Back in Black

January 20th, 2009 | Posted in General

Tom at AC/DC
Number One Son Thomas is ready to rock!

I took a break from my current crazy deadline job to finally take my twelve year old son Tom to his first concert last night… AC/DC. I say “finally” because I had purchased the tickets through my trainer months ago as an early Christmas present for Tom, and we went to the concert center when AC/DC was in town only to find out they were making TWO stops in St. Paul, MN on this tour… and we had tickets for the show two months later. Ooops. We went home disappointed that night, but made up for it tonight.

Funny how life works. When I was a kid the music my parent listened to when they grew up was about as interesting to me as watching paint dry. I figured it would be the same story with my kids, but imagine my surprise when my kids happened upon my CD collection in the storage room (they are all on my iPod now) and couldn’t believe how cool the music I listened to was. “WOW! You have ‘Black Sabbath’ albums, dad! ‘Cheap Trick’! ‘AC/DC!'” I couldn’t believe they’d ever even heard of these bands. I asked how they knew these bands and their music.

Two word answer: “Guitar Hero”.

The recent rash of old rockers having a resurrence of their careers, putting out albums and touring ala AC/DC can credit most of it to that video game. Kids are crazy for “Guitar Hero”, “Rock Band” and their sequels, and through them they are exposed to a lot of classic rock music and bands that they otherwise would never have heard of. It’s a riot to walk in on them jamming out to some old song by the Kinks and be better at the vocals on “Rock Band 2” than they are because I know the song backwards. Surprisingly they don’t hate it… they think it’s cool that their dad knows “The Trooper” by Iron Maiden by heart.

How was AC/DC? Wow, those guys are old. They can still bring it, though. Angus Young was all over the place… he just looks like Gollum now. The drummer looks like my dad. The band sounds the same. Brian Johnson on lead vocals definitely took a lot of shortcuts on some of their songs to save his voice, but the way that guy abuses his vocal chords it’s amazing he can even speak today after 25 years of rocking out. The last time I saw AC/DC in concert I was living in a small apartment on 4th Street near the University of Minnesota campus going to college, working at Burger King, and had just started drawing caricatures during the summers… that would be 1985-86. Yikes. AC/DC isn’t the only one who’s getting old.

Fun time with the boy. He loved it. He could do worse for having AC/DC be his first rock concert.


  1. SteveH says:

    I saw AC/DC in about 1980 I think, and they were awesome then, Angus appeared up on the balcony very close to us and it was a BIG thrill! My own son, who is now in his early twenties has grown up with my love of prog rock and is a big fan of that genre (itunes please add this to your list!) and we had a night at a Yes concert a couple of years ago with tickets near the front and it was TOTALLY AWESOME! Rock on dude!

  2. Shaggy says:

    I have never been to an AC/DC concert before, but I have been listening to them for almost 20 years. I really like their newest cd. Its good that you and your son got to enjoy the concert.

  3. reojames says:

    Thanks to Guitar Hero, my 13 year-old-son’s favorite band…. Iron Maiden.

  4. Mark Engblom says:

    Yeah, I also have Guitar Hero and Rock Band to thank for my kids coming to appreciate the great old rock music. Of course, they still like alot of the incomprehensible pop junk…but that’s how it’s always been and that’s how it always will be between kids and parents. There should always be a certain degree of “How in the hell can you listen to THAT?” when it comes to the parent-kid music gap. But on the old rock standards, at least there’s some crossover.

  5. Jim K says:

    Guitar Hero has helped, but my kids (and their contemporaries) were into just about anything I used to be a fan of. True, I exposed them to my stuff ALL the time, and they just knew most of it by osmosis, but they did really like it. And sometimes they liked stuff I never would have figured.
    My middle son is a huge fan of Barry White and Phil Collins. I have 3 sons and they make their own films, like a lot of kids do these days, and I’m surprised at the classic oldies they include in their ‘soundtracks’.
    They also like some modern music as well. But I see it as a good sign that they’re open to older stuff, just as I was with the Easy Listening and Country & Western I was exposed to as a kid.
    A more well rounded musical experience leads to a more well rounded kid, as far as I can tell.

  6. Steckley says:


  7. Trevour says:

    Well, that totally beats my first concert – Billy Joel. Not that it wasn’t a thrill to see Billy Joel live, but compared to everything else I listen to, he’s next to last on the list. In fact, I only have one Billy Joel song in iTunes… and that came off some CD sampler.

    I missed out on AC/DC in Fargo this past weekend – I’m sure you guys had a blast!

    • Tom says:

      Unofficially my first concert was… Loverboy. Don’t laugh… I went for the chicks. Officially the first concert I actually claim to have seen was a double bill: Rainbow and UFO. These were the days of general admission and I was able to bully my way to the front of the crowd on the right side of the stage. That put Ritchie Blackmore right in front of me wailing on his guitar. This being the early 80’s UFO was Michael Schenker-less. 🙁 BTW that was Rainbow in the Joe Lynn Turner era and not with Ronnie James Dio. 🙁 🙁

      • Trevour says:

        Great story! Even if you saw UFO and Rainbow with their not-so-prime lineups, that’s still a great “first” concert! I’ll forget the Loverboy!

  8. Unclejed says:

    Well, I remember seeing them in 1975 just after their first album was released, they were pretty much a pub band then and Bon Scott was the lead. 34 years later and they’re a global stadium band and they will probably outlast “The Stones”. Shows they’re absolutely right “Rock And Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution!”

    I just wish they’d come home down under more often!

  9. Quikdraw says:

    Love AC/DC! You hear their songs played 1-2 times during every sporting event (except tennis-golf) to amp up the crowd.
    My first concert was in the late 80’s- The Monkees (without Michael Nesmith) at Great Woods in Mansfield,MA. They just released their boxset collection. I remembered the show growing up and loved hearing them again. Micky Dolenz still had a pretty decent voice. Hard to believe guitar icon Jimi Hendrix was the opening act on a Monkees tour.
    There’s a radio show called Lost 45’s with Barry Scott. I love hearing those One Hit Wonders! Fun nostalgic listening.


New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550

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