Reviewed: December 2019
Released: 1979 / Warner Brothers
Rating: 3.5 / 5
Over time I’ve been slowly and methodically reviewing as many old DVD’s as I can to create some sort of complete DVD review database. This is one of the latest. Since Dec 9th, 2019 will be the 40thanniversary of this concert film, I felt it is a good a time as any to review this.
I’m reviewing the generic DVD version released in 2011…and I do mean generic, No booklet, no bonus features, alternate cover art, incomplete title and the concert is incomplete! There was a limited, mega-collectors tin (limited to ONLY 90,000 copies!) that came with a bunch of extra incentives, but I’m reviewing the base model. So, it’s pretty poorly executed but for those on a budget, at least you can finally see this film.
Filmed in France on December 9th, 1979 at the Pavillion de Paris, and this was originally titled LET THERE BE ROCK-THE MOVIE LIVE IN PARIS. It was recorded in mono of all things and the mastering job was pretty poor, my computer had a hard time reading this DVD. This was one of the last dates on the Highway To Hell tour when Bon Scott was still the frontman.
The film starts with some backstage tear down and set up. There are about five minutes of assorted clips before the crude (by today’s standards) animated title script rolls. The concert goes for about 90 minutes but there are interview clips interjected between a few songs. There is an extended scene with one of the boys on the band driving a Porsche (I think) across a snowy field followed by a vintage WWI airplane. There is also a clip of Bon standing on a frozen lake and a few other things that don’t really make sense. The interview clips are conducted buy a very serious person who asks simple questions in a monotone to which the members of the band who, in various states of inebriation, mumble simple answers.
The concert itself is pretty dark and plain with a simple light show compared to today’s multi-camera HD shoots but it is still pretty cool. The stage itself is quite large and minimalistic and nothing to look at; no props and so on. Where the DVD excels is that is really does capture the primal rock and roll energy of a band at arguably one of their (many) heights of power. Angus does his strip tease. Bon does his witty stage raps and Angus goes out into the crowd on the shoulders of a roadie, while the rest of the bandstand still and headbang pretty consistently for 90 minutes.
LET THERE BE ROCK is a simple and effective statement and is a nice representation of rock and roll at that time. It is a nice precursor to the more modern and slick concert films that would follow. AC/DC don’t have to sell ‘the sizzle’ where they have the raw meat to back it up. Substance before style and that has always been AC/DC secret to success.