Friday, May 13, 2016

AC/DC feat. Axl Rose @ Stade Vélodrome, Marseille, France - May 13th, 2016

When AC/DC ended their last album/tour cycle, they probably didn't expect the next one to be so bumpy. Founding guitarist Malcolm Young, stricken with dementia, had to retire and was replaced by his nephew Stevie Young. Then drummer Phil Rudd's excesses caught up with him and he had to be replaced by a returning Chris Slade after the new album was recorded. And if that wasn't enough, mid-way through the tour, vocalist Brian Johnson had to drop out because of a hearing problem. Or so they say...

Whatever the real reason was, the fact is they had to interrupt the tour and find a new singer to complete the remaining dates. Enter Axl Rose.

The ginger midget would be anyone's last pick to fill in for a vocalist in a such a professional band. His reputation for being volatile, late to his own concerts and prone to fits of rage don't exactly fit with the way the AC/DC ship seems to be run. And of course, before he was even due to start his engagement with the veteran hard rockers, he broke his foot at the premiere of the reunion tour of his own band Guns N' Roses.

That did not bode well for anyone involved, and some people opted to get their money back when he was announced as the singer. Others went in expecting a train wreck. And the fact is, Axl proved them all wrong.

Not only is he able to sing those very demanding songs in their original key, which Brian hasn't been able to do for decades, he has proven himself to be the consummate professional, showing up on time and playing the Rock Or Bust set with a commitment and drive to behold. As if that display of heroism wasn't enough, he also suggested that the band played some songs from their repertoire that they hadn't done in years... and Angus complied.

Decades of unprofessional behaviour, narcissism and shitty performances all forgiven and forgotten because the man reunited with two of his former bandmates and stepped in to save the day. Hopefully Brian will return to AC/DC. Or maybe they'll have to find a new permanent singer. Maybe Axl can pull double duties, singing for both Guns and Acca Dacca.

But from this day on, now and forever, Axl will be remembered as the man who saved AC/DC, just like Brian Johnson did on the heels of a tragedy some thirty six years ago. 

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