AC/DC-Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown
American Airlines Center
Feb. 23, 2016
Words by A. Lee Graham
Rock or Bust | Shoot to Thrill | Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be | Back in Black | Got Some Rock & Roll Thunder | Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap | Thunderstruck | High Voltage | Rock 'n' Roll Train | Hells Bells | Given the Dog a Bone | Sin City | You Shook Me All Night Long | Shot Down in Flames | Have a Drink on Me | T.N.T. | Whole Lotta Rosie | Let There Be Rock
Highway to Hell | For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)
There’s something undeniable about a well-executed guitar riff.
Loud, proud, and in your face, it’s the essence of rock and roll delivered in a few picking motions.
And few bands deliver the almighty riff better than AC/DC, which barreled through countless such passages before a sold-out Dallas crowd. American Airlines Center reverberated with volume recently, with 18,000 fans threatening to drown out their hard rock heroes.
But the boys with the toys — the loud toys — would have nothing of it. They powered through 20 classic tunes delivered with the gusto of musicians half their age. Anchoring the festivities was Angus Young, the forever-young schoolboy bobbing his head and strutting down the runway cutting through the floor section.
He’s been at it since AC/DC burst onto the scene in the ‘70s with such classic platters as High Voltage, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Let There Be Rock and Powerage. Virtually all material from those molten creations remains vital today, as does latter material from Highway To Hell, Back In Black, For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) and everything released since.
Sure, yours truly considers For Those About To Rock the band’s last true classic (though arguments could be made for Flick Of The Switch), but AC/DC knows what they do and they do it well.
Kicking things off was Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown, Nashville boys rooted in blues and classic rock. Wearing their influences proudly on their sleeves (think Aerosmith, Black Crowes, even Muddy Waters), the band — fronted by its Texas native namesake — carries the old-school torch for a younger generation.
The same could be said for the countless families packing the venue. From 8 to 80, fans spanned the age spectrum. Sightings of grown men — some seemingly north of 60 years old — sporting Angus Young shorts-and-tie outfits below their remaining grey hairs could be seen. So could the illuminated devil horns adorning hundreds of fans who bought the headgear at the merch booth.
After thanking the horn-hatted audience, Tyler and company left the stage, leaving a solid of Marshall amps foretelling things to come. And those things would be loud!
Following a brief video montage, AC/DC kicked into “Rock Or Bust,” the title track from its latest album. What followed was a muscular set spanning the band’s catalog, though rooted in the Brian Johnson years (appropriate since he’s been lead throat since taking over from the late Bon Scott for 1980’s Back In Black).
From “Shoot to Thrill,” “Given The Dog a Bone” and “Thunderstruck” to “T.N.T.,” “Hell Ain’t A Bad Place to Be” and “Let There Be Rock,” the tunes kept coming. The pace seemed too much for Johnson at times, whose voiced strained on occasion, but he mostly weathered the sonic storm.
Meanwhile, Angus seemed impervious to exhaustion. His Chuck Berry-on-speed antics never faded as he pranced, strutted and teased the audience with his guitar work, showcased most impressively following “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” and “Let There Be Rock.”
Newcomer Stevie Young seamlessly filled the rhythm guitar slot following Malcolm Young’s recent retirement. Angus’ brother, considered among rock’s great rhythm players, left some not-so-big shoes to fill (the Young’s feet are rather small), but Uncle Stevie fills that role admirably.
Framing the band’s meat-and-potatoes rock were the usual set of props, from an oversized, inflated woman and cannons accompanying “Whole Lotta Rosie” and “For Those About To Rock,” respectively.
Fun as those visuals were, it’s the music that counts with AC/DC, and they did not disappoint. With retirement rumors running rampant, fans should waste no time in catching this tour before the boys ride on…