REVIEW: AC/DC – Backtracks (Deluxe Edition, the big one that comes with the amp!)

 

AC/DC – Backtracks (The Ultimate Box Set) (2009) currently selling for $236.08 at www.acdcbacktracks.com

When this arrived at the house, I couldn’t believe the size of the box! I opened the carefully packed box, and removed the ample cardboard protecting my precious investment. I then removed a plastic and cardboard monstrosity known as AC/DC Backtracks; or, the most awesome kickass box set I have ever seen in my life.

And, it sounds good too!

Before I get into the good stuff (the songs), let me tell you about the box. Yes, it is a working amp, but that’s just a novelty feature. I snapped in the provided 9 volt battery, plugged in my guitar and strummed a chord. Guess what! It sounds like an amp made of cardboard and plastic powered by a 9 volt battery. No big deal. It’s a coversation piece. Like, “Hey, wanna watch this awesome concert DVD from the AC/DC box? Oh, and check it out, I can plug my guitar in it too.”

SAM_1992

Inside I discovered a really sharp hardcover photo book. This thing is huge, and loaded with photos of the band and memorability dating back to time immemmorial. Next to that, a nice big LP-sized case containing all the CDs and DVDs. (3 CDs, 2 DVDs). Up next, the LP:  the highlights from the Studio Rarities CD, in its own sealed sleeve. This was specially mastered for LP. I have not played this yet. I may not open it, I haven’t decided. There was also a poster, and a sealed cardboard envelope carrying mutiple goodies, including a guitar pick, a button, a sticker, and a temporary tattoo amongst myriad paper souvenirs.  (See below this review for a full gallery of photos)

SAM_2009

The thing about this box set, compared to the regular retail version, is the inclusion of an additional DVD and a whole CD’s worth of additional rarities. What makes this especially cool is this: aside from one single (an early single that the band did with original singer Dave Evans), this box set seems to contain every B-side, every single Australian album track, every Japanese, special edition, import, promo, and otherwise non-album song that AC/DC ever released up to 2009. Whew.

I’ve read reviews that said, “The songs are disappointing because they’re not very good, they were left off the albums for a reason.” Not so. They are quite good. Just because some were released on the band’s albums in their home country and nowhere else is not a reflection on quality. Some of these songs are some of my favourites, such as the stompin’ “Rock In Peace”, the hilarious “Crabsody In Blue” and “Cold Hearted Man”. As for the live B-sides and rare tracks…man, I can’t believe how consistantly good this band has been over the decades! Friggin’ incredible that even when you get to songs recorded well into the 90’s, AC/DC still sounded just as good. A later example is the purely smokin’ “Safe In New York City”.

The first DVD is part 3 of the Family Jewels series. It contains a whole bunch of cool music videos that you probably remember from back when MuchMusic actually used to play music videos. These are mostly some of the more recent music videos from the Ballbreaker album and beyond. A few of these I had never seen before, or only once or twice. After those, are rare videos for early tracks with both Bon and Brian. The second DVD is an exclusive to this set, recorded live in 2003 in Germany.

If you’re a truely dedicated fan that eats, breathes, sleeps AC/DC…you’ll be very very happy with this one.

5/5 stars.

Disc 1 – Studio Rarities

No. Title Original release Length
1. “High Voltage” (deluxe edition only) T.N.T. (Australian-only release) (1975) 4:18
2. “Stick Around” High Voltage (Australian release) (1975) 4:40
3. “Love Song” High Voltage (Australian release) (1975) 5:15
4. “It’s a Long Way to the Top” (deluxe edition only) T.N.T. (Australian-only release) (1975) 5:16
5. “Rocker” (deluxe edition only) T.N.T. (Australian-only release) (1975) 2:55
6. “Fling Thing” Jailbreak (7″ single) (1976) 2:00
7. “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” (deluxe edition only) Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (Australian release) (1976) 4:11
8. “Ain’t No Fun (Waitin’ Round to Be a Millionaire)” (deluxe edition only) Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (Australian release) (1976) 7:30
9. “R.I.P. (Rock in Peace)” Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (Australian release) (1976) 3:35
10. “Carry Me Home” Dog Eat Dog (7″ single) (1977) 3:58
11. “Crabsody in Blue” Let There Be Rock (Australian release) (1977) 4:43
12. “Cold Hearted Man” Powerage (original European LP pressings) (1978) 3:35
13. “Who Made Who” (deluxe edition only) Who Made Who (7″ single) (1986) 4:50
14. “Snake Eye” Heatseeker (CD single) (1988) 3:16
15. “Borrowed Time” That’s the Way I Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll (CD single) (1988) 3:45
16. “Down on the Borderline” Moneytalks (CD single) (1990) 4:15
17. “Big Gun” Last Action Hero (official movie soundtrack) (1993) 4:20
18. “Cyberspace” Stiff Upper Lip (Australian bonus CD) (2001) 2:58

Disc 2 – Live Rarities I

No. Title Original release Length
1. “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” (Live in Sydney, 30 Jan. 1977) Long Live the Evolution (compilation LP) (1977) 5:02
2. “Dog Eat Dog” (Live in Glasgow, 30 Apr. 1978) Whole Lotta Rosie (7″ single) (1978) 4:30
3. “Live Wire” (Live in London, 2 Nov. 1979) Touch Too Much (12″ single) (1980) 5:05
4. “Shot Down in Flames” (Live in London, 2 Nov. 1979) Touch Too Much (12″ single) (1980) 3:39
5. “Back in Black” (Live in Landover, MD, 20 Dec. 1981) Let’s Get It Up (12″ single) (1982) 4:21
6. “T.N.T.” (Live in Landover, MD, 20 Dec. 1981) Let’s Get It Up (12″ single) (1982) 3:58
7. “Let There Be Rock” (Live in Landover, MD, 20 Dec. 1981) For Those About to Rock (7″ single) (1982) 7:30
8. “Guns for Hire” (Live in Detroit, MI, 17 Nov. 1983) Who Made Who (7″ single) (1986) 5:21
9. “Sin City” (Live in Detroit, MI, 17 Nov. 1983 – deluxe edition only) Nervous Shakedown (12″ single) (1984) 5:30
10. “Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” (Live in Detroit, MI, 17 Nov. 1983) Nervous Shakedown (12″ single) (1984) 4:15
11. “This House Is On Fire” (Live in Detroit, MI, 17 Nov. 1983) Nervous Shakedown (12″ single) (1984) 3:25
12. “You Shook Me All Night Long” (Live in Detroit, MI, 17 Nov. 1983) You Shook Me All Night Long (12″ single) (1986) 3:30
13. “Jailbreak” (Live in Dallas, TX, 12 Oct. 1985) Shake Your Foundations (12″ single) (1986) 13:22
14. “Shoot to Thrill” (Live at Donington, 17 Aug. 1991) – deluxe edition only) Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (CD single) (1992) 5:30
15. “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be” (Live at Donington, 17 Aug. 1991 – deluxe edition only) Live (Japanese version) (1992) 4:37

Disc 3 – Live Rarities II

All of these tracks are on the deluxe edition only, except where noted.

No. Title Original release Length
1. “High Voltage” (Live at Donington, 17 Aug. 1991) Highway to Hell (CD maxi single) (1992) 9:25
2. “Hells Bells” (Live at Donington, 17 Aug. 1991) Highway to Hell (CD maxi single) (1992) 5:57
3. “Whole Lotta Rosie” (Live at Donington, 17 Aug. 1991) Hail Caesar (CD single) (1995) 4:45
4. “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” (Live at Donington, 17 Aug. 1991) Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (CD single) (1992) 5:00
5. “Highway to Hell” (Live in Moscow, 28 Sep. 1991 – standard edition also) 5 Titres Inedits En Concert (French 5-track CD) (1993) 4:00
6. “Back in Black” (Live in Moscow, 28 Sep. 1991) Big Gun (CD single) (1993) 4:10
7. “For Those About to Rock” (Live in Moscow, 28 Sep. 1991 – standard edition also) Big Gun (CD single) (1993) 6:50
8. “Ballbreaker” (Live in Madrid, 10 Jul. 1996) Stiff Upper Lip (Australian bonus CD) (2001) 4:40
9. “Hard as a Rock” (Live in Madrid, 10 Jul. 1996) Stiff Upper Lip (Australian bonus CD) (2001) 4:50
10. “Dog Eat Dog” (Live in Madrid, 10 Jul. 1996) 3 Live Tracks (No Bull promo CD single) (1996) 4:46
11. “Hail Caesar” (Live in Madrid, 10 Jul. 1996) 3 Live Tracks (No Bull promo CD single) (1996) 5:25
12. “Whole Lotta Rosie” (Live in Madrid, 10 Jul. 1996) Stiff Upper Lip (Australian bonus CD) (2001) 5:27
13. “You Shook Me All Night Long” (Live in Madrid, 10 Jul. 1996) Private Parts (official movie soundtrack) (1997) 3:58
14. “Safe in New York City” (Live in Phoenix, AZ, 13 Sep. 2000 – standard edition also) Safe in New York City (American promo CD single) (2000) 3:55

Family Jewels Disc 3 (DVD)

This DVD picks up where the original 2 DVD Family Jewels set left off (1991).

  1. “Big Gun”
  2. “Hard As A Rock”
  3. “Hail Caesar”
  4. “Cover You in Oil”
  5. “Stiff Upper Lip”
  6. “Satellite Blues”
  7. “Safe in New York City”
  8. “Rock ‘n’ Roll Train”
  9. “Anything Goes”

Bonus videos

  1. “Jailbreak”
  2. “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll)”
  3. “Highway to Hell”
  4. “You Shook Me All Night Long”
  5. “Guns for Hire”
  6. “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (live)
  7. “Highway to Hell” (live)

Bonus features

  1. “The Making of “Hard as a Rock”
  2. “The Making of “Rock ‘n’ Roll Train”

Live at the Circus Krone 2003 DVD

  1. Introduction
  2. “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be”
  3. “Back in Black”
  4. “Stiff Upper Lip”
  5. “Shoot to Thrill”
  6. “Thunderstruck”
  7. “Rock ‘n’ Roll Damnation”
  8. “What’s Next to the Moon”
  9. “Hard as a Rock”
  10. “Bad Boy Boogie”
  11. “The Jack”
  12. “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)”
  13. “Hells Bells”
  14. “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”
  15. “Rock ‘n’ Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”
  16. “T.N.T.”
  17. “Let There Be Rock”
  18. “Highway to Hell”
  19. “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)”
  20. “Whole Lotta Rosie”

Rarities 180 Gram LP

Side A

  1. “Stick Around”
  2. “Love Song”
  3. “Fling Thing”
  4. “R.I.P (Rock in Peace)”
  5. “Carry Me Home”
  6. “Crabsody in Blue”

Side B

  1. “Cold Hearted Man”
  2. “Snake Eye”
  3. “Borrowed Time”
  4. “Down on the Borderline”
  5. “Big Gun”
  6. “Cyberspace”
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