December 8th, 2007 8:11pm
The Irish Rover Pub Sarasota, Fl.
After driving nearly three and half hours across the State of Florida from West Palm Beach, my wife and I, park close to the entrance to the gated area of the parking lot in front of The Irish Rover Pub. The pub was celebrating their second anniversary and promised one hell of a party. As soon as I open up the car door I hear Brian Johnson and the band belting out “Rock N Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution” and immediately feel the sense of urgency to pay the $5 cover and push my way through the 150 – 200 attendees to see if I can get a shot of the band. I get about mid crowd and barely have time to get my camera ready to film when they start with the next song “Whole Lotta Rosie”. I struggle to reach for the sky and film while avoiding the shoving and pushing of the packed crowd and the pumping fists in the air and then it hits me; I’m standing less than twenty feet away from a couple of my lifetime idols; Brian Johnson and Cliff Williams of AC/DC!!! I’ve heard rumors for many years that they both had homes and hang out regularly in bars around Sarasota, even had a few opportunities to go to some of their benefit shows, but life always tended to get in the way; i.e. Hurricane Wilma, my engagement, and once finding out that the show was the night before, but I was there this past Saturday night and they were on fire.
The band consisted of Brian Johnson (Lead Vocals), Cliff Williams (Bass Back Up Vocals), along with Mark Hitt (Lead Guitar), and Steve Luongo (Drums) both former members of the John Entwistle Band. But, there were a few surprises during the show Scotty Hill guitarist for Skid Row played during “Whole Lotta Rosie”, unfortunately I’ve forgotten the name of the Saxophonist, too many Blue Moon’s I guess, my bad. At the end of the show Martyn Jenkins (Lead Vocals) and Rod Vincent (Rhythm Guitar) from the nearby based AC/DC cover band ‘Highway 2 Hell’ joined Brian, Cliff and crew to perform the song “Highway to Hell” and Brian graciously sung back up. Brian seemed impressed Martyn’s performance and the crowd loved it. In fact, everyone that played, played very well and looked like they were having the time of their lives considering they were packed on a tiny stage and cooked by the spotlights five feet away from there face. But, it all provided an intimate atmosphere I can hardly associate with the likes of international superstars from AC/DC. In fact I kept wondering how important The Irish Rover Pub owner must be to have the influence to book such a band to play their second anniversary in Sarasota. I can imagine the phone call, “Hello, AC/DC management… how much would it cost to have AC/DC come play a show at my pub???” My wife and I are actually throwing a Rum Punch Party on New Year’s Eve and having Brian and Cliff play would be awesome. Our neighbors would love that!
The set list was also surprising of course it included AC/DC greats like Back In Black, TNT, Hells Bells, For Those About To Rock, Givin’ The Dog A Bone, You Shook Me All Night, and the before mentioned songs, but also a new song, in fact so new that Brian read the lyrics from a sheet of paper he brought with him. I’ve heard pieces of it before during Jim Breuer’s Hokey Pokey surprise appearance during a “Classic Rock Care” show in New York (posted on YouTube). I was blown away though, when Brian and crew started covering Led Zeppelin’s “Rock N Roll”, which I thought was appropriate considering the reunion show is this week in London, and it truly has been a long time since Brian and Cliff “Rock N Rolled” with AC/DC. But now, I’ll remain patient; I got a little fix to hold me over last Saturday night.
The trip was completely worth it, the band was amazing and the people of Sarasota were so cool. I even made some new friends so I’ll be frequenting my new drinkin’ hole regularly; Chalie & Kathy, Cliff & Pam you know you are. After the show I saw a limo parked behind the stage so I walked up and I was approached by the driver. I asked, “Is Mr. Johnson and Williams in there?”, he nodded affirmatively. I stuck my head in the window and asked somebody if there was anyway I could get a picture with my idols and they replied, “They’re a little sweaty and tired right now, why don’t you come back a little later.” I looked to my left and noticed I’m rubbing my shoulders with Cliff Williams, a bit star struck, I stepped back and said, “Thanks, no worries…” and the black tinted window closed. I couldn’t believe they were just hanging out in the parking lot and there wasn’t a mob. I sat there for a while watching the hot chicks enter and leave the limo and wished my tits were a bit perkier so I too could get them signed. But, eventually decided to check out the rest of the night life Sarasota had to offer. With the entrance fee for me and my wife $10, Beers $50, Hotel $80, the experience was priceless. Probably, one of the least expensive and most memorable trips I ever took. Thanks to Nate at acdc-bootlegs.com for the heads up, The Irish Rover Pub for hosting the event, for everyone else that made this show happen, and Brian and Cliff for being true down to earth Rock N Roll superstars, and Rock N Roll fan lovers…
John Paul Gouleven
West Palm Beach
For the video contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are a few clips from the show, as taped by JP. Thank you very much for sharing!
For Those About to Rock
Who Phoned the Law
Whole Lotta Rosie
Rock and Roll (Led Zeppelin)
Highway to Hell
Apr 20, 1996 - Taken by Kurt R. Vaagen