Forecasts of a storm Thursday night only partially came true, but the 34,000 people at Investors Group Field were definitely still Thunderstruck.

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This article was published 17/9/2015 (2192 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Forecasts of a storm Thursday night only partially came true, but the 34,000 people at Investors Group Field were definitely still Thunderstruck.

The crowd was about as diverse as they come — little kids and their parents, couples, older kids and their senior parents — and all had the same excited aura about them. Winnipeggers have been waiting six years for AC/DC’s return, and the energy in the stadium was palpable.

Luckily, the rain didn’t last long enough to kill anyone’s buzz — by the time the five Aussies of AC/DC made it on stage, the ponchos had been shed, blinking red devil horns had been donned and everyone was ready to rock.

AC/DC opened the night with tour and album title track, Rock or Bust. They wasted no time cracking out the fireworks, as clusters of explosions popped out of all corners of the stage. Really, it’s the only appropriate entrance for rock n’ roll gods.

Guitarist Angus Young stole the show from the moment he stepped on stage — clad in his famous schoolboy uniform, green ‘A’ emblazoned on hit little cap, the 60-year-old strutted up and down the stage with the vigor of someone half his age. His playing is just as sharp as it ever was, knocking solo after solo out of the park, including a two-parter he tore through in Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap and one he played with his necktie in Sin City.

The set for the night was focused mainly on old favourites — the familiar power chords of Back in Black, the sparkling opening notes of Thunderstruck and the song that everybody knows the words to, You Shook Me All Night Long.

The sound on the vocals was not the best, however; Brian Johnson often sounded quite muffled. It was clear he was giving it all he’s got, and for the age of 67, his output was impressive, but it was almost impossible to decipher the lyrics unless you knew them by heart (which most of those in attendance did).

The stage design was one of the more impressive setups to graced IGF, though. It didn’t look like much in the daylight, but as the sun went down and the giant devil horns surrounding the vertical periphery of the stage lit up, the AC/DC logo etched into them, it was something to behold.

Midway through the set, a massive bell descended from the sky and swung back and forth over Young as he launched into Hells Bells. Shortly before that, Young took an alarming face-plant on stage (the rain possibly having caused the stage to be slippery), but he popped back up and continued on as if nothing had even happened. Now that’s a real performer.

AC/DC released their 16th studio album and the namesake of this tour, Rock or Bust, last year, the first without founding member and guitarist Malcolm Young.

Malcolm Young departed from the band in early 2014 due to his failing health, so his nephew Stevie Young has stepped in to replace him in the studio and on tour. Drummer Phil Rudd was also missing, though for much different circumstances — he pleaded guilty to drug charges and threatening to kill a former assistant in April of this year. Shortly after, he was replaced with Chris Slade, who had been a drummer for AC/DC from 1989-1994.

AC/DC's Angus Young at the Investors Group Field in Winnipeg Thursday.

(PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

AC/DC's Angus Young at the Investors Group Field in Winnipeg Thursday.

The five members as they stand now work flawlessly together. It’s obvious the focus is on Johnson and Angus Young, as they shared centre stage with their three bandmates in the background for much of the show, but AC/DC will always be a band and not a duo.

 Nearing the end of the main set, the band pulled out the most interactive song of the night, T.N.T., that saw the entire crowd with their fists pounding in the air while screaming the "Oi"s along with the chorus. They then launched into Whole Lotta Rosie, accompanied on stage by a blow up doll with a whole lotta cleavage.

 After a seemingly endless solo from Angus Young, the whole group returned for a two song encore of Highway to Hell and For Those About to Rock (We Salute You). Fireballs and cannons were aplenty, literally sending them out with a bang.

It’s safe to say, despite some small faults (sound quality, lots of breaks between songs), for those who came to IGF in search of a rock show, AC/DC certainly shook them all night long.

erin.lebar@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @NireRabel

Erin Lebar

Erin Lebar
Manager of audience engagement for news

Erin Lebar is a multimedia producer who spends most of her time writing music- and culture-related stories for the Arts & Life section. She also co-hosts the Winnipeg Free Press's weekly pop-culture podcast, Bury the Lede.

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