003. I believe this is the only recording of Brian singing the song.
- Their portion of the Downsview Toronto Rocks film done after the SARS scare is here. Remember that huge outbreak of SARS? Scary times. Good thing nothing like that could happen again…
Disc 3: Between The Cracks
- It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘N Roll) is awkward to play live when the whole band needs to tune down a half a step to match the bagpipes.
- Guns For Hire is only one track from Flick of The Switch rehearsals here. Another one that I wish were the whole session.
- The real treat on this disc for me here is the 52 minutes from the Houston Summit show in 1983. I don’t understand why we still don’t have an official full concert video or live album from this era.
As for the set itself, the entire thing is held together well with all of the CDs having their own home in comfy plastic. The bonus trinkets include a poster, a book, and a bunch of
fake replica passes which get their own pocket in the middle to keep them safe like a baby kangaroo.
With a presentation done this well and the staggering amount of content, Plug Me In is an easy recommendation to every AC/DC fan. The DVD menus are presented like they are in an old arcade game or cabinet. The arcade games themselves are not playable, but you can program your own setlist or play the tunes randomly. The image quality is quite good on an HD set too. I watched them all on my 4K TV and, unlike Family Jewels, it all looks like the videos have been enhanced from the source material.
It is not easy to find this attention to detail put into physical media today. This is a must buy. Worth every penny. Be sure to grab the 3 disc collectors edition or we are not friends.