AC/DC - Live At River Plate

edited November 11 in Reviews 2010-2019


ALBUM: Live At River Plate
LABEL: Columbia
SERIAL: 88765411752
YEAR: 2012


LINEUP: Brian Johnson - vocals * Angus Young - guitar * Malcolm Young - guitar * Cliff Williams - bass * Phil Rudd - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Rock N Roll Train * 02 Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be * 03 Back In Black * 04 Big Jack * 05 Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap * 06 Shot Down In Flames * 07 Thunderstruck * 08 Black Ice * 09 The Jack * 10 Hells' Bells * 11 Shoot To Thrill * 12 War Machine * 13 Dog Eat Dog * 14 You Shook Me All Night Long * 15 T.N.T * 16 Whole Lotta Rosie * 17 Let There Be Rock * 18 Highway To Hell * 19 For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) *

RATING: image



Earlier this year I pilloried the latest Iron Maiden double live album as a stale and repetitive cash in, one with no redeeming value at all. I didn't think anything would top it (this year anyway) until I caught an eyeful and earful of this monstrosity.

Now it would be unfair to peg AC/DC as plunderers of multiple live albums like Maiden, as this is their first live offering since the terrible 'AC/DC Live' from 1992. But over the years AC/DC's setlist has remained largely the same, with the usual worn out classics that can be viewed in the tracklisting above.

It's gotten to the point of pure farce. Like Maiden they feel the need to inundate the public with these tried and tested numbers and it also seems a coincidence this is another double live disc recorded in South America.

This one was first released in 2011 on DVD and what a shocking display it is. Never had the band looked and sounded more tired, truly going through the motions in front of a massive audience.

It didn't seem to bother the fans though, their fanatical reactions to tracks like 'Back In Black' and 'Thunderstruck' more passionate than celebrating a classic Maradona or Messi goal.

Either way it is horrific viewing which begs the question: could the audio version be any worse?

The Songs

Of course it could and it is. Without the comedic and overblown parody that the band has become onstage there's little to ridicule except inferior versions of songs that were beyond overplayed decades ago.

As this was recorded in 2009 there are four tracks from 'Black Ice', an album I haven't listened to since that same year. It's hard to get excited about any of these songs and to say Johnson's voice is beyond shot would be the understatement of the year.

Listening to 'Shoot To Thrill' I just ask myself is there any point to this? By AC/DC standards they probably think 'Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be' is a rarity and compared to confronting 'You Shook Me All Night Long' or 'Dirty Deeds' it probably is.

How does the band feel playing 'Back In Black' for the 9000th time? If you can get through it here then you're a sick individual. Even writing about it is mind numbing. It's funny because AC/DC are one of the all time greats, but even they must know their time has come. This is cabaret karaoke of the worst order.

The biggest case in point is probably 'Let There Be Rock'. As always it's dragged out, this time to 18 minutes. It's the same extended guitar solo and crazed display from Angus that he's been parlaying since the dawn of time. Who is deriving unbridled joy from this? The bands activity is limited these days, but how safe can they play it?

When dissecting the tracks for inclusion on this slop did the band ever stop to consider the intelligence of the fans or do they assume them to be mindless hordes who will buy anything with the AC/DC logo stamped on it?

Then you have the contrived reactions from the now familiar fanatical fans that really have to be forcing themselves to act overjoyed at the opening bars of 'Hells Bells'. If there's a lone person here hoping to hear any shred of the bands now lost power and moments of improvisational genius then maybe you'd better stick to those worn out Bon Scott shows.

In Summary

From the pathetic cover art to the music itself, this is a travesty which has no place in music whatsoever.

As downtrodden as the music industry is, the era of the live album passed a long time ago. If there's any justice this album will shift 3000 copies and be forgotten instantly.

It's bad enough classic rock radio plays these songs as if they are still brand new, but to have them exposed to the general public again is a gross miscalculation.

I wonder if these dudes remember albums like 'Flick Of The Switch' or 'Fly On The Wall'. I suppose it doesn't matter now because the end is nigh for the band.

But for sheer predictability, unoriginality and anything generally considered horrific, this sets a benchmark that the band can proudly share with Maiden.

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  • Options
    DaveTDaveT Buenos Aires, Argentina
    edited July 2020
    Agree the audio version is a painful listen, same old setlist and tired performances when compared to past times. But the DVD is legendary. Even the band is dragged by the crowd's contagious enthusiasm, 50k plus people shaking the stadium's ground as an earthquake and singing along to the riffs.

    This DVD plus 'Rush In Rio' and Megadeth's 'That One Night: Live in Buenos Aires' show how South American crowds belong to The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame more than certain bands already there. The crowd reaction is a hundred percent true, I've been there.
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