AC/DC – Live at River Plate (2012 Sony Music Germany edition with three bonus tracks)
Time moves agonizingly slow in AC/DC Land. Witness the nine years between Stiff Upper Lip and the band’s latest studio album Black Ice. Even more astonishing is the fact that Live at River Plate is AC/DC’s first live album in 20 years! Granted, only three studio albums came between AC/DC Live and this record. Still, most bands of AC/DC’s ilk tend to release live albums as if it’s an annual occasion.
I’ll give AC/DC credit for something: value. Of Live at River Plate‘s 22 tracks, only 12 were on the last live album. Live at River Plate is a lot more Bon-heavy. It also draws several tracks from Black Ice itself, which is nice, but you get the feeling that these were the “let’s go take a piss” songs in concert.
“We don’t speak very good Spanish,” says Brian, “but we speak Rock and Roll pretty good! Let’s go!” Then the band tear into the golden oldie, “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be”, which last time, was relegated to B-side status, on the 1992 live “Highway to Hell” single. Brian Johnson’s voice is noticeably more whispery. This is inevitable, singing this kind of music. Considering this, it’s astonishing to hear Brian as ferocious as ever on “Let There Be Rock”. How the man still has a voice after all these years is a mystery to science.
Hit after hit with new tracks mixed in, AC/DC roll ’em out: “Black in Black”, “Dirty Deeds”, “Thunderstruck”, “Hells Bells”, “The Jack” along with newbies like “Black Ice”. Meanwhile, Angus struts out his unmistakable guitar glee in extended solos and trade-offs with Brian. The most exciting thing about AC/DC on stage remains Angus Young. Even without the visuals of the shorts and the stomping, Angus continues to entrance, just doing what he does and making it all sound easy.
Disc 2 is just as heavy on the hits: “You Shook Me All Night Long”, “Rosie”, “T.N.T.”, “Highway”, “For Those About to Rock”. “War Machine” from Black Ice gives the audience a chance to get a beer, even though it’s as menacingly good as classics like “The Razors Edge”.
One thing that hasn’t been highly publicized is that the German edition of this album includes three bonus tracks. These bonus tracks are real treats, of the underplayed AC/DC variety! All three are taken from the Live at Circus Krone DVD, which was only available with the massive AC/DC Backtracks box set. Sweet.
Everybody loves “Rock ‘N’ Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution”, and it’s still as entertaining as ever, if a little less energetic. “If You Want Blood” is another favourite, from the Bon era. Bon used to sing this one at maximum lung power, but Bon was a 33 year old man. Brian was 55 when he sang this. I’m glad for its inclusion, as it’s still a high voltage head banger. But the real treat is “What’s Next to the Moon”, an oldie from Powerage that isn’t on any AC/DC live album except this German edition. And it prowls like a wolf, with teeth.
Live at River Plate was released in three colours (red, yellow, blue) in North America, but I don’t know about this German edition. The only pictures I’ve seen of it were red, like mine.
The single from this album was the Record Store Day 2011 exclusive “Shoot to Thrill” / “War Machine”. I don’t have anything in particular to say about the single, except it sure took them long enough to put out a full live album!