REVIEW: AC/DC – Stiff Upper Lip (Bonus CD)

AC/DC – Stiff Upper Lip (Bonus CD edition, 2000 Warner)

So much music, so little time! I reviewed the AC/DC album Stiff Upper Lip months and months ago. Previously, I only owned the single disc version of Stiff Upper Lip. I knew of the 2 CD Australian version, but I didn’t own it.  I thought and assumed all those bonus tracks were included on the massive AC/DC Backtracks box set. It has pretty much everything else.  However I was wrong, and I promptly bought a copy of the 2 CD version from Discogs, with plans to review it shortly after I reviewed Stiff Upper Lip itself.  That was in July.  Like I said, so much music, so little time!

Backtracks is missing two songs from the bonus CD: “Back In Black”, live from Madrid, is exclusive to this set. So is the 11 minute “Let There Be Rock”. (Meanwhile, Backtracks had plenty more songs from the Madrid show that are not on this bonus CD. Those songs are “Dog Eat Dog”, “Hail Caesar”, and “You Shook Me All Night Long”.

Confusing, huh? That’s why I’m here. To help the fans and collectors out there.

The Stiff Upper Lip bonus CD has a mix of live tracks, videos, and one rare studio recording:

      1. “Cyberspace” (Non LP Track)
      2. “Back in Black (Live – Plaza De Toros, Madrid, 1996)”
      3. “Hard as a Rock (Live – Plaza De Toros, Madrid, 1996)”
      4. “Ballbreaker (Live – Plaza De Toros, Madrid, 1996)”
      5. “Whole Lotta Rosie (Live – Plaza De Toros, Madrid, 1996)”
      6. “Let There Be Rock (Live – Plaza De Toros, Madrid, 1996)”
      7. “Stiff Upper Lip” (Music video)
      8. “Safe in New York City” (Music video)
      9. “Satellite Blues” (Music video)

I don’t care so much about music videos on a CD. Since the early 2000’s, bands tend to include a bonus DVD with their albums instead of videos on an enhanced CD. Plus we have Youtube now, most music videos are available online 24/7 on demand.

Skipping the videos, the most interesting track here is “Cyberspace” which was also a B-side to the “Safe in New York City” single. I hate songs about the internet (see: “Virtuality” by Rush) but thankfully “Cyberspace” kicks real ass. Sonically it’s the same as the rest of Stiff Upper Lip: hard, loud, stripped back. It’s also fast and memorable, making it one of the most interesting Stiff Upper Lip songs. Highly recommended to fans of this album.

Then you get the five live songs, originally from the 1996 concert in Madrid that was released on DVD as No Bull. I always prefer an audio format to a video one. I’ll tell you that the “new” songs from Ballbreaker were awesome live! In particular the title track, but “Hard as a Rock” is relentless and classic sounding. Meanwhile you can’t say anything bad about “Back in Black” or “Rosie”. You could argue that you didn’t need more live versions; I’d argue just to not buy this CD.

Finally “Let There Be Rock” is present in full-on extended live version. Angus wails away like a man possessed, a man in a trance, a man at one with the rock! With the rest of AC/DC behind him, you couldn’t ask for a more solid backing band, which makes the whole thing work.

As a companion piece to the whole Stiff Upper Lip album, I give the bonus CD:

4/5 stars

More AC/DC at mikeladano.com:

Live at River Plate (German import, 3 bonus tracks) – Backtracks (3 CD/2 DVD guitar amp box set) – Bonfire (5 CD box set)- Stiff Upper Lip

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12 comments

  1. Pretty sure this was the record they were touring when we lived in Montreal and all their fans went running up St-Catherine Street in the rain, high on adrenaline, fresh from the show. Good times. I honestly haven’t heard more than the single from the, though, I don’t think. So this post is even one step further, a buncha bonus tracks too? Dammit Lebrain, how’s a guy supposed to keep up with you? :)

    Also, Cyberspace. Most generally credit the AMAZING (highly recommended reading love it love it love it) William Gibson…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberspace#Origins_of_the_term

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  2. Stiff Upper Lip is the only ‘DC album I don’t own – they’re my favourite band but I kinda lost faith in them at that point. I’ll see if I can find a good vinyl copy.

    No Bull is a great video – I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a crowd bounce that way before.

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  3. Im with u on that comment 1537…for me it was Ballbreaker,albeit it still bought Stiff…and Black Ice but if u were to quiz me on those two I would fail miserably!
    My two favs are Powerage and Flick Of The Switch!
    And believe it or not For Those About To Rock is a close third……
    Sumthin about that one even though it’s sides 3 and 4 of Back In Black I still dig it even to this day!

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  4. FTATR is a KILLER!!! Love that album and there are songs on there that beats stuff on Back In Black. Can’t find one bad song on that album. Flick Of The Switch too is so underrated although the sound leaves a lot to be desired. But after FOTS things turned sour. Fly On The Wall was boring, Blow Up Your Video is the worst piece of crap they ever recorded and The Razor’s Edge had its moments, but was kinda dull for the most parts. And Bruce Fairbairn’s slick production didn’t fit the band all that well.
    This album, however, is great. I think, in many ways, it sounds like Bon Scott era AC/DC with Brian Johanson singing. I’d give this album an 8/10 rating.

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    1. Right on Jon. Blow Up Your Video…what the hell happened there? They came out with a couple of great singles, and then the album was loaded with weird semi-songs that felt sluggish and incomplete.

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      1. Yeah, Heatseeker was a great song, but then….
        Same with Razor’s Edge. Thunderstruck and Moneytalks were awesome, but I hardly remember the rest of the songs.

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        1. Are You Ready was OK….Mistress For Christmas had its jokey quality and is one of the few Christmas songs I like, still gets played on the radio here. I also liked the title track, and If You Dare. So I’d consider Razors Edge to be about “half” an album.

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