Back from an eight-year hiatus and looking as if
they aged 20 in that time (Young is 53, singer Brian Johnson is 61),
AC/DC nonethless remains the ultimate juvenile, shirt-untucked,
fists-clenched bad-boy rock band. Which is pretty much the same as
saying they’re the ultimate rock band, period.
If Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode” and Elvis’
“Jailhouse Rock” were the blueprint for rock ’n’ roll, with their
troublemaker attitudes, vague sexuality and so-simple-they’re-genius
guitar riffs, then AC/DC is today’s best living, breathing,
crowd-mooning manifestation of those designs.
The band hasn’t grown up or changed one iota.
Their new Wal-Mart-exclusive album, “Black Ice,” sounds like it
could have been the follow-up to 1980’s “Back in Black” or 1990’s
“The Razors Edge.” The tour features many of the same songs and same
gimmicks as their outings of the past 25 years, i.e., the “Hell’s
Bells” ringing, the “For Those About to Rock” cannon salutes and the
“Let There Be Rock” shoulder-ride around the arena.
And yes, Angus still wears that schoolboy uniform.
That stupid, hokey, beautiful velvet-jacket, tie and shorts
ensemble, which is to rock ’n’ roll what Dorothy’s ruby-red shoes
are to cinema or Superman’s cape is to comic books.
Bring on the sameness. Not every band has to be
like Lou Reed or Neil Young, trying to reinvent the wheel every time
out. At least not a band like AC/DC, so steeped in rock’s most basic
principles that it would be laughable to see them try anything that
actually requires much trying.