Live From Johnson City (Eat A Peach EAP 7/8)
Freedom Hall Civic Center, Johnson City, TN, USA – October 23, 1988
Disc 1 (67:46) Heatseeker, Shoot To Thrill, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Back In Black, Who Made Who, Jailbreak, Hells Bells, That’s The Way I Wanna Rock & Roll, The Jack, You Shook Me All Night Long, High Voltage
Disc 2 (52:52) Whole Lotta Rosie, Let There Be Rock. Bonus Tracks: National Tennis Center, Melbourne, Australia, February 8, 1988; Back In Black, Heatseeker, You Shook Me All Night Long, Rock & Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution, Highway To Hell, T.N.T., For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)
The mid 80’s would find AC/DC suffering a bit of a lull in their career, stuck in the album tour, album tour rut the band kept the pace up till 1985’s forgettable Fly On The Wall. While the band was still a great draw on the live circuit the record failed to sell in the numbers the band would be used to, and the band would not release another full length LP for three years. That’s not to say that nothing new would be recorded, in 1986 the band would record three songs for the Stephen King movie Maximum Overdrive, the main song being Who Made Who, the others were instrumentals and the full length album of the same name was filled out as a greatest hits from their 80’s output (yes I know Ride On is a Bon Scott era tune but was not released in the US till the early 80’s). With their confidence back, so to speak, the band would employ similar recording tactics for what would become Blow Up Your Video with producers Vanda and Young, the team who did most of their classic 70’s output. The record would be the band’s highest charting record since For Those About To Rock, easily reaching platinum status.
The tour to support Blow Up Your Video would be typical for the band, an 11 month trek that found the group playing Australia for the first time since 1981, followed by Europe and finally North America. The concert featured here comes from the last leg of the American tour and finds the band in excellent shape, and is culled from the soundboard. The supposed story on its origin is that the person who started to circulate it got it from Stevie Young, Angus and Malcolm Young’s nephew who took Mal’s place for the American leg of the tour so he could be treated for Alcoholism, it should be noted that the story was gotten from the Internet. The important part is here is an excellent soundboard recording, excellent mix with the audience being low but still enough to eliminate the sterile feel. There is just a slight amount of hiss but does not detract and this recording deserves to be played at maximum volume, as it will certainly shake your foundations. Sadly the recordings only issue is it is incomplete, missing the encores of Highway To Hell, T.N.T., and For Those About To Rock. This is the only silver release of this concert although there is a vinyl release, Brian From Johnson City (Trade Mark Of Quality TMOQ), a two record set that is incomplete, missing Whole Lotta Rosie.
Heatseeker is the obvious opener, it featured Angus exploding from a missile, the song is back to basics pure full on rock and roll with an infectious amount of boogie throw in. Dirty Deeds has a rightful place in the set, like most of the songs during this era it is played at a slightly faster tempo and features a mini Angus solo at the songs conclusion. Angus’ playing on Who Made Who is like a precursor to Thunderstruck, live the song is great with Cliff and Simon giving a strong foundation and the bass seems to drive the song. Angus does a mini solo as a lead in to Jailbreak, originally released on Dirty Deeds in Australia, the band eventually released it worldwide in 1984 on the 74 Jailbreak EP, along with other songs from their first few Australia only records. A quick live favorite, the band uses the song for improvisation and in Angus’ case slipping into something more…comfortable much to the chagrin of the audience who wildly cheer him on. Stevie is nice in the mix and we can also enjoy his playing, rock solid and it’s amazing how quickly he fit into the rhythm position. There is a tape cut at the end of the song but no music is lost, sadly the beginning of Hells Bells is missing the first minute or so, the recording picks up just before the first verse.
Only two songs from Blow Up Your Video would make the set, That’s The Way I Wanna Rock And Roll was also the second single from the record. Brian asks for water down front as people are dying, sounds like the band was generating some heat inside the 8,500 capacity hall. Curiously there is a cut, patch at the :57 to 1:10 mark, not sure what the purpose was but the splice is seamless and the only difference is the sound quality is a notch below. The Jack is pure sleaze n blues, Brian uses the alternate lyrics for the song and they get a bit of a sing along going as well and the song is one of the strongest of the night. The band plays a superb version of High Voltage, Brian’s vocals are great as he injects his unique charm into the mix, he even has time to tell the spotlight operators what to do! The Johnson City recording finishes with blistering versions of Whole Lotta Rosie and Let There Be Rock, the latter has the rhythm section in complete unison laying down a furious foundation letting Angus go wild on the fret board.
The bonus tracks are from early on in the tour as the band made a triumphant return to Australia, the band would play a six night stand in Melbourne, the recording found here is from the fifth night. The source is an incomplete soundboard, the sound is a bit brighter than the Johnson City tape but does not have its bottom end making for a thinner sound. No need to turn down your player, the recording is excellent and like its counterpart demands being played at 11. The main value in this recording is its rarity, to my knowledge while it has circulated amongst traders it has had very limited exposure in the collectors market. Also it features Malcolm Young on guitar and is an excellent addition to this set. Rock And Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution is in the set for the Australian gigs, apparently the band was also rehearsing It’s A Long Way To The Top for these concerts but sadly the song did not make the set. We also get the encores, while Highway To Hell is pretty standard, T.N.T. and For Those About To Rock are superb, the beginning of the latter sounds like a funeral dirge.
The packaging is great, mini LP style sleeve wonderfully adorned with live shots of the band. The CD sleeves are great, the CD’s have pictures on them, a heat seeking missile and there is also an insert with player breakdown and liner notes, typically great Eat A Peach packaging and presentation. For AC/DC fans this is a must have, the excellent performance and sound make it a great choice for the casual collector also.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)