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Throwback Thursday: Everyone has a ball when AC/DC comes to town

Brian Johnson sings as Angus Young plays guitar at the AC/DC concert Saturday, January 17, 2009 at the Fargodome. Dave Wallis / The Forum

Other than the speed of light, death and taxes, there are few things more constant than AC/DC.

Founded in 1973, the Australian hard-rock band has applied the same formula to 17 albums: simple, bluesy riffs; hard-pounding drums; vocals demanding you to shout along.

Even when things change for AC/DC, they stay roughly the same. Rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young retired from the band in 2014 because of advanced dementia. His nephew took his place. Drummer Phil Rudd got into some trouble with the law and left the band soon after Young’s departure and was replaced with a previous AC/DC drummer.

That if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it attitude applies to the band’s touring ethos, too, and when the band rumbles into town for next week’s Fargodome show, there are some things we can probably count on. Here are a few, based on Forum reports from AC/DC’s 2001 and 2009 visits to our fair city.

Their legions of fans will be there. In 2009, The Forum talked to two diehard fans, Lana Waters and Tamara Bucholz, who had bonded over the band and got matching AC/DC pinky ring-finger tattoos to signify their friendship and their fandom.

Tamara Bucholz (left) and Lana Waters (right) flash their AC/DC ring tattoos. File photo. Carrie Snyder / The Forum

Waters remains a diehard to this day. Why? She says it’s their timeless music, and it’s not just timeless in the sense that it hasn’t really changed in 30+ years. Their appeal is timeless, too.

“I got my nephew and niece (into AC/DC’s music), they grew up listening to it with me,” Waters says, “they’re 15 and they love it. And my older brothers went to their concerts. It’s just good music.”

Waters won’t be at the Fargo show. She had a vacation planned for “somewhere warm” before the Fargo show was announced, but she’s every bit as diehard as she was when she and Bucholz got their tattoos. She saw the band twice in Canada last fall, and she and Bucholz attended the Winnipeg show together.

And they might be a bit hard to contain. For a number of reasons, a Fargodome’s worth of congregating AC/DC fans should quicken your pulse.

In 2001, AC/DC’s first visit to Fargo prompted a mad rush for tickets. So mad was the rush, in fact, Fargodome employees asked the Fargo Police Department to assist security guards should those who didn't get tickets become unruly.

"Nothing happened," Fargodome Executive Director Paul Johnson said at the time. "But you'd rather take precautions than have something go wrong."

The influx of fans for the 2009 show put a crunch on area hotel space. With a couple of conventions and smaller events in competition, hotels around the Fargodome sold out within days of the announced concert. Waiting lists swelled into the dozens for one hotel.

They weren’t the only facilities that were almost in short supply. Just a few months prior, long lines for women’s bathrooms at a Bon Jovi show had Fargodome organizers concerned about bathroom availability for the AC/DC show. Plus, the hordes of AC/DC fans put a strain on parking.

In other words, it takes little bit of planning if you want to be shaken all night long.

But everyone’s going to have a big ball. Reviews from the 2001 and 2009 shows, in keeping with our theme of constancy, point to a good, solid rock ‘n’ roll experience for the thousands of fans there.

From Tammy Swift’s review of the 2001 concert: “(Kim) Knudson explained his attraction to AC/DC's sound. ‘It's good, hard rock ‘n' roll that just keeps going,’ he said. ‘Angus on guitar is one of the best things in the band. I've been to the Stones concert, and AC/DC is three times as good as them.’”

And from Dave Roepke’s review of the 2009 concert: “Playing the Fargodome on Saturday night for a crowd of 21,700, AC/DC made the strongest possible argument for the rightness of its way to rock. It was a convincing case. Live, AC/DC still works in only one dimension, but that dimension is out of this world.”

The more things change, the more they stay the same, it seems, and it all points to a rollicking good time at next Thursday’s show.

Kris Kerzman

Kris Kerzman is a digital content producer for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He's also a dad, a board game enthusiast, and a sucker for an Oxford comma. He can be reached at (701) 241-5466 or kkerzman@forumcomm.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @kriskerzman.

(701) 241-5466
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