AC/DC shook San Francisco all night long (REVIEW)

in SF Concert Reviews by

Pilots flying over San Francisco must have been dumbfounded on Friday night, looking down at the city as it sparkled in little red dots over AT&T Park. Why? 50,000 AC/DC fans had congregated in the legendary stadium wearing flashing electric devil horns to pay homage to a band they had listened to, grown up with, and for some, religiously followed for all these years.

And it was loud. You couldn’t help but feel bad for the neighboring residents of AT&T Park that were worried about noise levels that evening. Their windows must have shook “all night long!” But just like AC/DC proudly states in one of their songs, “Rock n Roll ain’t noise pollution!” And as the song goes on to eventually say unapologetically, “Are you deaf you wanna hear some more?”

“More!” is what they screamed for and the powerhouse of Angus, 60, and Johnson,67, were ready to give it to them. The dynamic duo took the stage for the first time in San Francisco in almost 36 years, with the same youthful energy they had back when the band started some 40 years ago. Young proudly pulled out his classic schoolboy outfit and Johnson his trademark nasally snarl, and both sweated the night away with passion, talent and pride. Let’s face it, the boys have a formula, it’s not pretty, but it works.

An estimated 50,000 fans were in attendance at the sold out show, a crowd that came in all shapes and sizes: old rocker dads in denim jackets with rock n roll patches, younger ladies in daisy dukes, older ladies in daisy dukes, all there to support a band that’s carried the rock n roll torch for almost four decades now. And it’s easy to understand why when you look at the impressive volume of AC/DC’s catalogue that made for an unforgettable night of hit after hit for the lucky concert attendees that scored a ticket to the sold out show.

The stage was crazy, and was built with two massive devil horns on top, straddled by two equally gigantic LED screens so that people wouldn’t miss one single guitar lick or chuck-berry hop strut that Young is famous for. Chuck Berry wasn’t the only influence during the show, Jimmy Page was there as well when Young took off his tie and began to use it as bow on his classic Gibson, the same way the legendary guitarist of Led Zeppelin did with a bow back in the 70s. That wasn’t the only theatric involved on this rare warm evening in San Francisco, as a giant AC/DC branded bell came ringing down from above for “Hell’s Bells” that swung over the band and created an unforgettable moment for the frenzied audience.

Pyros that consisted of flames and strobes kicked off the show and were topped off with a powerful fireworks show to end the night. Filling in for rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young was Stevie Young, Angus and Malcolm’s nephew, who did a stellar job at filling some mighty big shoes. On drums, Phil Rudd, was absent because of some very public legal matters, but Chris Slade was quick to pick of the sticks and carry on where he left off.

Overall, they were flawless on every level and held the energy on high as they played “You Shook Me All Night Long,” “Hells Bells,” “T.N.T.,” and “Whole Lotta Rosy” (with a giant inflatable Rosie sitting right on top of the stage and waving her hand during the song’s chorus.) The evening was raw, un-edited, bluesy and soulful, and helped to remind people that there was time in history when music was played by musicians, without computers and loops, and actually made people feel something that was human and not simply the product of a complicated binary equation created by a elaborate algorithm.

With a discography that includes albums on Digital Nations (a Steve Vai imprint), music critic Louis Raphael has always kept a pulse on the San Francisco music scene. After years as the San Francisco Music Examiner for and, he decided to start Music in SF® as a way to showcase what the San Francisco music scene really has to offer.