From Hell: AC/DC at the Xcel Again

From Hell: AC/DC at the Xcel Again

Xcel Center, January 19
By Peter S. Scholtes

My tire blew out on the highway to hell -- namely I-94 to St. Paul from Madison, Wisconsin -- so I missed the Answer, the opening band for AC/DC, except as background noise for the men's room, "where the dicks hang out," as one guy put it, and where a spontaneous running joke among apparent strangers talking on their cell phones added this to the din: "Yeah, the Black Crowes are just about done," "Yeah, Tesla's still playing." Over in the women's room, women smoked, or so I'm told. So this was the AC/DC crowd, all right, albeit here for the band's second run through town on the same tour, with an identical setlist to last November, and with every reason to believe the band would be on the fatigued side of doing it to death.

From Hell: AC/DC at the Xcel Again

From Hell: AC/DC at the Xcel Again

I had to admit, there is no more decadent or stupid way of celebrating Martin Luther King Day in 2009 than watching AC/DC perform "War Machine," with a cartoon behind them showing a bomber dropping guitars. But that's the moment my own pleasure centers sprang open: AC/DC's silliness is purposeful and sublime, like every little melody in "You Shook Me All Night Long," or the blunt beat of "TNT" (more real fire!), and the baby-got-back of "Whole Lotta Rosie," which in concert involved a giant blow-up highlight-blonde with a tit tattoo straddling the locomotive, tapping her foot to the beat. I realized that Cliff Williams's approach to bass is AC/DC's approach to a rock concert: Withhold, then kick in. Because, as people who couldn't get their tickets the first time around know, pleasure delayed is pleasure enhanced. Which is why this was my first AC/DC concert.

--Peter S. Scholtes

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