REVIEW: AC/DC – Live at River Plate (2012 German edition with bonus tracks)


AC/DC – Live at River Plate (2012 Sony Music Germany edition with three bonus tracks)

ACDC DOMESTIC STICKERTime 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.

COLOURSEverybody 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!

4/5 stars



  1. 3 albums in 20 years?! Wow, I had no idea they’d slowed things down that much. And they haven’t toured that much either then have they? I can only remember them doing one Glasgow show to accompany each album release. I never bothered with this one as I didn’t enjoy Black Ice that much.


      1. I liked Stiff Upper Lip but I thought it paled a bit compared with Ballbreaker which was a monster. I saw them on that tour (’95 or ’96) and they were absolutely brilliant. I’ve never been a headbanger (it doesn’t look as good when you have no hair to fling around), but I never stopped banging my head through the whole show (they opened with “Back In Black”).

        As for this live album, I got a copy and it’s very good but really unnecessary. There are enough great live recordings from their earlier years, and they’re not bringing anything new to the table these days. Still, that’s not a complaint, and as a document of what they sound like these days it’s excellent.


        1. You know what Rich, Ballbreaker is one that never appealed to me! I don’t know why. I haven’t played it in ages, maybe this is an excuse to do that…

          I can’t disagree with your last paragraph. I wouldn’t have bought this except for the fact I have all the others. You know what I mean, you’ve been reading me long enough :)


        2. One of the key things that made “Ballbreaker” so special to me is that it marked the return of Phil Rudd. As a fellow drummer I respect what his not-as-simple-as-it-sounds drumming brings to their music. As big a fan as I am of Chris Slade (who did a great job on The Razors Edge, and I loved his work with The Firm, Manfred Mann’s Earth Band and, later, Asia), he and the other AC’DC drummers never had the same punch as Mr. Rudd.


        3. I get that. Slade and Rudd were very different. Actually I didn’t even think to mention in my review, that this album is also different from AC/DC Live in that one essential ingredient.


        4. It’s funny that Slade was only on one AC/DC album, but because it was a huge hit AND he was featured on the subsequent live album/video that was all over MTV, he’s associated with the band by a lot of people. He may be a technically better drummer than Rudd, but Rudd’s style is more perfectly suited for them.

          Slade also toured with David Gilmour in 1984 and was featured in his live video from that tour. It’s one of my favorite live recordings of all time, but being a huge Floyd & Gilmour fan, that’s not surprising.


        5. Is that live video also available on CD?

          Rudd’s style fit them like a glove. There’s a Canadian band, The Tragically Hip. Their drummer Johnny Fay has a very simple style — but without him it wouldn’t sound like the Hip anymore. And a guy like Neil Peart recognized the talent within that style, because he listed Fay as one of his favourite drummers.

          It just fits! Slade’s no slouch of course. I still love that first Firm album.


        6. Which live video, the Gilmour? If so, no…it’s not on CD, and I don’t think it’s ever made it onto an officially released DVD. I wish I had seen that tour. I caught Roger Waters the same year and it was excellent, but Gilmour’s “About Face” and his 1978 solo debut are among my all-time favorite albums. I’ve never caught him in concert, so I made sure to own all of his live videos.

          I’m a fan of Tragically Hip, and Fay is an excellent drummer. He IS perfect for that band. I may have to cover their catalog in a future series somewhere down the line, since I own everything as well as Gordon Downie’s solo albums.


        7. Oh man, I can’t wait to read that!! Aaron’s nuts for that band too. As is my wife. She proudly informs us that she was there the night that they taped the Night In Toronto DVD.


        8. They’re a cult band here. I got into them about 10-12 years ago when a friend gave me some extra copies of their CDs. I describe them to people as REM meets Live, which usually meets with not much of a reaction. It’ll be a while before I get to their catalog as their are so many others ahead of them on my list, but it’ll happen eventually. My readership will probably decrease significantly when I do (haha).


        9. Always, always spread the Hip love! I have all the records, the box set, some singles and weird live stuff. My copy of Coke Machine Glow came as a book/cd and the book is signed by Gordie! Sure do love me some Hip. Writing them up wouldn’t get you deported. They have lots of fans in your homeland. HIP FOREVER WOOOO!!!


        10. Good to know there would be some interest in a HIP series. I doubt I’ll get to it this year as there are several artists I’m eager to get to first, but sometimes I change my mind at the last minute.

          I love how an AC/DC conversation can take a detour toward The Tragically Hip. It’s all good music, and that’s what’s important.


  2. I gather AC/DC spends the intervening years rolling in the big piles of money they have, a la Scrooge McDuck. I can only imagine the energy of one of their live shows – I’ve never been (yet). A live CD set like this would tide me over, though. Add it to the list!


    1. I have some AC/DC live DVDs too. They are all a blast! Having the music coupled with Angus continuing to do what he does…it’s amazing! The guy is a phenomenon.


  3. July 20 1980…ACDC played here in Tbay a good 5 days before Back In Black came out.!!!
    That’s how long ago!! I was 13 at the time and me and my buddy were lucky that his 19 yr sister and her boyfriend took us! I only had the Highway To Hell album and with that of course I loved that record but there was really no press on them at the time I mean I remember reading a paragraph in TV guide of all things announcing the death of Bon Scott and than less than 6 months late there playing Tbay ?? WTF comes to mind now but at the time it was like hey I gotta see this show at the gardens! The other concert I attended back in 81 also was Nugent when he played here on his Intensity in 10 cities tour.
    But back to ACDC ,u know I just seen Angus’s pics on the cover and back cover of highway to hell but man when he hit the gardens stage that night he ran from one end to the other dropped to his knees his guitar wailing and they launched into Hells Bells his back pack flapping around I was dumbfounded/speechless and realized I had some more ACDC vinyl to buy!
    Johnson owned it and the place was packed about 4,000 or so ( Streetheart opened).they never returned here again as there success went sky high….but considering these dates were booked before Back in Black hit the streets it makes sense….


    1. Man what a concert experience! Seeing AC/DC with Johnson but before BIB came out? Incredible! And they would only get bigger and bigger…Streetheart probably never have a better opening slot!


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