Perhaps no other band in history has made more out of doing the same thing over and over again than Aussie rockers AC/DC. On the new DVD, Let There Be Rock, fans get a chance to see the kinetic energy in fine form.
The DVD is an enjoyable re-release of the 1980 live concert motion picture. Filmed at the now-closed Pavilion de Paris in, uh, Paris, Let There Be Rock features lead vocalist Bon Scott in one of his last performances. He would die two months after the filming of the picture.
The Limited Collector’s Edition DVD release is a damn sweet package. It includes the concert film, a pile of bonus features, a kick-ass set of concert pictures, a 32-page booklet, and a guitar pick — all inside a wicked collector’s tin numbered and ribbed for her pleasure.
The concert film, directed by Eric Dionysius and Eric Mistler, is bone-crushingly awesome even with its weirder moments. It opens with shots of the massive set-up being put together. The road crew hauls out the equipment and rigs as a narrator explains the raw power of the equipment. And these were the days before the pyro and giant Rosie dominated the stage.
There’s a peek inside the tour bus, a few pre-show shots that include Angus Young setting up his weaponry and, before you can make the appropriate devil horns, the show’s off and running with “Live Wire” from AC/DC’s second studio album, T.N.T. The cut blisters and chars, with Angus’ massive power chords giving way to earth-shattering riffs and Bon’s brilliant, loud vocals.
Everything about AC/DC and Let There Be Rock is loud. Try watching the DVD with the sound down. Little demons eventually crawl through your TV’s inner workings to jack up the volume and, before you know it, you’re peeling the paint off your walls. I promise. This thing should come with a warning.
AC/DC rolls through tracks like “Sin City,” “Highway to Hell,” “The Jack,” “Girls Got Rhythm,” “Whole Lotta Rosie,” and more with frenetic glee. Angus is a tour de force throughout, especially taking hold on “Bad Boy Boogie” and delivering a striptease while Malcolm Young, Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd hold it down.
There are moments when Dionysius and Mistler take the cameras away from the stage. These segments really do distract. “Walk All Over You” features a bizarre sequence in which a car races a plane and Bon Scott tap dances on a frozen lake. I shit you not. In my view, anything that takes our eyes away from the connection Bon and Angus enjoy is a bad call.
In terms of bonus features, Let There Be Rock is generous but not mind-blowing. Most are similar in structure, but they almost always feature funny or interesting stories from the road and so forth. Billy Corgan, Lemmy Kilmister, Matt Sorum, author Susan Masino, author Anthony Bozza and his rad moustache, The Donnas, and Scott Ian, among others, contribute their opinions of the band’s success. “Pod” extras delve into different songs with some detail.
For fans of AC/DC’s brand of working class rock and roll, this system-rattling DVD is a must-have. Not only is it a historical document of Bon Scott’s awesomeness, it’s a wild and raucous concert film that, despite rare missteps, really nails down what the band is all about.
This was originally published as Music DVD Review: AC/DC – Let There Be Rock (Limited Collector’s Edition) at Blogcritics.org