In May/June of 2020, I was randomly scrolling through YouTube when a concert called “AC/DC Stiff Upper Lip Live” popped into my feed. I thought, “what the heck, I’ll give it a shot!” And that concert changed my life, or at least how I feel about AC/DC. I had a few of their songs on my rock playlist beforehand, and I thought they were decent, but I wasn’t going nuts over them. But that concert opened my eyes to the talent and craziness of these Australian rockers!
First of all, my jaw dropped when the giant Angus statue appeared out of nowhere! The crowd was huge, and this was back in 2001, so there were no fancy cellphones, and it was unbelievable. I also thought it was neat that the band had a song called “Stiff Upper Lip” because some artists don’t title their albums and tours based on one of their songs. Then I eyed out all the band members one by one and saw that they looked like harmless, friendly individuals. Remember, I wasn’t familiar with many rock bands, other than Def Leppard, Queen, and Bon Jovi (sort of).
I recognized Malcolm Young from the Highway to Hell (1979) album cover. But I had no memory of the other members. Speaking of them, my first impression of Phil Rudd was, “who’s the weird dude with the glasses?” I guess I didn’t think it was cool for drummers to wear glasses.
Anyway, the more I watched, the more I was blown away. AC/DC knew how to put on a good show, from the Angus statue to the energetic frontman named Brian Johnson to the giant bell to Angus’ striptease. As a new fan, I wasn’t familiar with his antics, so I was terrified that he would strip EVERYTHING, and thankfully he didn’t! I played the concert about five more times before the video got blocked. I tried watching it on Facebook, but then on July 26, 2020, I decided to buy Stiff Upper Lip Live (2001), along with No Bull (1996) and a few more things from Amazon. After all, the band deserved much more than a tiny laptop screen. My package arrived on August 6, 2020.
Stiff Upper Lip Live (2001), filmed on June 14, 2001, took place at the Olympiastadion in Munich, Germany. The DVD includes an interview of the boys at the venue with footage of them backstage. I love the interview, first of all. In one of my favorite parts, Johnson jokes about how they are all fabulous on camera, then the next scene shows them at a public appearance, and they’re just five average guys; I’m sorry, five average cool guys! My second favorite part occurs at the end of the interview, where Mal says there was a new band the other day that was older than them, haha!
While the interview is great to have, the setlist is the real reason to get this live release! The boys spiced things by playing hidden gems such as “Problem Child,” “Bad Boy Boogie,” “What Do You Do For Money Honey,” and “Up to My Neck in You.” The latter is from Powerage (1978), holy cow! But that’s not all. Usually, AC/DC end their shows with “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You),” but they came back with “Shot Down in Flames.” What a treat!
Though, for a tour supporting the Stiff Upper Lip (2000) album, how come they only played the title track at this show? I would’ve loved to see them play “Satellite Blues,” “Give It Up,” “Come and Get It,” and “Can’t Stand Still.” However, I’m glad they brought back “Hard as a Rock” for that tour because it’s my favorite song from the Ballbreaker (1995) album, and the crowd loved it. In addition to that, the boys played the hits like “Whole Lotta Rosie,” “Back in Black,” “Shoot to Thrill,” “Let There Be Rock,” and “Highway to Hell.”
Compared to No Bull, the mix was much better. Mal and Angus’ guitars had their fair share, which is good because I complained in my No Bull review that Mal’s guitar was a bit soft and Angus was overpowering him. Rudd’s drums sounded great because they got tuned lower, so they had a more tight sound. The only song where I felt like Johnson’s vocals were dying out was on “Thunderstruck,” other than that, he lit up the stage. Where you at Cliff Williams? I can see you headbanging in the background, but I cannot hear you! That is my only complaint with the mix.
Stiff Upper Lip Live holds a special place in my heart because it was my first “real” introduction to the band. I started researching their catalog more because of this concert; heck, I downloaded “Problem Child” because of it. For that alone, I’d give this release 5 out of 5 stars.
Take care and see ya real soon!