AC/DC tunes up for tour in Pennsylvania

Angus Young, lead guitarist with Australian rock band AC/DC plays during the band's concert at the Hammersmith Apollo in London, October 21, 2003. REUTERS/Toby Melville

WILKES-BARRE, Pennsylvania (Billboard) - In a hail of faux-cannon shots and fireballs, AC/DC treated several thousand fans and industry insiders to a “final dress rehearsal” for their upcoming world tour in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., on Sunday.

The band will return to the Wachovia Arena on Tuesday to launch the Black Ice world tour, its first major world tour in seven years. The tour will promote the album of the same name, which went on sale last week.

The lights went down at 8:10 as an animated AC/DC film played and a giant locomotive moved out to centre stage, surrounded by fireworks. Guitarist Angus Young, in his trademark school-boy uniform, played the opening notes of new single “Rock N’ Roll Train” and got the crowd quickly shouting its approval.

The 13-song show soon segued into AC/DC classics like “Back in Black” and “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” with singer Brian Johnson and company testing out the elaborate stage set: 21 Marshall amps with a bridge across them, assorted pyrotechnics, a phallic stage extension with a raised platform at the end and a glass panel laid into the main stage so a cameraman could catch Young’s guitar-handling from underneath.

As expected, a giant bell descended for “Hell’s Bells” and Young climbed the ringing rope to open the song. A plus-sized blow-up doll was deployed for “Whole Lotta Rosie,” straddling the train prop and manned by a tech tasked with tapping her car-sized foot to the beat. Besides “Rock N’ Roll Train,” the title song from “Black Ice” was the only other new tune played.