AXL ROSE 'Crushed It' Singing With AC/DC, Says ANTHRAX Guitarist SCOTT IAN: 'It Was Fantastic'
January 28, 2023
ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian has once again said that the Axl Rose-fronted AC/DC concert he caught in New York City was one of the best rock shows he has ever seen.
AC/DC postponed the last ten dates of its North American tour seven years ago after doctors told singer Brian Johnson he faced a total loss of hearing if he did not stop touring immediately. AC/DC completed the tour in the summer of 2016, with the GUNS N' ROSES singer as a "guest vocalist".
Ian reflected on the experience of seeing Rose with AC/DC at Madison Square Garden during an appearance on the latest episode of the GUNS N' ROSES-centric "Appetite for Distortion" podcast. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "That Axl/DC show, it was fantastic, because I just thought he nailed [late AC/DC singer] Bon [Scott]. He nailed it — he nails Bon and Brian. And his joy as a fan of that band… 'Cause I don't know Axl, other than having said 'hi' to him a couple of times over the decades — I don't know him. I think I hung out with him, kind of, one time in the '90s at a bar in New York, but other than a, 'Hey, how are you…' But I've always been a fan of certainly [GUNS N' ROSES' debut album] 'Appetite [Of Destruction]' and that record. And I've always known he's an AC/DC fan, 'cause he talks about it."
Scott continued: "[Axl] crushed it. And boy, his fanboyness came out so strong on that stage, you could tell how happy he was to be fronting one of his favorite bands of all time. And not only did he do it justice, but it just couldn't have been… Other than Bon coming back from the dead and a zombie walking out onto that stage, it couldn't have been better. I mean, he nailed it — he fucking nailed it. He took a backseat to [AC/DC guitarist] Angus [Young]. It was just so respectful. The fact that between songs, it was, like, ''You probably know this next one,' and then they bust into 'Highway To Hell'. It's just, like, 'Jesus Christ.' Everything about it was great. It was two and a half hours of headbanging — just non-stop. A fabulous, fantastic show."
Ian previously talked about Rose's performance with AC/DC five years ago during a previous appearance on "Appetite For Distortion". At the time, he said: "I'll be completely honest: when I first heard that Axl was gonna do shows with AC/DC, I just wasn't feeling it. I can't tell you why other than maybe because I'm just such an AC/DC fan for so long and it just seemed weird to me that all of a sudden Brian was pushed to the wayside. And like a lot of AC/DC fans, I think that was kind of a bitter pill to swallow. So I was kind of like, 'Ehhh…' It's not my band. I get it. I'm never gonna be the guy to tell someone else how to run their business; I understand it. But as a fan, I don't have to buy into it — no one's forcing me to buy into it. But it turns out we get to have a night off on tour and it turns out we're close enough to New York to go see AC/DC at Madison Square Garden. And then Axl was kind enough to… A friend of mine who knows Axl and his assistant was kind enough to get a bunch of us on the guest list for that show. And I can't speak highly enough about it.
"And even before that… I'm sorry, I skipped a step," he continued. "I saw a clip online — I can't remember from where — but I saw Axl singing 'Riff Raff' with AC/DC and it blew my mind how great it was. [I was] just like, 'Holy crap! That's perfect! It's perfect!' So then, of course, I got excited about the show. And then the show itself was two and a half hours of perfection. I've gone on record: it's the best AC/DC show I've ever seen. And I headbanged for two and a half hours, which is about an hour longer than I even headbang in an ANTHRAX show, so I actually, even on a night off, I worked harder at the AC/DC show [laughs] than I normally would at one of my own gigs."
Ian added: "It was incredible — one of the best rock shows I've ever seen. I can't say enough about it. The setlist was mindblowing and Axl was note-perfect on all the Brian and the Bon stuff. His passion for it was obvious. It was incredible — it was really, really an incredible night.
"20 years from now, if someone asks me, 'What's the best show you've seen in the last 20 years?' I have the answer. No question, it's that."
AC/DC's North American tour ended in Philadelphia in September 2016, and despite initial fan trepidation, Axl got generally good reviews for his performances. Angus said at the time: "I mean, under the situation that we had, it was very good that he volunteered and said, 'Hey, if I can help, let me try.' So he's been very good. And he had to learn a lot of songs very quickly, and he's done a great job."
AC/DC released its long-awaited comeback album, "Power Up", with Johnson on vocals, in November 2020.
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