After a hiatus of seven long years, AC/DC returned to the live stage at the Power Trip festival in Indio, California, on October 7, 2023. Despite looking a little more gray (OK, a lot more), the band sounded as good as ever.
On Saturday night, a new generation met AC/DC for the first time. The songs were tight, and the crowd was alive. The band looked like they were having a blast, and that resonated throughout the evening.
The band’s electrifying performance not only marked their live comeback but showcased some fresh changes in their lineup, with Matt Laug taking over the drums, replacing Phil Rudd for this gig, and bassist/vocalist Cliff Williams coming out of retirement for the show.
The band’s setlist was a remarkable blend of classic hits and new tracks from their 2020 album, “Power Up.” They opened the set with a high-energy performance of “If You Want Blood (You Got It),” a song they hadn’t performed with Johnson on vocals since 2003. The crowd went wild as the band followed it up with their magnum opus “Back in Black,” and the first-ever live performance of “Demon Fire.” The set was front-loaded with hits, keeping the energy at a peak with tracks like “Thunderstruck,” “Have a Drink on Me,” and “Hells Bells”.
Notably, this concert saw the live debut of two tracks, “Demon Fire” and “Shot In The Dark,” as well as some songs being performed for the first time in many years with Brian Johnson, like “Dog Eat Dog” and “Riff Raff”.
Critics and attendees alike have showered praise on the band’s set. The performance was described as hard-charging, infectious, and downright joyous. The band’s ability to engage the crowd was undeniably showcased as the crowd rocked along with each belted chorus, especially during the “Thunderstruck” performance, which was described as absolutely electric.
AC/DC’s journey over the last decade has been nothing short of a rollercoaster. Following the release of their album “Rock or Bust” in 2014, lead singer Brian Johnson had to step away from touring due to severe hearing issues. It led to Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose temporarily stepping in to fulfill the band’s touring commitments.
The band faced another blow with the passing of their rhythm guitarist and founding member Malcolm Young in 2017. However, the release of “Power Up” in 2020 signaled a positive turn, though touring was off the table due to the global pandemic.
This performance at the Power Trip festival marked AC/DC’s triumphant return to live music and re-established their position as one of the few hard rock acts ever to have transcended the genre in terms of mainstream crossover appeal and commercial success.
As the night descended upon the Empire Polo Club, the iconic chords of “Highway to Hell” resonated across the venue, leading a large crowd in a euphoric singalong. The band closed their set with “Whole Lotta Rosie” and “Let There Be Rock,” with an extended guitar solo from Angus Young, before returning for an encore performance of “T.N.T.” and “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)”.
This performance was a showcase of AC/DC’s undying legacy and a testament to the unbreakable bond between the band and its ardent fans. The thunderous applause that echoed as the band took their final bow was a heartfelt salute to the rock icons, marking the end of a historic night of rock ‘n’ roll at the Power Trip festival.