"Holy Toledo!"

December 6, 2008

AC/DC Black Ice Tour Comes To Oakland: A Review

Filed under: Music — Bill @ 12:44 pm

Last Thursday evening my wife & I took a ride to the dark side. Thanks to a good friend (note how few of those you can count on these days) we scored VIP tickets to see one of the world’s best rock bands AC/DC. The venue was the Arena in Oakland, CA. which holds about 17,000 or so for basketball, even more for rock & rollers.

It was truly going to be a black night, the Raiders were playing and we were going to see AC/DC, a very fitting combo. Unfortunately someone forgot to inform the Raiders and they turned in yet another piss poor performance. By the time we were crossing the Richmond bridge we turned off the radio, “who needs to get bummed out with that terrible team?”

Despite the fact that we were both suffering the ill effects of a cold we refused to let it dampen our spirits or lessen our agenda. Next stop was dinner at a famous Oakland Italian dinner house, one dripping with East Bay tradition, Francesco’s. As always the food & drink was fantastic, including service with a smile. Somewhere near the end of the bar sits the ghost of Billy Martin sipping an old fashion. I always give him a nod.

Now full & comfortably numb we crossed the 880 freeway on Hegenberger and headed to the scene of the crime. $25 bucks for parking, holy toledo the economy is alive here. The lot was remarkably similar to a Raiders game, full of people dressed in black, music blaring, odd smelling smoke from various locations, and many, many smiling faces. It was “Heavy Metal Parking Lot” on twenty years later. It could have been the same crowd, just older & more grey hair.

As I mentioned earlier my good buddy hooked us up with special seats so we were able to walk into the arena via the VIP Entrance. That was sweet, no lines, no hassles, just one very friendly “have a great time folks.” We came in through the section where the players enter during games. It a maze of hallways deep beneath the bowels of the arena, you think your lost but then you hear the crowd getting louder and louder. The hallway opens into a huge corridor and bam, you are in.

The opening act was still playing their last song when we arrived, I have no idea who they were, nor did I care. We were there for one reason, that reason had nothing to do with opening acts. After standing in line for a cocktail ($22 bucks for a bourbon & coke and a Pepsi) we made our way to the seats. I knew we had good seats but as we kept walking I couldn’t help but think, “damn we are close.” As I finally plopped down into row 5 I looked up at the stage. These seats were better than good, they were fantastic.

Proving once again that timing is everything we sat down, the house lights went dark and all of a sudden a HUGE TV screen from behind the stage lit up. The Rock & Roll Train was arriving! Bright lights, incredibly loud yet sharp clear sounds of a train.

Rather than describe it I will offer up this YouTube video, it’s the best footage I could find of the intro video (For some odd reason the links aren’t working so use cut & paste to see them, sorry till I can fix it).

The nearly two hour show that followed was extremely well done, full of power, energy, and lights. As expected I was blown away by the guitar antics of Angus Young. He is truly one of the greats. Other band members Malcom Young, Cliff Williams, Phil Rudd, & the voice of Brian Johnson deserve praise as well for their wonderful performance. Special thank to Whole Lotta Rosie for making an appearance.

Interesting stage moments included a life-size train that seemed to appear from nowhere, a huge blowup Whole Lotta Rose doll that rode the train, her toe tapping to the beat, a long runway that stretched well into the crowd, a striptease by Angus that was quite humorous, huge canons that recoiled as they fired, and to end the show an amazing guitar solo that ranks with the best I’ve ever seen.

A great show, well worth it, and if they come to a town near you do yourself a favor and go see AC/DC!

*Through the advent of modern technology I have a very special treat for those interested. The following is the set list of songs played that night, along with accompanying YouTube videos of the actual concert. Like all drag racing fans understand, the sound on these videos never really duplicates what we actually heard that night, but you’ll get the idea.

Rock ‘N Roll Train

Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be

Back In Black

Big Jack

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap


Black Ice

The Jack (with an Angus Young strip tease!)

Hells Bells

Shoot To Thrill

War Machine

Anything Goes

You Shook Me All Night Long


Whole Lotta Rosie

Let There Be Rock

(The band left the stage but returned for one encore)

Highway To Hell

For Those About To Rock

*End of guitar solo –




  1. Thanks for sharing your review. I cant believe we missed the raiders game on the way in, but glad we did. 🙂 I see our video (rnr train) in your list thanks for linking to it! Cheers.

    Comment by Jim D — December 6, 2008 @ 5:24 pm

  2. Janes,
    It was a fantastic night, I wish we could have met.

    Send me more links to your videos, I would love the see them.


    PS- I am still trying to work out the direct links on my blog

    Comment by Bill — December 7, 2008 @ 8:41 pm

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