February 19th, 1982 was a big night for me. Following the release of AC/DC’s “For Those About to Rock” in 1981, I attended my first legit rock concert at McNichols Arena in Denver, Colorado. Joining me were my friends Mike and Nevin. I’m not sure, but I think my Dad drove us and Mike’s mom picked us up. The opening act was Midnight Flyer, featuring legacy Swan Song artist Maggie Bell, and I remember very little about their performance. Tickets were a steep $13. I will never forget the electricity in the air between acts, as the roadies prepared the stage for the main act. That surge of energy when the lights went down, and the bells from “Hells Bells” began to ring, I knew then my life would never be quite the same. With Angus Young running all across the stage in his signature schoolboy uniform, Brian Johnson belting at supersonic levels, and Malcolm Young and Cliff Williams walking up and back for each backing vocal chorus, it was unlike anything I have ever heard or seen before. Eventually I saw AC/DC four times, and each time was an overwhelming, deafening, exhausting and exhilarating experience. From that night on, even at my relatively advanced age, my eyes are keenly focused on what live music show will be my next opportunity to relive that amazing memory.
“For Those About to Rock” was the band’s follow-up to “Back In Black”, which is no easy act to follow. Once again produced by “Mutt” Lange, listening to this full album again was a great flashback. I actually won this album on a radio station call-in, the second album I had won in my life, the first being “Endless Flight” by Leo Sayer. I played this one with a bit more consistency, and I had forgotten how good this record is. In recent years, I had convinced myself it was one or two good songs only, but coming back to it reminded me how much I enjoyed almost every track.
Of course, the epic title track is the defining song on this album, and like “Hells Bells” or “Back in Black”, it is a titanic showpiece in concert. As I recall, it was the final song of that first concert I attended. My second favorite song on this album is “Let’s Get It Up”. Like Prince’s album yesterday, the song title is mildly uncomfortable, but it really is a great riff, one of their best.
AC/DC never strays far from their themes of darkness and sexual double-entendre, and this album is no exception. Thankfully, they keep the same amped-up energy that they had been perfecting, and among the other songs I really like on this album are “Put the Finger on You”, “Evil Walks”, “C.O.D.”, and “Breaking the Rules”.
With the release of this album, my first concert and obligatory concert t-shirt, I became a lifetime fan of rock music and live music in general, with so many great experiences to be had. It had to start somewhere, and I will never forget this night and all that came afterwards.