Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose made his live debut as the temporary frontman for AC/DC on Saturday night (May 7th) in Lisbon, Portugal, and by all accounts Rose delivered a triumphant vocal performance as fill-in for regular vocalist Brian Johnson even if he was still confined to a chair onstage due to the broken foot he suffered during a Guns show last month.

The band opened the night with “Rock Or Bust,” the title track from the band’s latest album, and the 22-song set contained expected staples like “Shoot To Thrill,” “Back In Black,” “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” “Thunderstruck,” “Hells Bells,” “You Shook Me All Night Long,” “T.N.T.” and “Highway to Hell.” But also aired was a handful of somewhat more rare cuts, such as “Given The Dog A Bone,” “Rock ‘N’ Roll Damnation” — last performed in 2003 — encore “Riff Raff,” which has not been played live by AC/DC since 1996.

  • According to Rolling Stone, Axl was not just in fine vocal form but in a good mood despite still being confined to a seat, with the singer described as “a deferential and pleasant presence between songs and an energized, brooding one during them.”
  • He self-deprecatingly introduced “Shot Down In Flames” as “a song they wrote about my life story,” led chants of “Angus! Angus!” and changed the lyrics of “You Shook Me All Night Long” to “Knocking me out with those Portuguese thighs.”
  • Rose was recruited for 12 European dates and 10 North American concerts after Brian Johnson was forced off tour by hearing loss. AC/DC’s North American shows will likely take place later this year, after Rose completes his summer tour with the reunited lineup of Guns N’ Roses.
  • During an interview with BBC 6 Music, Rose stated about his future plans with AC/DC, “There’s makeup dates in the States, and if I don’t get thrown out before then, I’m looking forward to doing (them). I think after that, it’s about what they wanna do. I’m in if they want me in, and we’ll sort it out, but right now that’s getting ahead of ourselves with everything else that’s on the table.”
  • AC/DC guitarist Angus Young denied that Johnson was fired and told NME that the band “had to act” immediately after learning that Johnson wouldn’t be able to finish the tour, saying, “When you’re in that situation, you’ve got to make decisions pretty quick, because there are a lot of people waiting . . . The options were very limited, and you think, if we just stop with all of this machinery, it’s going to be a hell of a lot of legal entanglement.”

SIDE NOTES: Here’s AC/DC’s set list from Lisbon:

1. Rock Or Bust
2. Shoot To Thrill
3. Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be
4. Back In Black
5. Got Some Rock & Roll Thunder
6. Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
7. Rock ‘N’ Roll Damnation
8. Thunderstruck
9. High Voltage
10. Rock ‘N’ Roll Train
11. Hells Bells
12. Given The Dog A Bone
13. Sin City
14. You Shook Me All Night Long
15. Shot Down In Flames
16. Have A Drink On Me
17. T.N.T.
18. Whole Lotta Rosie
19. Let There Be Rock
20. Highway To Hell
21. Riff Raff
22. For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)

CHECK IT OUT: Watch clips of AC/DC with Axl Rose:






LISTENERS’ POLL: Do you think Axl got the job done?

INTERNET COMMENTS at Blabbermouth and Rolling Stone — agree or not?

Eric Syre wrote: “He’s not a bad fit vocally. I understand people not being into it for nostalgia reasons but he’s doing good from what we’ve seen on Youtube so far.”

dan_70J wrote: “Axl sounds like someone who is positive they do the best Brian Johnson impression, except he only gets 2/3rds of it right – the whiskey and cigarettes. The last 3rd was kinda important- SINGING.”

Holly_Wight wrote: “Okay, I thought Axl would suck, but he actually impressed me with this. I admit I was wrong.”

James Villanueva wrote: “Honestly, this is not bad for having to replace such an iconic singer. Of course you’re going to have those that hate Axl and he will never be suitable for them no matter what. And you have those that think no one can suitably replace Johnson and no one at all will ever be good for them. All in all though, this wasn’t a bad performance and it certainly was not the apocalypse so many people thought it would be.”

Tim Hurley wrote: “AC/DC sounds like s**t and should gracefully retire. Axl sitting on his fat ass trying to belt out those tunes doesn’t even come close.”