Thursday, February 21, 2008

AC/DC Brings High Voltage To Your DVD Player With 'Plug Me In'

Plug Me In (DVD)
Columbia Records/Sony BMG

Review by Nightwatcher

For their first release after signing with Columbia Records, Rock & Roll Hall Of Famers AC/DC reach back into their vaults for the amazing 'Plug Me In'. Following on the heels of their last retrospective 'Family Jewels', which in itself was fairly comprehensive, it's astonishing that there was so much left to mine. Running approximately 5 hours with bonus features, and split in two not unlike the prior release with the Bon Scott years (1975-1979) on the first, Brian Johnson(1981-2003) on the second, this is yet another treasure trove for AC/DC fans.

Beginning with an Australian lip synced tv performance of "High Voltage" from 1975 on ABC TV's 'King Of Pop' awards, one is immediately reminded of how much presence and power the original band had, even during the early years. All the hits are here, and to list them all would take up way too much space, but it's clear right from the start that the band were destined to be stars. Of extreme interest is rare footage filmed at St Alban's High School, Australia, from March 1976, where, even though in black & white, they kick ass throughout. Looking back, it's almost mind blowing to see how damn YOUNG Angus looks. Although in his late teens, he doesn't look any older than fifteen, skinny as a rail, and if one didn't know better, due to the manic energy exuded, you'd swear he'd just consumed an eight ball of coke before performing. It almost makes you tired watching him. Having that much energy should be a crime!

One segment which not only rocks, but is amusing as well is the performance clip of "Rocker". Recorded for BBC TV's 'Sight & Sound In Concert' in London 1977, the late Bon Scott is at the top of his game, leering lasciviously, showing the talents which made him one of the top front men in rock history. During the guitar solo, when Angus cavorts through the crowd, the look on people's faces is priceless. Remaining for the most part staid and proper in the fine British tradition, it's clear that most don't know what to make of this shirtless rock n roll maniac - with the exception of one notable longhair, who's seen banging his head, hair twirling around, while Young, seemingly crazed gets up on the balcony ledge, seemingly possessed with the power of rock. The main disc portion consists of 18 tracks, all which confirm that while Scott led the band, there was no one arguably better at hyper blues based metal.

The bonus features are interesting, consisting of more performances and rare interviews from Australian and British TV, and to be honest, although you may not watch the interview segments more than once, they still are great to have, lending a sense of completeness to the package.

To be fair, although the band achieved its greatest success after Scott died, with his replacement Johnson, things began to get a bit predictable. Brian Johnson is a great vocalist whose only downfall was to come after Bon. Dependable to a fault, despite going on to become mega stars, after the first few albums they're all pretty much interchangeable. There are some highlights to be had on this second disc, such as the Tokyo show from 1981, right after Jonno joined, and it includes the until now unreleased jam with The Rolling Stones (Angus and Malcolm only) doing "Rock Me Baby" at Toronto's "Toronto Rocks" or "SARSStock" fest in 2003. All in all still extremely enjoyable throughout, but trust me the Bon disc is going to keep you coming back more. This is a great purchase for AC/DC fans both old and new, and is a wonderful compliment to the earlier 'Family Jewels' collection from a couple of years ago. 9/10

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