Published on September 19th, 2014 | by Robert Barry Francos0
AC/DC – Live at CBGB in 1977
Feedback Society contributor Robert Barry Francos was there when AC/DC played their famous CBGB gig; he tells the story with actual photos from the show.
AC/DC live at CBGB’s FFoto (c) Robert Barry Francos
On August 24, 1977, I went to CBGB’s to see one of my favorite powerpop bands, The Marbles (and they did not disappoint).
As their set was ending, over the public address system, it was announced, “Coming up next, AC/DC.” Suddenly there was a commotion at the back of the club and I figured, oh, I bet some drunk was getting tossed. Then I noticed part of the crowd moving toward the stage, surrounding a cluster of people. That’s when they announced the next band to play over the speaker, and it was not one who was scheduled. One of the group of people had long-hair, muscles, and a grainy face; the one behind him was diminutive, wearing short pants that looked like part of a school uniform, and was carrying a guitar case. Of course, I recognized them from seeing them on some Friday night in-concert television program.
It seems AC/DC had been playing in town at the Academy of Music (which would be renamed as The Palladium) to support their High Voltage album, and wanted to check out the club. The band proceeded to play an impromptu set, which actually lasted longer many other local bands’ turn at the mic. And this was after they played a full concert uptown shortly before.
The late singer Bon Scott ran around the relatively small stage, ripping his shirt off along the way. Meanwhile, guitarist Angus Young also frenetically moved like a madman, brandishing his guitar like a weapon of noise, and playing their fun version of pop metal. I’d never been enough of a fan that I would have paid to see the band, but I definitely had fun viewing them that close.
At one point, Angus switched guitars that either had a remote or a really long cord (I can’t remember which). He then made his way through the crowd, while playing wild solo licks, and went outside. So, there was little Angus, while still playing, talking to the transient gents from the Palace Hotel milling outside CBGB.
Luckily, I caught the gig on film. The band was moving around so fast, and I did not have a flash at that time, that all the pictures were blurry due to the movement. At first I was disappointed by the blur, but after some time I found that the effect was almost like echo from the guitar, giving a true feel to the motion of the moment.
Soon after, I even bought the album for a buck at a cut-out bin. I was satisfied on many levels.