Tuesday, May 26, 2009

AC/DC, Ernst Happel Stadion, Vienna 24/05/2009

So how many (crazy) people do you know who take a 450 km car ride (alone) all the way to Vienna, stay at the Hilton hotel (no doubt Paris will thank me for the $$$ I paid for a single room!) in a room that gives out right on the Danube river, walk 300 metres to the Ernst Happel stadium (the ex Prater), site of last year's European championship final, and take in, again, AC/DC along with some 60,000 fans? Probably not too many I'd say.

Yes, some 30 years after my first visit to the Austrian capital, there I was Sunday nite again hopping and bopping to "Highway To Hell" with kids, teenagers, adults and even folks much older than me (I felt like at a reunion of the Hell’s Angels: this is probably THE first concert out of 185 so far that most ¾ of the fans present were walking around—including me—with all types of AC/DC t-shirts, even those going back as far as 1991 and their Monsters of Rock tour which I saw in Modena together with Sepultura, Black Crowes and Metallica!).

But what another great and grand performance by Angus and the boys, capped off by a magnificent Viennese evening, about 25 degrees. This concert was more spectacular than the one in Milan in March of this year as it took place in a much larger and open-air stadium. In fact, on both sides of the stage high on top were two red caps with the "A" and which were lit up. For "For Those About To Rock" the boys used 12 cannons this time (in 1991 for Monsters of Rock I saw a record 21 on top of the HUGE stage!).

What a difference though in cultures: security in Vienna was tighter and so I couldn't sneak in my Nikon digital cameras and zoom lens (no accreditation unfortunately this time). But very organised the Austrians: they even had a deposit area where you could leave your stuff (and yes, after the concert I did get my stuff back). Smaller cameras though were allowed in. A pity as I had one sitting back in the hotel room but unlike the Milan concert (where I shot about 500 pics!) this time I thought I'd savour Angus and the boys, and just took in their 2 hour show (not a minute more!). I did manage to get some shots of the "crazies" before the show though. No doubt international artists must HATE playing in Italy as practically no one checks your bags anymore to see if you have cameras or video-cams (years ago Italy was 2nd behind Thailand in the world when it came to video piracy!).

Perhaps it's given me age but there are few things that I can think of which turn me crank as much as being surrounded by 60,000 people ALL singing (me included) “Highway To Hell”! What another great, great evening together with AC/DC.

The opening bands were two this time, including a woman, a German I believe, by the name of Claudia Cane (the other group was The Answer which also backed up AC/DC in Milan). I got back to the Hilton and there was Claudia and her group. I thought for a sec that perhaps Angus and Co. would come in. I complimented her show (she sings in English like one of the Wilson sisters. Remember Heart? I saw them in 1976 when they opened for Kiss in Winnipeg!!). I also saw her at breakfast the morning after and asked about the boys. She said that they're all very nice.

A great Sunday night in Vienna and "rocking" (and not waltzing) on the Danube (all pics by M.Rimati. On a personal note, my sincerest thanks by the way to both Martin Zöhrer and his friend Philip Reinprecht of Austria for the pictures of the concert from inside the stadium)!

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