When I first heard about the guys from the AC/DC Abruzzo blog, I thought they were nuts. And then, almost instantly, I was jealous. These guys from Italy were following the band all over the world for the Black Ice Tour. From the video shoot in London for Rock n Roll Train to the final show in Bilbao, these guys managed to make it to 85 shows and travel over 90,000 miles. Their story is amazing by itself: a simple promise made at the Hammersmith in 2003 to travel the world with AC/DC, a 5 year wait, and then all hell breaks loose. Now that's rock n roll.
Then I heard about a photo book they were planning and I knew it would be something special as these guys definitely had the pictures and experiences to put one together. The photos alone would have been enough, but they also include a number of personal stories about things that happened along the way.
I had no idea what they were planning, but was pleasantly surprised when I received my copy in the mail. At first look, you can tell that this is not a cheap or poorly constructed book. It is a solid, hard cover edition, with dust cover and full color photos on both the dust cover & book itself. Printed in Italy, the pages are also made from quality paper that won't rip or fold easily, so this book should last for a very long time. The Abruzzo boys really grab your attention with a close-up of Angus on the front cover and a great shot from behind of Angus and Brian on the back.
The introduction, written by Arnaud Durieux, also gives instant credibility to the book. Arnaud is the webmaster of ac-dc.net, the best source of information about AC/DC on the internet out there. He is a true historian of the band, and has collected an incredible amount of information on the band. He is also co-author of the book "AC/DC: Maximum Rock & Roll", a definitive biography of the band released in 2008. Arnaud gives a brief background of his experiences with the Abruzzo crew, and explains just how special this book really is. Travel, tickets and jobs were just the beginning. Getting great photos of the band from all angles (the fury of the pit, the distance of the nose-bleeds) and as they are in action really makes the pictures shared in this book special.
After a quick run-down on the history of AC/DC Abruzzo and even some private emails and conversations, we get the brief history of how the Black Ice tour came to light. All of the photos are presented in chronological order, starting with the final dress rehearsal on October 26, 2008. While it was an abbreviated set list, they captured the evening with some great pictures of what was (at the time) the most important concert of the band's long history. After a 5 year break, did the band still have what it takes? Could Brian still sing? Could Angus still duck-walk? You had better believe it. The 11 pictures included show the life and energy of the performance and also shows the band doing what they do best.
The next few pages give a re-cap of the entire Black Ice tour, with some impressive stats (168 shows over 5 continents) and shows the complete list of gigs for the first leg in North America. The photos included from this first leg are a bit brief, only including a few from opening night and 3 other shows. But the ones included, especially one from Chicago on October 30, 2008 taken from extreme stage left, is really impressive and shows that the band can still fill arenas.
Up next is a story from a conversation with Brian about the Hammersmith gig in 2003 and how close it was to not happening. It is stories like these that make this book really a great piece to have.
Next is a brief introduction to the 2009 European legs of the tour, both indoor and outdoor, including the tour dates and locations. The first few photos from this section are from Paris on February 25, 2009 and are probably my favorite of the book. They show Brian on the catwalk and they just look amazing. From the lighting to the focus, it's mostly the simple fact that they show Brian having a great time on stage & with the fans. There are some great shots of Angus from the following show (Feb. 27) next, including a 2 page spread of him during For Those About to Rock. We then roll through Belgium and Germany, with some great shots of the entire band. The moments in time captured by these pictures are great and can tell an entire story by itself: flames on the screen with Angus reaching between Brian's legs. The cannons firing in the background. Angus spinning on the catwalk & giving the devil horns. The photographs really make you feel like you're there, experiencing the sweat, heat, and passion from the show.
The fact that the photos are from all over the arenas and stadiums is a great thing. As Arnaud mentions in the introduction, the guys were never in the press spots where you get to stand for 3 songs right next to the stage and snap some close-ups. The wide range of angles and distances add to the book by reminding you that these were normal guys taking these pictures, and it could have been you doing the same thing if you'd been as dedicated as they were.
There are again some great shots of Angus and Brian from London on April 14, 2009, including one of Angus coming up throught he stage for the intro to Highway to Hell and another of Brian grabbing his nuts during the following show on the 16th. There is then an amazing shot from Buenos Aires in December of 2010 that shows most of the floor of the stadium in all it's glory. Hands raised, lights bright. It almost gives you the sense of just how big that stadium really was and how many people were there watching the band that night.
That wraps up the Euro tour and next is a memory of a day in Perth in March of 2010 which details a brief encounter with Angus and how he had noticed the Abruzzo guys from the stage. Needless to say, this had to have been a great encounter for the guys.
The Australian tour photos are next, and do not disappoint. There are some great close-ups of Angus, as well as the rest of the band including Brian belting out some lyrics in Sydney. While the Australian leg was brief, there are still a great deal of nice photographs including a fitting tribute to Bon by showing a picture of his gravesite in Fremantle Cemetery as well as pictures from Melbourne when he appeared on the video screens during High Voltage. Simple, but very effective in letting you know that Bon is gone, but not forgotten.
After a few wide shots from the Japan shows, there is a great story from Paris in June 2010 about the guys hanging out with Phil's son, Tommy and a chance encounter (and almost more) he had with Kylie Minogue. Again, stories like these are a huge bonus to the photos.
The 3rd leg of the European tour is covered next after skipping the make-up shows in the USA, and include some great shots from the outdoor shows in Romania, Italy, and Denmark to name a few. The quality and consistency of the photos is great and gives a wide range of pictures from the shows, even though the stage and performance varied little throughout the tour. There are also some amazing photos from Nice that catch Angus in the rain and an amazing shot of the full stadium in Berlin on June 22, 2010.
There are a few photos from the final shows of the tour in Seville and Bilbao, and then they are nice enough to include a section entitled 'Rock n Roll Fannation Around the World'. Even though these pictures are much smaller than the others in the book (there are roughly 40 pictures per page in this section compared to 2 or 3), it allowed other fans to share their memories and experiences with the world. From different fans meeting the band members to the fans meeting AC/DC Abruzzo, it is a great mix and keeps you thinking that this is something put together by a fan and not a publisher that is indifferent about the end product. My only complaint about this section is that I didn't get my own picture in on time to be included in the book.
Overall, this book is amazing. The quality of the photographs and the detail of the stories included make this a great way to re-live the Black Ice World Tour every time you take it off of the shelf. I know I will enjoy looking back on it from time to time for many years to come.
|Be sure to order your copy of the Black Ice World Tour photo book today! This is a limited edition book and is only available online. Order it for 65 Euro + shipping only on their website at acdcphotobook.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.|
Feb 18, 2009 - Taken by Kurt R. Vaagen