Amsterdam 1979 Pre-FM Reel (Zodiac 501)
Jaap Edenhal, Amsterdam, Holland – November 12, 1979
(79:53) Live Wire, Shot Down In Flames, Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be, Sin City, Walk All Over You, Bad Boy Boogie, The Jack, Highway To Hell, High Voltage, Whole Lotta Rosie, Rocker, Let There Be Rock
It’s always nice when a new AC/DC title comes out on silver disc as so many titles seem to be on CD-R, a format I avoid. I was surprised that the excellent recently unearthed Shaumberg IL September 14, 1978 radio broadcast didn’t hit the collectors market, a real shame as the quality is superb and the performance is excellent. Thankfully the Amsterdam November 12, 1979 recording is getting a wider distribution thanks to a more complete version of the tape circulating as a Pre-FM source. This new release by Zodiac is not the first time a more complete recording of this concert has circulated, the Tarantura label released Made By Nik And Tom (Tarantura TCDACDC-7-1,2) and is reported to be from the Pre-FM source. I have two versions of this recording in my collection, Dutch Damnation (The Godfatherecords G.R. 364) which features 9 tracks taken from a 2007 rebroadcast recording by Dutch Radio “Legendarisch Live” and Disc 13 of The Complete Soundboard Collection With Bon Scott 1976-1979 (WLR-2149).
When I compare this new title to WLR and Godfather the claim as being from a Pre-FM is most certainly correct. The sound on this new title is not as loud as the Godfather title yet is more clear and has much better instrument definition with none of the fuzz you get from an actual broadcast recording. The sound also has a broader frequency range and sounds incredible when played loud, a definite upgrade to at least the Godfather title in terms of sound quality and completeness. This new title is a significant upgrade to the WLR title for the same reasons as the Godfather, the WLR is more complete than Godfather but its sound is a notch below that title. It is believed that this recording is still incomplete as Girls Got Rhythm is missing and possibly If You Want Blood and T.N.T., all of which were part of the set lists during this period. This recording comes during the massive U.K. / European tour that also produced two other professional recordings, the Hammersmith Odeon November 2, 1979 radio broadcast and the December 9, 1979 Paris gig that was filmed for the Let There Be Rock movie and whose audio was released on the 1997 Bonfire box set. For those who want more Highway To Hell live from the soundboard check out the Towson, Maryland USA October 16, 1979 radio broadcast.
Live Wire is the opening track, this is a lively mix with a nice blend of the audience mixed in that very much adds to the atmosphere of the recording. They clap and cheer as Cliff Williams begins that pulsating bass line. “Down to business a song from our new album called Shot Down In Flames” and we plunge headlong into a second tune of the opening salvo that hits like a one two punch. Cliff’s bass is nicely captured in the mix giving the sound a very nice bottom end and also gives us insight into his playing as many times he seems mixed lower. Bon introduces Sin City as being about the sin capital Amsterdam which garners a nice ovation from the crowd, never tire of this song.
Walk All Over You is ferocious, hits like a ton of bricks the whole band is in perfect sync, Bon’s vocals are a little rough around the edges and he alternates between a snide and screaming delivery. Bad Boy Boogie has the long jam in the middle so Angus can do his strip tease, much to the delight of the audience. Bon gets the audience to sing during the middle section, his vocals are a dirty bluesy feast. Angus rips a great solo as usual, this song is a highlight of every set. The audience chant for Whole Lotta Rosie afterwards and the band give them Highway To Hell instead followed by High Voltage before going into Rosie. Great version of the song, Angus plays a frenzied solo similar to the official version. Rocker continues the fast and furious tempo, one of my favorite early AC/DC songs, by this point the song would be used for a walk about, you can hear the amps buzz and Angus starts his “tour” of the crowd. Once he gets settled he rips into a solo that is incredible, the whole band is in full on boogie mode, this my friends is the core of early AC/DC. He then gets into a solo spot minus the band, this is similar to what he would do during Let There Be Rock circa 1978 as found on the If You Want Blood live opus. The song ends and is followed by a full three minutes of the audience chanting “We Want More”, they are rewarded with Let There Be Rock that starts with Angus hitting a blistering series of leads while certainly doing some running falling standing up series while never missing a beat…A force of nature.
The packaging is nice, inserts with full color live shots of the band from 1979 as well as an outtake from the Highway To Hell album cover photo shoot. Picture disc, numbered CD, pulling out all the stops. The sound quality is excellent, the price is affordable, the content is Bon Scott era AC/DC, what more could you want?