AC/DC-Live At Donington (DVD Review)

Spread the metal:

Reviewed: January, 2023
Released: 1992, Epic Records
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: JP


It can get a bit cold and dark here in the winter months in Canada and AC/DC is a good band to blast away the winter blues.  I’ve been on a bit of an AC/DC kick and accordingly I’m doing a two-part feature for January (AC/DC on screen) where I review three AC/DC DVD’s and February (AC/DC in print) where I review some books about AC/DC.   Please feel free to read all the reviews in this feature.

AC/DC has the very annoying habit of putting out live concerts on DVD, with no corresponding Live CD. STIFF UPPER LIP (2001), NO BULL (1996) and this one have still yet to have a proper live album release. At least they learned the error of their ways and their 5th live concert DVD (LIVE AT RIVER PLATE, 2011) was put out on CD. I got tired of waiting for thirty years to hear this concert so I finally bought this DVD really cheap.

The packaging on this DVD is the worst of all the AC/DC DVDs to date. It is one of those weird eco-slim packages with the hard-shell inlay. It offers no protection of your purchase and is easily damaged. At least it came with a 12-page booklet in full colour. It’s decent; tour dates, some pictures of memorabilia and still shots from the concert and it better than nothing. In terms of the cover art, we get another live shot of Angus in action.

The version I’m reviewing is the 2003 reissue and it has a few bonus features most notably audio commentary from Angus and Brian looking back on the gig.

Filmed on August 17th, 1991, this two-hour set saw AC/DC at arguably the height of their power, headlining ‘Monsters Of Rock’ at Castle Donington for the third time and in support of the multi-platinum RAZORS EDGE album.

There is a difference between headlining a festival and headlining your own show. This is a festival and while I’m sure every concession was given to AC/DC the stage set was stripped down. It was a bit simpler and had a fewer props. At one point we did get to see a giant inflatable angus, which seemed only semi-inflated for some reason. The giant bell seemed dwarfed on the massive stage.

Originally filmed in Panovision that technology seemed to be a selling point. The drawback is that while it might have looked impressive on the big widescreen, on a small screen at home something is lost in translation. Another selling point was that a helicopter was used to film. This is an expensive proposition! You if rent a helicopter and pay a cameraman and pilot for two hours might as well use it. Accordingly, we get a lot of ariel footage. It was almost like the crowd became the feature, so many wide blurry shots from distance at the expense of the band.

The concert was the obligatory hit list of AC/DC! Looking at this DVD in 2022 the band looks so young in 1991! It was pretty windy during the sunset show but the band kept rocking. The band ran from hit to hit to hit, often extending songs a bit here or there. Angus does his infamous ‘moon the crowd’ bit during a mega-long version of ‘Jailbreak’ and his Union Jack briefs were cause for much appreciation for the punters. Chris Slade seems like a much more interesting drummer to watch than Rudd! He pounds away with his unique set-up and it was nice to see him get decent screen time. AC/DC as always delivered the goods.

The bonus features, I believe added to the 2003 reissue seemed a bit weak. The ISO-cam, where one camera stays on each member’ seemed a bit lame. The feature had only a few songs in total. Slade did not even get an Iso-cam spot. The cams also moved around…what is the point if you are supposed to focus on one performer. I don’t really see the value of this feature…who would want to watch Cliff for two hours just standing there bobbing his head?

The ‘commentary’ was also pretty poorly done. Instead of a full-length commentary from the band looking back at the historic gig, which is what we were led to believe, we get an interview that runs about 15 minutes. The female interviewer doesn’t introduce herself or what organization she works for. She doesn’t introduce who she is talking to. We know, by looking at the packaging, that it is Angus and Malcolm, but she never says that and if I didn’t recognize their voices, I would have not known who was speaking. The interview was pretty dull and Angus and Mal are soft-spoken to begin with. Their comments on the Moscow Monsters Of Rock they headlined a few weeks later were quite interesting. Not much of a bonus.

LIVE AT DONINGTON was pretty epic. A historical gig to be sure, the shine only dulled maybe by age and older technology. A great show to be sure but maybe this home video sits in the bottom third of the list of the band live concert DVD’s.


Tracklisting:

1 Thunderstruck
2 Shoot To Thrill
3 Back In Black
4 Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be
5 Heatseeker
6 Fire Your Guns
7 Jailbreak
8 The Jack
9 Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
10 Moneytalks
11 Hells Bells
12 High Voltage
13 Whole Lotta Rosie
14 You Shook Me All Night Long
15 T.N.T.
16 Let There Be Rock
17 Highway To Hell
18 For Those About To Rock (We Salute You)