The family that rocks together, rolls togetherFront man Brian Johnson prowls the stage like a middleweight slugger in jeans,
By: Tony Bender, The Dickinson Press
Front man Brian Johnson prowls the stage like a middleweight slugger in jeans, leather boots and a trademark sleeveless shirt, exposing pretty good guns. He attacks each song like he’s dragging it out back to kick its ass.
Lungs of steel bellow out naughty schoolboy hormonal sentiments involving back seats, explosives, power chords, sweat and swagger. There will be no surrender tonight — no 10-minute power ballad that brings out the Bic lighters to be held like candles in the wind to show their softer side.
This is AC/DC. There is no softer side.
There is only one way. Straight ahead and proudly so down their own Highway to Hell at 100 mph. Red devil horns flash among the crowd. Everyone is in on the joke. Yeah, we get it. We’re sooo bad. Check us out. We rock, dude.
We’re at the Fargodome with last-minute seats scored on e-Bay. Seats so high my ears popped climbing to them. Seats so far up I felt like planting a flag when I got there. Maybe you saw me. I was the one in the black T-shirt. The whole family was there. The family that rocks together, rolls together.
The Redhead has her hair in an Amy Winehouse bouffant.
We found $3 parking somewhere near Casselton and literally had to walk sideways through a crevice that had been shoveled through a wall of snow. Like Visigoth hordes, the youngest fans went over the top. Bodies sprawled at the bottom, giggling. This is how we rock, how we roll in North Dakota.
Angus Young rakes his pick across the guitar strings, looking like a truant schoolboy. His arm is raised high and then he strums mightily again, head back, eyes rolling — the kind of behavior that will get you Lithium in the psych ward.
Phil Rudd pounds the drums like a cur, delivering the beat that keeps Angus’s feet chopping madly at the floor. Malcolm Young and Cliff Williams, rhythm guitar and bass, respectively, survey the mayhem from their lairs on either side of the drum kit. From time to time, they step forward, lean into the mikes like they are cutting through a hard wind and they add their voices to Johnson’s howl. When they are done, they pivot and stride back to their places, heads down, long hair obscuring faces.
The crowd knows every lyric, every chorus, and they shout, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap!” with gusto, as Johnson shrieks about all the bad things he’s gonna do, and you wonder just how these guys have managed to stay out of prison for so long. They’re sooo bad. And we’re sooo bad for indulging them.
I’m the one in the black T-shirt. Maybe you saw me.
I realize my face hurts from grinning. When Angus strips down to expose AC/DC boxer shorts, India giggles. Sure, it’s juvenile, but it sure is fun. The band has us remembering what it was like to be 14 again, brash, invincible and naughty.
This is rock and roll. It is blood, smoke, gristle, madmen howls and guitar solos, duckwalks and yes, cannons. It is bravado, machismo and sass. It is primal, spit in your eye and mud on your boots. Sophisticated? Nah, we can barely spell it.
Dylan stomps his feet as the band kicks into “A Whole Lot of Rosie.” India’s eyes widen as a 50-foot inflatable woman from the wrong side of the tracks dominates the stage. The Redhead and I grin.
When it is over, I don’t resent the price of the tickets. I still resent the climb, mind you, but it’s been quite a show. I see some familiar faces in the crowd as we trudge back out into the snow — 21,700 of us — and everyone seems to be smiling, because in some way we’ve bonded, and I start to think that maybe rock-n-roll can save the world after all.
A white stretch limo creeps past as we walk out. I peer into the blackened windows and I wonder… I get the distinct feeling Angus Young is looking back at me.
I salute the car.