With 37 years under their belt and as a band who guilt their reputation on their high-energy live performances, you would be surprised to see that AC/DC’s Live at River Plate is only the band’s second live album. The first album was simply titled Live and contained many of the same tracks found on Live at River Plate, and the reason for that is because AC/DC shows setlists are fairly simply. They seldom vary, but the tracks that are performed are performed to perfection.
Live at River Plate was recorded during their three night stand in Buenos Aires in December of 2009 in front of nearly 200,000 fans during the Black Ice World Tour., and it is quite possible that you hear every one of those fans on this release. The crowd is mixed at the perfect level where you feel their energy, but the focus is placed on the music (where it should be).
It’s great to have a new live recording with original drummer Phil Rudd back in the band as well. Rudd is as crucial to AC/DC’s sound as brothers Angus Young and Malcolm Young are to the driving rock sound that AC/DC is known quite well for.
“We don’t speak very good Spanish, but we speak rock and roll pretty good,” shouts vocalist Brian Johnson and he speaks the truth. Whether they are weaving through newer tracks or playing the classics, it makes no difference to AC/DC. The songs are executed with precision and high energy. With execution like that, it is no surprise to see the energy from the Argentinian crowd.
Of course, for my tastes, the classics are what bring me back to AC/DC time and time again, and they are performed very well on this live show. Songs like Back in Black are simply stupendous. As if Back in Black did not already have enough energy, we are treated to the crowd harmonizing with the opening of the track. They do the same with Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. The energy ramps up with a hint of one of the classics being played.
The Jack has a nice, bluesy intro with Brian Johnson teasing the start of the song. The crowd is in full participation mode during the length of this ten minute rendition of The Jack.
Overall, the production of this album is amazing with it having one of the best mixes that I have heard on a live album in a long time. The songs are clear as is the crowd, but the levels are exactly where they need to be.
My main issue with the album is the same issue that I have with every live album – not enough of my favorites. Of course, the same could be said for any fan of any band. With Live at River Plate, AC/DC does one hell of a job proving that being legends of rock and roll “Ain’t a Bad Place to Be.”
AC/DC Live at River Plate Track Listing:
1. Rock N Roll Train
2. Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be
3. Back in Black
4. Big Jack
5. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
6. Shot Down in Flames
8. Black Ice
9. The Jack
10. Hells Bells
11. Shoot to Thrill
12. War Machine
13. Dog Eat Dog
14. You Shook me All Night Long
16. Whole Lotta Rosie
17. Let There Be Rock
18. Highway to Hell
19. For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)