The mid '90s was a strange time to be a teen, let alone an AC/DC fan. Even though the band's seminal material was released a decade and a half earlier, songs like "T.N.T.," "Highway to Hell," "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap," "Who Made Who" and "Rock and Roll Ain't Noise Pollution were staples on rock radio. The Australians were as popular as ever, despite only releasing a live album in 1993, and a song on the Last Action Hero soundtrack, which was actually my introduction to the band.
Few, if any AC/DC fans would point to "Big Gun" as the moment it all clicked for them. Yet during my formative music days I couldn't get enough of that soundtrack. It also featured Alice in Chains, Aerosmith and Fishbone, I only listen to "Big Gun" probably 29483 times before wearing out the CD. My parents thought I was nuts. I mean, who listens to that song over and over again? But they made the bold step of introducing me to the entire AC/DC catalog. They secretly had the collection through a close friend who was a Sr. VP at Atlantic, and decided after being driven beyond the point of irritation, to share The Razor's Edge and of course, Highway to Hell.
Midway through my freshman in high school, after I had surgery, I was given Back in Black as a get well present. Having heard the songs only in single format on the radio, I remember feeling like a whole new world opened when I first heard "Hells Bells." It was unlike anything else I'd heard at the time, and Angus and Malcolm Young were there to illuminate a world of hard rock I never knew existed. It was also at this time when I scrolled through the lyrics booklet (remember those?) that I realized AC/DC had two singers, and that one died before this album. That didn't matter as I got lost in Back in Black.
My interest in AC/DC grew, but for one reason or another, whenever they toured in my native New York, I never saw them. It wasn't due to a lack of trying or parental refusal. Instead, karma got in the way. The first time I heard they were coming to town, I was scheduled for a surgery and I wasn't as into them as I was a few weeks later. The next time they toured was in 2000, while I was in college. The excuse this go-round was that they played in my college city a week before I returned from summer break. From there on, every time I tried to see the band live, for one reason or another, it wasn't meant to be. Weddings, bachelor parties, work functions and traveling all got in the way.
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That's why when I found out in November (yes, November) that the Australian rockers were headlining Coachella, the 15-year-old in me couldn't contain his excitement. It was about a month and a half before Goldenvoice announced the lineup, so I still there was still a shadow of doubt that this could just be a cruel joke by the universe preventing me from seeing them again. Thankfully, I was wrong.
Ahead of seeing them--and they're still as badass as ever just read about their meth using drummer--though without Malcolm Young, this is as excited for a show that I've been in a long time. Coachella represents their first shows in nearly five years and first in the U.S. in nearly six.
But before they hit the stage, AC/DC decided to elude me one last time. On Monday night, I along with a group of people were walking to dinner and on our way, we strolled past a very fancy L.A. restaurant and saw what appeared to be a group of paparazzi. Initially dismissive, but we saw they were holding albums and sharpies. If you guessed that those were AC/DC records, then congratulations. I looked at the group of fans, looked down at the ground and laughed. The elusive AC/DC feet from me after all these years. I thought about waiting then quickly dismissing that thought, figuring it's best to leave the gazing for Coachella. Besides, I'm not 15 anymore.