Live at River Plate (2012)

Disc One 1. Rock 'N' Roll Train 2. Hell Ain't a Bad Place To Be 3. Back in Black 4. Big Jack 5. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap 6. Shot Down in Flames 7. Thunderstruck 8. Black Ice 9. The Jack 10.Hells Bells Disc Two 1. Shoot to Thrill 2. War Machine 3. Dog Eat Dog 4. You Shook Me All Night Long 5. TNT 6. Whole Lotta Rosie 7. Let There Be Rock 8. Highway to Hell 9. For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)


O.K. I admit it. I really did not want to give this CD a high rating. I really didn’t even want to like it at all. I wanted to say something crass like “Why in the world do we need another AC/DC live album?” Or “They must be desperate to cash in, and since they haven’t been writing and recording much new material….” Well, both of those things are true, but the fact remains, AC/DC is still a killer live band, and anytime they release an entire show on an audio or video package, you know it’s going to kick some serious ass.

This is exactly the case here. The River Plate is somewhere in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the South American crowd is on fire. This only helps a band like AC/DC. Put these guys in front of a mild, mannered set of concert goers, and the experience would be quite different. Brian Johnson’s vocal chords sound a bit shredded after all these years, but he’d been screaming his lungs out with this band for over 30 years. Besides, does anyone really care if his voice sounds a bit “rough”? He never claimed to be a Luciano Pavarotti. The other four guys are in top form.

The only thing that caused me to knock this thing down a half-star was the “predictability” factor. Since they were promoting their latest album at the time, 2008’s Black Ice, there are a handful of new tracks from that record. Fortunately, although that album was a bit mixed in terms of quality, they feature the prime cuts from that record here. Now, once you get past the new songs however, there are no real surprises. Sometimes I wish they would pull out two or three “deep cuts”, but that never seems to happen on AC/DC live albums. I’m not trying to sound overly negative, but after all this time, we really don’t need yet another version of Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be. In fact, I would wager a hypothetical bet. I would bet that if you’ve never heard this record, and you didn’t look at the track listing, 90 % of AC/DC fans would be able to easily guess 5 out of the last 6 (if not all 6) of the songs at the end. It really is a bit too predictable.

Fortunately, though, the guys are on fire, and even an 18-minute version of Let There Be Rock is a welcome addition. The band sounds about 40 years younger than they actually are. Had they never released a live album (nor had a couple of box sets with oodles of live material), this one would have easily been a classic. As it is, however, it’s a bit predictable, but still a great listen.

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