Every Thursday, we dig through the Paste Cloud archives to revisit some of our favorite old concert videos and audio. This week, we’ve got material from AC/DC, Carl Perkins and Traffic.
AC/DC, Live at the Oakland Coliseum: 1979
Before the untimely passing of Bon Scott in 1980, AC/DC ruled the rock charts with their incendiary brand of good ole rock ‘n’ roll. One could argue that with the scorching guitar solos of Angus Young and the incessant head banging their music elicits, AC/DC were the best at hard rock before there was a name for it. At their 1979 concert at the Oakland Coliseum in California, AC/DC delivered a blazing set.
What made AC/DC’s popularity so ubiquitous was the band’s contagious energy exuded on stage. From the first power chords of the set opener “Live Wire,” the whole band was unrelenting in their chaotic swagger. As Bon Scott sauntered back and forth across the stage, Angus Young thrashed around in his iconic schoolboy outfit, head banging until it (almost) fell off. As the band played on through hits including “Sin City” and “Highway to Hell,” the audience had no fear in joining on the pandemonium. As masses of hair flipped around and tightly held fists stood proudly above the crowd, it become glaringly obvious that only a band like AC/DC could command an audience with such confidence and stamina. During a particularly raging guitar solo in the middle of the song “Rocker,” waves of women jumped on the backs of anyone around them for a better view of what was taking place before them. The band sped off stage, still playing as they all ran the ring of the huge coliseum around them. Even with all the energy AC/DC let out on stage, there always seemed to be more to spare.
During the final song “Dog Eat Dog,” the cheers of the audience almost drowned out the already deafening music. Even in the mayhem of this particular concert, AC/DC plays as tightly knit as ever, a true testament to both the band’s stamina as well as their chemistry. While AC/DC fared just as well with the introduction of Brian Johnson taking the role of lead vocals, the Bon Scott era of AC/DC is what first set the band up for superstardom. Even after Scott’s death, his undeniable energy remained a presence through every era of AC/DC. We salute you.—Kurt Suchman
Carl Perkins, Live at the Capitol Theatre: 1985
There were a few standout members of the rockabilly revolution, and as far as the masthead goes, Carl Perkins reigns supreme. His long career had unusual beginnings, seeing how he was born the son of sharecroppers, picked up the blues as he worked, and played music with his brothers at local honky-tonks. From there, he became one of the most formidable characters in rock history, a guitar player whose penchant for the instrument was unparalleled.
On September 9, 1985, Perkins took the stage at the Capitol Theatre in New Jersey, where he would play his most celebrated hits. At this point, he had a full run as an artist of triumph, tragedy, and collaboration with Johnny Cash—making some of his last rounds as a performer. The set starts off with “Boppin’ the Blues,” a happy-go-lucky early rock number that sends Perkins—sporting a powder blue fringe shirt—grooving and sliding his feet across the floor.
In spite of all the surrounding instrumentation, it’s Perkins’ distinctive guitar licks and intense arpeggios that make the audience go off the wall. He, of course, ends the performance with “Blue Suede Shoes,” which is perhaps the most notable song of his career. Like the rockabilly cat that he is, Perkins always keeps things jaunty and full of life as he playfully interacts with his bandmates and wows the crowd on his own accord.—Mady Thuyein
Traffic, Live at Woodstock: 1994
Woodstock ’94 is generally considered to be a disaster of a festival. The concert, a three-day festival to honor the 25th anniversary of the original Woodstock, featured many different bands. Some musicians were more geared towards the ‘90s alt-rock movement, while others were of the ‘60s psych-rock genre. However, there was a surprise headliner that weekend: Heavy rain. By Saturday, much of the field had turned to mud, and the festival soon became known by its infamous nickname, “Mudstock.” However, despite the weather, the artists’ sets during the weekend were of very high quality. One of the bands that played that weekend, on August 14, 1994, was Traffic.
Their performance, captured here, is a true example of great rock and roll set. Featuring some of their biggest hits, including “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys,” “Light Up Of Love Me Alone” and “Dear Mr. Fantasy,” the performance showed frontman Steve Winwood at his strongest. The version of “Light Up Of Love Me Alone” in particular is tremendous and features a great drum solo by Walfredo Reyes, Jr. Many of the people seemed to carouse around the muddy grounds by taking their clothes off and rolling around in the dirt. But unlike those individuals, you can enjoy the set without needing to follow their lead from the comfort of your own home.—Ben Rosner