25/05/2024 – AC/DC @ RCF Arena

25/05/2024 – AC/DC @ RCF Arena
25/05/2024 – AC/DC @ RCF Arena

Report and cover photo by Alessandro Corno

It was a sensational, historic, epochal event to say the least, which saw AC/DC return to Italy last night for the first time after eight years from the show held in 2015 in Imola.
This time the band led by Angus Young and with Brian Johnson back on vocals – after the stop a few years ago due to hearing problems and the temporary replacement with Axl Rose (!) – did it in great style, filling completely the RCF Arena in Reggio Emilia, also known as Campovolo: the largest Italian event arena, in fact, sold out over one hundred thousand tickets in a few hours, effectively marking the largest concert held by AC/DC in Italy in terms of number of spectators.
Well aware of the logistical and traffic difficulties that physiologically an event of this magnitude can reserve, we decide to reach the arena by motorbike in the late afternoon and park in a corner on the side of the road, thus avoiding the queues that from what we know reported, they affected the area surrounding the venue already in the morning.
Upon our arrival we are amazed by the order in which the audience slowly swarms towards the entrance gates and in a very short time we reach the access control and are given the bracelet for the Red Zone, the one closest to the stage. While in the background The Pretty Reckless finish a show that unfortunately we didn’t have the opportunity to see, we take just the time for a brief look at the official merchandise, obviously at high costs, at the food & beverage managed with the infamous tokens which are certainly not cheap, and in less than ten minutes we are already in front of the stage.
The climate is perfect, the atmosphere is very tense and the view of the RCF Arena full of fans is goosebumps. The big party is about to begin.

Brian Johnson, Angus Young, Stevie Young and newcomers Matt Laug on drums and Chris Chaney on bass take the stage to the tune of “If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)”, accompanied by a deafening ovation from the audience – but, being in front of AC/DC we expected nothing less.
The stage is gigantic, the amplification too and the lighting system is nothing short of pharaonic. The sound in the Red Zone is perfect and the scenography, composed of an infinite series of lights and enormous LED walls that project a mix of live images and graphics themed with the songs, is of great impact.
Brian starts out a little cold but gradually warms up as the pieces go by, including immortal classics of hard rock music such as “Back In Black”, “Shot Down In Flames” and “Hells Bells” and other more recent productions such as “Demon Fire ” and “Shot In The Dark” from the latest album “Power Up”, to which this tour is dedicated.
The live performance of the two songs is good, as is that of “Stiff Upper Lip” and “Rock’n’Roll Train”, just to reiterate that this band has been able to create great pieces even at an advanced stage of their career (which is not to be taken for granted). The band’s performance is nothing short of surprising, considering that the two main ‘protagonists’, Brian Johnson and Angus Young, are seventy-six and sixty-nine years old respectively.
It therefore matters little if Angus is imprecise on the intro of “Thunderstruck”, or if Brian struggles a little every now and then and takes a breath, what their immense charisma and mimicry transmit to the audience is the same as always; therefore the roar with which the audience welcomes Angus’ first foray along the platform that enters the stalls is obvious. The fans are here for him, one of the most famous and iconic guitarists in the history of music, and in the final part of the concert he responds with a quarter-hour solo on “Let There Be Rock”, sweating, jumping and wriggling a earth like a little boy, as if time had never passed.
The rhythm section is obviously compact, precise even if in some situations it appears a little more ‘calm’ compared to when Phil Rudd or Chris Slade were on the drums, but we also imagine this is part of the right compromise that the age of the musicians requires for optimal performance.
What matters is the real festive air that is experienced and breathed this evening, while in front of an audience dotted with flashing red horns, masterpieces such as “Riff Raff”, “You Shook Me All Night Long”, “ Highway To Hell” or the grandiose “Whole Lotta Rose”, where the enormous inflatable doll that once animated the AC/DC stages is replaced by a virtual version projected on the large screens.
The finale is left to the encore “TNT”, loudly acclaimed by the audience, and to “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)”, for which the typical large cannons that have always accompanied this piece.
It is precisely with the sound of cannon fire and a great fireworks display that what will be remembered as one of the most important concerts of recent decades held in Italy ends: a very well-organised event, which managed to gather a multi-generational and incredibly varied but with a common passion for ‘the real’ hard rock; the simple and direct one, made with two guitars, a voice, a bass and a drums, the genuine one of which AC/DC have always been the undisputed standard-bearers.

Setlist:
If You Want Blood (You’ve Got It)
Back in Black
Demon Fire
Shot Down in Flames
Thunderstruck
Have a Drink on Me
Hells Bells
Shot in the Dark
Stiff Upper Lip
Shoot to Thrill
Sin City
Rock ‘n’ Roll Train
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
High Voltage
Riff Raff
You Shook Me All Night Long
Highway to Hell
Whole Lotta Rosie
Let There Be Rock + solo by Angus Young
TNT
For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)

 
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