The only movie powered by AC/DC. This legendary concert film, covering a 1979 Paris concert during the Australian heavy metal band's "Highway To Hell" tour showcases the power and precision that the quintet bring to vicious rockers like "Whole Lotta Rosie" and "Let There Be Rock." Pixieish lead guitarist Angus Young, attired in his trademark school-boy's uniform, takes center stage with his energetic antics and frenetic solos, while the rest of the band crank out their minimalist boogie with quiet determination. Interview segments and humorous backstage footage show another side to the thuggish musicians, especially AC/DC's flamboyant lead singer Bon Scott, who died two months after this filmed concert.
Two generations of AC/DC freaks have come of age since Let There Be Rock
, but while the band has done just fine, thank you, with Brian Johnson as its lead singer, there are those who still consider the late Bon Scott to be the real AC/DC front man. They're the ones most likely to be stoked by the video release of this concert film, recorded in Paris in 1979--especially considering that it was Scott's final filmed performance; he died just two months later--but there's plenty here for all the band's adherents. They were riding high at the time on Highway to Hell
, their biggest album to date, so about a third of the 13-song set comes from that recording--including the title tune, arguably the catchiest combination of riff and chorus in the entire AC/DC canon (although "The Jack," "Let There Be Rock," and "Whole Lotta Rosie" are right up there). But it's never really been about the tunes with these guys; theirs is a style built on crunchy, three-chord rock, short on melody but big on groove, with the anonymous but solid rhythm section of rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young, drummer Phil Rudd, and bass player Cliff Williams holding it all down. Scott, a bare-chested shrieker, struts about like Robert Plant, but then as now, it's diminutive lead guitarist Angus Young who steals the show. Decked out in his usual schoolboy uniform, Young is a ball of antic energy from the first notes, duck-walking à la Chuck Berry, throwing himself on the floor, stalking and prancing about the stage, doing a kind of striptease and mooning the crowd during "Bad Boy Boogie"… and still managing to turn out some scorching solos. The film includes interview segments (featuring inane questions like "Are you waiting for the Third World War?" and "Do you feel you're a star?"), as well as some shots of the boys goofing around offstage--filler, basically, until we return to the power and glory of AC/DC's music. --Sam Graham