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AC/DC – Tokyo 1981 1st Night Definitive Master (Zodiac 449)

Tokyo 1981 1st Night Definitive Master (Zodiac 449) 

Nippon Seinenkan, Tokyo, Japan – February 4, 1981 

Disc 1 (50:09) Opening Announcements, Intro, Hells Bells, Shot Down In Flames, Sin City, Back In Black, Bad Boy Boogie, The Jack, What Do You Do For Money Honey, Highway To Hell 

Disc 2 (39:29) High Voltage, Whole Lotta Rosie, Rocker, You Shook Me All Night Long, T.N.T., Let There Be Rock 

AC/DC played their first dates in Japan during the latter part of the tour to support Back In Black in February 1981. The short tour began February 1, 1981 in Osaka followed by February 2 in Nagoya and ended with two dates in Tokyo February 4 and 5. The dates in Tokyo have been circulating for years, the final date was professionally recorded and broadcast, it was also recorded by the famous Mr. Peach. Peach also recorded the first Tokyo date and both of his recordings are featured on Electric Attack!! (Tarantura TCDACDC-4,5). Recently a new source appeared for the first Tokyo date and is taken from the master cassette of a taper who also recorded The Police Budokan 1981, Whitesnake Tokyo 1980 and Jeff Beck Yokohama 1980, all of which were recently released on the Wardour label. 

The sound on this new title from Zodiac is near excellent, well balanced, slightly distant but clear and detailed with all instruments being well defined in the mix with the vocals being a bit in the forefront. The frequency range favors the middle and upper end and there is just a bit of audience noise but considering it is AC/DC and they are playing in a very small 1,380 seat venue really just adds to the atmosphere of the concert. I also have the Tarantura title Electric Attack!! and it’s interesting to hear both recordings, the Peach recording is the better all around recording but that title, with in your face sound, was mastered excessively for volume and top end while this new recording has a nice natural sound to it, both recordings compliment each other very well. It should also be noted that the Peach recording is incomplete missing three songs at the end of the concert, You Shook Me All Night Long, T.N.T., and Let There Be Rock. 

After a few announcements are made the concert begins with the somber bell intro to Hells Bells, the band is given a warm yet subdued welcome. From the tapers vantage point the audience near him are into the concert, they cheer and clap in joy for finally seeing the band. Shot Down In Flames features a unique drum intro from Phil that adds a different feel to it. Brian introduces Sin City as being a song “about your city” that seems to go over their heads, certainly a language barrier in speech, but definitely not the music as the song gets a cheer as they begin. I have always enjoyed the early tours with Brian, his vocals were a bit rougher and really gave an edge to the older Bon Scott material, still a cornerstone of AC/DC’s live set. 

Brian flubs a few lines of Back In Black but it does not lessen the songs impact, it actually adds a little bit of charm to the lyric, the past year has certainly been a whirlwind going from unknown to Rock star. Things have heated up and Angus takes a break during the nearly 13 minute version of Bad Boy Boogie, his strip tease routine allows him to remove his jacket and shirt. He communicates easily with the Japanese crowd to begin the song, getting into a note followed by a cheer participation that has an intimate vibe. This is a visual part of the performance, Angus does his fall on the floor routine followed by a long jam to “get comfortable” in, the audience cheer him on, a master showman indeed. 

There is a tape flip and afterwards just before The Jack, a small part of the audience begin chanting “Angus…Angus…”, this chant will continue after the rest of the songs. The Jack features the alternate found on the If You Want Blood album, the audience help with the chorus during the middle section and are quite passionate in their singing, the song is very well received. By What Do You Do For Money Honey, the band and audience are in complete unison and this begins to sound like a hot and sweaty intimate club gig, Rock and Roll breaking down any barriers of language, everyone is in it for a good time. A standard Highway To Hell finishes the first disc. 

The second disc picks right up with a high energy version of High Voltage Rock And Roll. With the momentum of the concert reached, the band fires on all cylinders and hits the audience fast with a blistering Whole Lotta Rosie that segues into an even faster version of Rocker. This song is a long boogie influenced jam nearly 10 minutes in length due to Brian and Angus walkabout as well as some serious Angus guitar histrionics that ends the main set. The chants of encore begin and stay constant for five minutes until the band regroup onstage with the first single from Back In Black, You Shook Me All Night Long begins with an Angus guitar solo that leaves the audience cheering and it’s party time! The song flows into T.N.T. with its chants of “Oi..Oi..Oi” instantly picked up and repeated by the audience, fast and furious the band waste little time in the song and as it ends there is just a brief pause as the band blast right into Let There Be Rock. The song is the personification of AC/DC’s mission, spread their furious version of Rock and Roll and is a riotous end to the concert. 

The packaging features both live and posed shots of the band from the Back In Black tour, cool to see Brian Johnson sans his trademark hat. The picture on the CD is Angus and Brian whose silhouettes also grace the sticker, all of this is housed in a slim lined jewel case. There is precious little silver AC/DC titles from this era, making this title and excellent addition to my collection. 

If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)

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