At this point in their career I’m not sure that anything could be written about AC/DC that hasn’t already been written. There’s a reason that the band has been around as long as they have, and that reason is that they have been one of the most consistent and consistently good bands of all time. Still, when a band such as AC/DC drops their first live album in over 20 years it definitely warrants more writing and more words.
Granted, you could boil these words down to simply two, but why spoil all the fun this reviewer has at typing?
Live at River Plate is AC/DC’s third concert album and their first since 1992’s Live release. Consisting of 19 songs spread out across two CDs, the album is a mix of their classics (including “Back in Black,” “Thunderstruck,” “T.N.T.,” and “Shoot to Thrill”) and a sprinkling of newer cuts like “Rock N Roll Train” and the title track from their most recent studio album, 2008’s Black Ice. The latter was a very nice release for the band thanks to the success of an exclusive deal with powerhouse retailer, Wal-Mart.
Recorded over three nights in Buenos Aires during 2009’s Black Ice World Tour – a tour which your intrepid reviewer was fortunate enough to catch when they played in his home state – the shows were an especially good choice for recording as it was AC/DC’s first appearance there in more than a decade. The audience, always an iffy thing on any live recording, were definitely amped and in good voice.
And the band’s voice, you may wonder? Already more than a year into the tour, the band had pretty much perfected their set and ripped through the shows with more energy than many bands half or even one-third of their age. In short, they didn’t just rock … they roared.
Compared to hearing them in person in 2008, I can honestly tell you that the experience of listening to this show is just as powerful – especially with a damned good set of headphones on your ears – as being there in person.
Almost all of their songs sound just as good as their album versions, so in many ways this release is almost more than a live album, and is instead just about the most perfect “Greatest Hits” album that the band is ever liable to put out.
Live at River Plate is simply an album sure to please fans of both AC/DC and good, loud rock music in general. It’s not going to blow your mind by being something completely unexpected, mind you. Instead it’s just going to blow your mind by being something that you weren’t even aware you were missing. In a music scene filled with EMD, studio-sweetened pop and auto-tuned stars of every stripe and hair color, that’s a remarkable thing in and of itself.
This live release spun in my CD player for quite a long time and I think, should you give it the chance, it will do the same in yours. Odds are if you’re interested in this album you’re going to enjoy it. It’s not the most necessary of albums, as you could quite easily just play their studio albums and listen to the songs you like when you like.
Damn it’s nice to hear the power of this band live, though.