The early reviews are in the door for the Axl/DC experiment and by all accounts the flame haired frontman has silenced all the critics and heralded a triumphant return to the road for AC/DC.
When Guns N’ Roses mainman Axl Rose was announced as AC/DC’s new frontman after Brian Johnson was forced to step down for health reasons, reaction was mixed with many questioning if Axl could pull it off.
But last night (Saturday, May 7) Axl, broken foot and all took his place on stage with AC/DC at the Passeio Maritimo de Algés in Lisbon, Portugal, for his first show as AC/DC frontman.
The Guardian rate the show as a five-star performance, describing Roses’ voice as ‘brilliant’ and urging fans to check out the show saying: “The triumph lies in the renditions of the songs AC/DC wrote and recorded when Scott was still alive. Whereas the Johnson-era material tended towards boozy bonhomie, Scott was often a malevolently misanthropic writer and singer, concealing a slightly terrifying rage behind apparent good humour.
“Rose, who is familiar with both malevolence and misanthropy, delivers those songs perfectly, giving them fresh menace. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap loses its cartoonish aspect, and becomes the bar-room chatter of a psychopath; he introduces Shot Down in Flames as “the story of my life” and convinces you it’s true.
“His voice, too, is brilliant: no matter how high, every note is hit, and sustained. And he keeps it up for two hours.”
In the Daily Mirror the consensus is again overwhelmingly positive. Their man in Lisbon say Rose ‘won over fans in Portugal and his own critics as he proved he's still got the range that once made him one of rock music's most celebrated frontmen.’
TeamRock too are full of love for the new project as they described Rose’s performance as ‘astonishing, tour-de-force performance, and he looks like he's genuinely having fun.’
They add: “Is this a new, humble Axl, about to unexpectedly breath life into an ageing band while working angles on his own redemption? On this showing, it really feels like it could work.”
The Telegraph says Rose joining ACDC was not something was ever supposed to happen, comparing it to an idea dreamt up at 3am. But the are gushing in their praise saying: “Rose has openly admitted that some AC/DC songs are the hardest he's ever had to sing. But you wouldn’t know it from his performance. Praise the rock gods, Rose nailed those vocals.
“For two hours he hit every note and sent it to the heavens. As the first person other than Johnson to sing lead for AC/DC since the death of original frontman Bon Scott in 1980, he did a bang-up job.”
Rose was recruited for a run of twelve European dates and yet to be scheduled ten North American concerts Johnson was forced to hang up the mic.
AC/DC's North American shows will likely take place later this year, after Rose completes his summer tour with the reunited lineup of Guns N' Roses
During an interview with BBC 6 Music's Matt Everitt, Rose reveals he would be interested in joining AC/DC full-time if the band want him.
“There's makeup dates in the States, and if I don't get throw out before then, I'm looking forward to doing [them]. I think after that, it's about what they wanna do. I'm in if they want me in, and we'll sort it out, but right now that's getting ahead of ourselves with everything else that's on the table.”
AC/DC guitarist Angus Young told NME the band had no choice but to move forward without Johnson.
“It was a crisis that came then. We were in Miami at the time, when all of this came up, and unfortunately, when you're in that situation, you've got to make decisions pretty quick, because there are a lot of people waiting.
“We were supposed to actually play in Atlanta, so you're kind of going, 'What do we do now?' Because of the nature of Brian's deafness, we knew that there was no easy fix. So you've got to then say, 'What do we do here?' The options were very limited, and you think, if we just stop with all of this machinery, it's going to be a hell of a lot of legal entanglement."
He adds: “Brian has to be very careful of what hearing he's got left. This is what he told us. He was gutted about not finishing [the tour], because he says he would have loved to have gotten through. It was his call, what he wanted. He made that decision himself. He didn't want to be deaf. And I perfectly understand that; when you stop doing this, you want to walk away with all your pieces! I don't even want to leave without my fingernail!"
Axl also confirmed he made the first move and contacted the AC/DC camp to see if he could assist the veterans complete their tour.
"I called the day I read about it in the news, that there was a situation going on with Brian's hearing..
"I called a guy who's their production manager right now... because I knew there was going to be a problem with having dates on sale and dates sold and stuff like that. So if I could help, and if I was able to do it, and they were interested, I'd love to help. And that's how it started.
"I wasn't looking at it like, 'I'm singing for AC/DC.' I was looking at it like, 'y'know, if I can, and if they think I'm able to do it.
"A lot of the Back In Black stuff is really challenging. I'm not here in any way out of any disrespect to Brian. I can't take anything away from his singing at all," he said.
"He's a great singer and it's really challenging to sing it. I'm just trying to do it justice for the fans."
01. Rock Or Bust
02. Shoot To Thrill
03. Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be
04. Back In Black
05. Got Some Rock & Roll Thunder
06. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
07. Rock 'N' Roll Damnation
09. High Voltage
10. Rock 'N' Roll Train
11. Hells Bells
12. Given The Dog A Bone
13. Sin City
14. You Shook Me All Night Long
15. Shot Down In Flames
16. Have A Drink On Me
18. Whole Lotta Rosie
19. Let There Be Rock
20. Highway To Hell
21. Riff Raff
22. For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)