Bedlam In Belgium (The Godfatherecords G.R.888)
Vorst National, Brussels Belgium – December 6, 1982
(62:47) Hells Bells, Have A Drink On Me, Sin City, Shoot To Thrill, Back In Black, Bad Boy Boogie, Rock And Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution, The Jack, Highway To Hell, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Whole Lotta Rosie
It has been some time since Godfathers have produced an AC/DC title, thankfully the drought is over and what better era of the band to focus on than their legendary tour to support For Those About To Rock. Released in November 1981, I can vividly remember hearing songs from the record on the radio, salivating at the music coming the speakers. I was full into the band by this point and after doing a lot of extra chores and begging; my parents relented and gave me money to get the record. Needless to say it has become a personal favorite of mine and is one from the bands catalog that I revisit often.
The tour to support the record was dubbed the Cannon and Bell tour encompassed a year and found the band playing and extensive US tour followed by a break before dates in Japan and finally a two leg European tour, from which this recording is taken. The recording featured here is a very good soundboard recording; it is bare bones with little crowd noise in the mix. The balance is good but the vocals are prominent in the mix, something that is fine with me as Brian’s singing is great on this evening. There is some hiss on the tape also but does not overwhelm the music, overall a really good sounding tape. However the source used here is incomplete, missing the last song of the set “Let There Be Rock” and the encores of “T.N.T.” and “For Those About To Rock”.
The recording starts with the opening notes of “Hells Bells” and it takes a minute to get the sound balance up, this gives the effect of sounds being conjured from the depths. By this time in the tour the band had pretty much dropped the new material from For Those About To Rock, save for the title track, and stick with a set made up from Back In Black along side classic’s from the Scott era. The audience sound riled up and can be heard chanting at the songs conclusion and Brian greets the audience with “Hello…Hello”, and the band play a rousing version of “Have A Drink On Me”, the sound clears slightly with the music getting more prominent in the mix.
One of the reasons I like this era of the band is Brian’s voice still has that aggressive snarl that gave the music a hard edge to it, we get a great taste of it on SinCity. One of THE Bon Scott era classic Brian most certainly pouts his stamp on the song, the audience agree and give the song a loud ovation at its conclusion. Concert favorites “Shoot To Thrill” and “Back In Black” follow the fast and furious pace but it is another oldie that tears it wide open. Beginning with a slow blues solo from Angus that goes into some call and response interaction with the audience, “Bad Boy Boogie” is an excuse to do just that, play bad ass boogie fused rock, something that the band does to perfection. The song has also been a long time stage favorite of the band, giving Angus time for a cool down as he removes his clothes, much to the delight of the audience, all the while brother Malcolm keeps a steady rhythm. Once the full band kicks back into the song we are treated to more guitar gymnastics from Angus.
Brain uses Bon’s alternate lyrics for “The Jack”, seems like the original version is gone for good, the song itself is concert magic, filled with sleaze and some good old blues rock that makes the song a live favorite. While Bon’s recording with the band ended with the Highway To Hell record, the bands incredible popularity in the early 80’s made their record company revisit a record that they initially passed on, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap was released to American audiences in April 1981 and has since become a multi platinum seller. The band elected to put the title track in their live show, something that they had not played since 1976. The song is simply one of the best songs of the set, it just plain smokes and the band turn in a superb version. Sadly, the last song of the disc is a raucous version of “Whole Lotta Rosie”, the audience is out of their heads by now and Brian even lets them sing the opening verses, following on the momentum from “Dirty Deeds” the band is really pouring it on, going for the jugular.
The tri gatefold packaging utilizes the color theme from the For Those About To Rock record, the interior features some great live shots of the band, especially Johnna in his trade mark cap. There is a two page insert with liner notes and a picture of the ticket stub, a very nice extra for this set. A fine release that AC/DC fans should really enjoy and nice to see a show that has never had a silver release before get some much deserved attention.