ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian says that the Axl Rose-fronted AC/DC concert he caught in New York City was “one of the best rock shows” he has ever seen.
AC/DC postponed the last ten dates of its North American tour two years ago after doctors told singer Brian Johnson he faced a total loss of hearing if he did not stop touring immediately. AC/DC completed the tour in the summer of 2016, with the GUNS N’ ROSES singer as a “guest vocalist” and Johnson seemingly not returning to the group.
During an appearance on the “Appetite For Distortion” podcast, Ian was asked what he thought of seeing AC/DC perform with Rose. “I’ll be completely honest: when I first heard that Axl was gonna do shows with AC/DC, I just wasn’t feeling it,” he admitted (hear audio below). “I can’t tell you why other than maybe because I’m just such an AC/DC fan for so long and it just seemed weird to me that all of a sudden Brian was pushed to the wayside. And like a lot of AC/DC fans, I think that was kind of a bitter pill to swallow. So I was kind of like, ‘Ehhh…’ It’s not my band. I get it. I’m never gonna be the guy to tell someone else how to run their business; I understand it. But as a fan, I don’t have to buy into it — no one’s forcing me to buy into it. But it turns out we get to have a night off on tour and it turns out we’re close enough to New York to go see AC/DC at Madison Square Garden. And then Axl was kind enough to… A friend of mine who knows Axl and his assistant was kind enough to get a bunch of us on the guest list for that show. And I can’t speak highly enough about it.
“And even before that… I’m sorry, I skipped a step,” he continued. “I saw a clip online — I can’t remember from where — but I saw Axl singing ‘Riff Raff’ with AC/DC and it blew my mind how great it was. [I was] just like, ‘Holy crap! That’s perfect! It’s perfect!’ So then, of course, I got excited about the show. And then the show itself was two and a half hours of perfection. I’ve gone on record: it’s the best AC/DC show I’ve ever seen. And I headbanged for two and a half hours, which is about an hour longer than I even headbang in an ANTHRAX show, so I actually, even on a night off, I worked harder at the AC/DC show [laughs] than I normally would at one of my own gigs.”
Ian added: “It was incredible — one of the best rock shows I’ve ever seen. I can’t say enough about it. The setlist was mindblowing and Axl was note-perfect on all the Brian and the Bon [Scott] stuff. His passion for it was obvious. It was incredible — it was really, really an incredible night.
“20 years from now, if someone asks me, ‘What’s the best show you’ve seen in the last 20 years?’ I have the answer. No question, it’s that.”
Johnson said in an open letter to fans that he intends to solve his hearing problem and continue recording and touring, although he pointedly did not say whether he would be rejoining AC/DC.
AC/DC‘s future remains in doubt after the band completed its world tour in support of 2014’s “Rock Or Bust”, a cycle that saw a massive turnover in the group’s personnel. Guitarist Angus Young has not yet indicated whether the group will continue recording and touring.