Angus, Axl, and Bar Seating at MSG
Who would've thunk it in 2016 that the man carrying Rock N' Roll on his shoulders would be Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose? Personally,I had given up on this dude. Guns N' Roses have been a bad joke for the past 25 years.
But this year has been the Year Of The Axl. He reformed (partially) the original members of GNR for a huge US stadium tour. Then accepts an offer to sing for AC/DC on his downtime from GNR. Seeing a partially reformed GNR wasn't high on my summer 2016 list of things to do. I saw the original Guns N' Roses back in 1988 three times. No need for me to waste $150 on this tour. But the notion of going to see Axl front an already wounded AC/DC really tempted me. AC/DC singer Brian Johnson had to retire from touring due to hearing problems. Drummer Phil Rudd was serving house arrest detention time for deathly threats.And founding AC/DC rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young is now suffering from dementia and cannot remember how to play guitar anymore. WTF!!! But lead guitarist Angus Young soldiered on and kept the AC/DC machine rolling. And rolling right into Madison Square Garden in midtown Manhattan for a one off, very sold out gig.
A bad rain storm hit just as I got into a cab on 74th and 3rd Ave at about 6pm that night. The trip to MSG would take about 20 minutes to cross town to 34th and 7th ave. By the time I pulled up to the venue,the rain had stopped. Thankfully. This is because hanging out outside MSG before a show is a show in itself. I love it. The scalpers,dealers,hustlers,smell of pot and burnt pretzels,and the overall NYC bustle is not to be missed for newbies to a MSG concert. Ate a quick Lenwich sandwich at Lenny's on 33rd st then went into the hallowed hall of all things entertainment: Madison Square Garden.
I scored what is called a Barstool seat at the newly renovated Garden. Once I made it to the seat,I knew I hit the seating jackpot. Nobody in front of my seat. Nobody behind my seat. And the bar was directly behind me. Fuck yeah! With a direct view of the stage. I don't mind sitting so far from the stage because of the omniscient video screens located everywhere in the venue. Plus,the sound is always best when the seat is directly behind the soundboard. I bought a $25 (!??!!) double Jack on the rocks to sip during the opening band and bag of kettle corn. Made some small talk with the chick usher at my section. Took a pic of Knicks great Clyde Frazier's game worn suede Puma shoe from the 70's.And waited for AC/DC to hit the stage.
Ordered another $25 double Jack on the rocks and a pretzel with mustard. Then the arena lights went down. The show starts with about 3 minutes of sound and video effects then the band kicks in. HOLY SHIT!!! Rock or Bust is the opening song. Axl Rose sounds the best I've ever heard him. Angus Young,61 years old,is playing his trusty Gibson SG like there is no tomorrow. The almost makeshift backing band of longtime bassist Cliff Williams, Angus' cousin Stevie Young on rhythm guitar and onetime drummer Chris Slade were as solid a band as I've heard in a while. This show was off the charts for an arena show. Tons of lights and sound and energy from the band and audience. This is Rock N' Roll kiddies.
Hells Bells,Thunderstruck, Live Wire,Given The Dog A Bone,Whole Lotta Rosie, Riff Raff..... a 24 song set. A bit of every era of AC/DC was played and played with vigor. Axl Rose should consider doing a new studio album album with AC/DC. He sounds phenomenal with this band.
Damn. I can't say enough good things about seeing this special show. If by any chance this lineup of AC/DC hits the road again,I am there.Without hesitation. Krude approved. Damn. I'm sure Bon Scott was smiling down at this show.
Let There Be Rock