AC/DC: Let There Be Rock
1980 (filmed in 1979)
Rating: **** or even **** 1/2
After years of waiting, AC/DC's classic concert film Let There Be Rock is finally on DVD (as well as Blu-Ray). The movie was originally released in September 1980 but was filmed in 1979 during the last tour AC/DC would do with singer Bon Scott: Scott died on February 19, 1980. The movie was released on VHS but for the longest time, the movie hasn't been on DVD. Fans went as far as to bootlegging it. Finally, Let There Be Rock is now officially on DVD and it's just amazing.
Let me get one thing straight before I start the review: I got the standard edition of the movie. I had the hardest time trying to track down a copy. I finally found a copy at Walmart and thought that the disc would have special features but no! Warner Brothers are making you pay $27 for the same thing all on one disc with a booklet and postcards. I just don't have the money at this time to get that. Could they have at least included the extras on the standard edition? If you see a copy that's some $13, it's probably the standard version. I'm asking myself right now: is it really worth reviewing if I'm not going to talk about the extras? I planned on having a review in the first place so I'll pretty much be giving a review of the movie. I will, however, give you a link in the end where you can watch bits of the extras.
Let There Be Rock was my introduction to AC/DC in 2002. I got the 1977 album of the same name along with the movie on VHS. The movie and album have nothing in common except the same title. I really enjoyed watching the movie and I didn't get why other people were dismissing the movie, saying they just want a straight up concert film. Personally, I love the way it's made. One negative about the DVD: the movie isn't in widescreen. I'm guessing the movie was shot as a 4:3 ratio thing. Still, the movie is great. It's probably the only movie that'll give you a feel for what the 1977-1980 line up of AC/DC was like. This concert is raw and loud. The band blasts into classics such as "Live Wire", "Hell Ain't A Bad Place To Be", "Sin City", and many others. The concert is interwoven with interviews with the band offstage. It's really interesting to hear what they have to say, especially Bon Scott. There's two scenes I like involving the band just hanging out. I love the scene where Bon is signing autographs for fans and is asked where Angus is (to which Bon replies "He's sleeping"). It might be hard for some to watch the scene where Bon and Phil Rudd are trying to open bottles of wine (I think it is), given that alcohol would take the life of Bon. Still, this is what went on behind the scenes. There's an interesting scene where we can hear the band performing "Walk All Over You", but we can't see them perform it on stage. Instead, we see the band fooling around in this rural field. Cliff Williams is flying a plane and then there's Phil Rudd doing donuts with his car. Bon Scott appears out of nowhere in this scene. We can see him walking on ice and then sitting on Phil's car, while Phil continues to drive.
Now if you are an AC/DC fan, this is a no brainer: get this movie now. I know die-hards will go for the extra features, like I tried to do. Still, I see that some sites aren't listing what the extras are. Although I don't have them, this is the list that I'm seeing from a banner via Rolling Stone.com...
-Loud, Locked & Loaded: The Rites of Rock
-AC/DC: The Bedrock of Riff
-Angus Young: A True Guitar Monster
-Bon Scott: The Pirate of Rock N Roll
-AC/DC: A Rock Solid Legacy
-Rock's Elites Discuss 6 AC/DC Songs
As for the Blu-Ray, you get all the above along with a feature that lets you arrange the concert in your preferred order.
I've seen bits of clips of the extras. It looks like people such as Eddie Trunk, Lemmy, Scott Ian, and a few others are interviewed. Here's the URL to the previews: