AC/DC at Power Trip: if this is the band's last hurrah, they've gone out with an incredible, weekend-stealing set for the ages

AC/DC's headline performance at Power Trip featured hits, debuts and rarities aplenty

AC/DC onstage at Power Trip
(Image: © Kevin Mazur)

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It's a miracle that AC/DC still exist. Between wayward drummers, retired bassists and cited hearing issues that forced singer Brian Johnson to sit out the majority of the band's 2016 tour - Guns N' Roses vocalist Axl Rose guesting in his place - it was starting to look like a very real possibility that we might never see the band again. And good god, what a tragedy that would have been. 

Seven years away might have added a few more creaks and groans to the band's frame, but a sprawling 24-song set soon blows the cobwebs off as they pull out hits, rarities and even a few new tracks for their Power Trip headline spot. Kicking off with If You Want Blood (You've Got It), AC/DC don't so much ease themselves in as leap headfirst, anthems coming thick and fast as Back In Black, Shot Down In Flames and Thunderstruck all fly out as early inclusions. 

A band built for - and from - the sweat of live performance, it's refreshing to see how surprisingly austere their production is. Yes, the on-stage visuals are gorgeous, but there are no massive trains, bulldozers or even an inflatable Rosie this time out; the focus instead being drawn entirely to the band on-stage and the sheer magic of their performance (and maybe the odd massive bell).  

“How lovely's this? Nice to see ya. Let’s get rocking and rolling.” Johnson remains a cheeky and lively presence on-stage, looking like one of the more hale members of the group as even Angus has to tone down his duckwalking antics to selected songs (Shoot To Thrill and Let There Be Rock, if you're asking). But what he lacks in physical theatrics, he makes up for in instrumental wizardry, his every touch sending the guitar wailing as if 50,000 volts are being blasted through it. 

And when the guitar isn't screaming, the fans are. Power Up tracks Demon Fire and Shot In The Dark receive a warm welcome as new boogie-friendly additions to the band's canon, but it's anthems like Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, Whole Lotta Rosie and You Shook Me All Night Long that have voices roaring into the night sky. But there's a place for hits and rarities alike in the set, a two-hour extravaganza that throws up a miscellany of styles and tones.

Much like the ship of Theseus – or Trigger’s broom if you’d rather a reference from the last century – AC/DC have changed enough over the past 50 years that it can be hard to reconcile the band that wrote rock'n'roll tracks that take off at 100mph like Riff Raff with the more blues based Have A Drink On Me or Stiff Upper Lip. Yet the band approach each with the same expert craftmanship that ensures nothing but good times and massive smiles all around, indisputably AC/DC in everything they put their hand to. 

By the time AC/DC signal for the 21-gun salute of For Those About To Rock (We Salute You), there's no doubt in our minds that they are still the greatest rock'n'roll stars to ever (duck) walk the planet. Whether Power Trip remains a one-off, or the staging ground for another massive global tour remains to be seen. But even if this is the band's last hurrah, there's no better way to go out than with a final almighty showing of raucous, rougish rock'n'roll that is celebrated the world over. Oft-copied, never surpassed. 

AC/DC setlist Power Trip festival October 7 2023

If You Want Blood (You've Got It)
Back In Black
Demon Fire
Shot Down In Flames
Have A Drink On Me
Hells Bells
Shot In The Dark
Stiff Upper Lip
Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
Shoot To Thrill
Sin City
Givin The Dog A Bone
Rock'n'Roll Train
You Shook Me All Night Long
Dog Eat Dog
High Voltage
Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be
Riff Raff
Highway To Hell
Whole Lotta Rosie
Let There Be Rock
For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)

Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.