Once you get past the imagery of hard rock being played in an opera house (Jack Singer Calgary) and digest the signature rasp of Brian Johnson’s sound alike, you’ll be perplexed and comforted that Classic Albums Live has done their homework in covering ACDC’s Back in Black. Why an all black album cover? It’s was produced in memory of lead singer Bon Scott who died of an “alcohol misadventure”. If you’re fifty plus, you danced to the pulsating beat of “Shoot To Thrill” and “You Shook Me All Night Long”.
It’s worth repeating that finding the on key screech to sing machismo minded lyrics must have been no easy task at auditioning. This man performed with distinction in this difficult role.
The opening was obviously anticipated with the dongs of the bell and the signature opening riff to Hell’s Bells. They weren’t going to master the 1980 studio version considering the work ACDC went through in the Bahamas back in the day to acquire the perfect sound with a real bell and studio tricks at their disposal. However; credit is cast in the delivery of the complementing solo piece which requires precision in developing the riff with timely rests.
“Shoot To Thrill” is perfectly positioned as the two track. Things really get rumbling with an accelerated tempo and knee quivering trill of this somewhat forgotten gem.
Having settled in, the next big moment of intrigue was upcoming on track one of the flip side. “Back in Black” has the memorable guitar solo and all three six stringers on stage took their turn on their Gibson SGs –of course. It was evident by now that all three guitarists were versant in playing lead and there was one in particular who was a bit more familiar with particular lead lines throughout the song list. As we all know, exuberant solos get the crowd going and this rendition of Back in Black had the audience shimmering.
The sound engineer was getting things figured out a few short chords into You Shook Me. He’d moderated the extreme frequencies certainly giving some relief to patrons like me who had forgotten ear filters at home.
“Have A Drink On Me” exemplified the general sharpness of the band and to keep it tight with three six strings competing for attention cannot be easy.
“Shake A Leg” was played with more vigour here than I can remember on the album. I believe this cover band turned the studio version into something better – not by making changes to the score but by turning up the dynamics.
Jumped free from my aisle seat right before the intermission and headed home after a long day of doing tax work. The audience would anticipate a second half featuring various other hits.