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The Guildhall, St Ives, 13 September 2008


A good dose of rock and roll in what must be one of the most scenic seaside towns in the country seemed to me to be a very good combination so while on holiday in the town for the September Festival taking in the Live/Wire AC/DC tribute show was a no brainer.

The Guildhall in St. Ives is a smashing little venue just off the sea front consisting of a fairly good standing area on the ground floor and a small balcony, it has one unusual feature the bar underneath the stage, even better they have real beer on tap with a couple of kegs of Tribute Cornish Ale.

On entering the venue the first thing that is obvious is how seriously the band take this tribute show with a huge stack of Marshall amps at the rear of the stage, a Live/wire back drop and even two cannons on top of the speakers at each side of the stage.

The band play two sets with two singers John Belford as Bon Scott and as regular Grant Foster has left the band to join a german AC/DC tribute band Pete from tribute band LetThereBeRock as Brian Johnson in the trade mark cloth cap.

After several atmospheric tests of the dry ice machine it's lights down and we are off into the Bon Scott part of the set with a superb choice for opening track It's a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll.


First impressions are that the rhythm section of Andy Tinker - rhythm guitar, Eddie Clarke - bass and Daz Wood - drums run a very tight well oiled machine at the back leaving the manic Lorne Shippen - as Angus on lead guitar, and the charismatic John Belford as Bon to entertain and run things front of stage. The looks, moves and sounds of AC/DC are spot on and as quoted in The St. Ives Festival guide "close your eyes you hear AC/DC, open your eyes you see AC/DC."

All the favourites from the Bon Scott years are here including Dirty deeds done dirt cheap, TNT, Highway to hell, Hell ain't a bad place to be and Bad boy boogie to name a few and as a special treat possibly a surprise choice from the Powerage album Downpayment blues.

John Belford really knows how to work the crowd including passing the microphone along the front row during Dirty deeds, encouraging crowd sing-a-longs during The Jack and inviting a couple of young lads of about 12/13 to continue their headbanging up on the stage in a scene that could have jumped straight out of The school of rock movie.

During another possibly surprising addition to the set Jailbreak, John leaves the stage as Pete (our Brian Johnson for the evening) walks on taking up the track from where our Bon left it (very smooth).

Pete gives a very different kind of performance from John but then so are Mr Johnson's performances different from Bon Scott's replacing the cheeky boy crowd interaction with Brian's growling vocals and prowling the stage like a man possessed.

As with the previous set all the favourites from this era are show cased including You shook me all night long, Hells Bells, Heatseeker and Thunderstruck with the surprise inclusion of the fairly recent Hard as a rock and the Bon Scott era tracks Sin City and High Voltage.


Encores and its time for the big guns (pun intended) a rousing Whole Lotta Rosie the anthem that is Let there be rock and the regular AC/DC set closer, For those about to rock is there really any other way?

Both singers take part in the encores, at times both on stage together swopping verses, and we had the famous crowd walk with Lorne Shippen (Angus) being carried around the crowd on the shoulders of John Belford (Bon) during Let there be rock a real show stopper. Of course the famous cannons made there presence felt firing over the crowd during the climax of For those about to rock, leaving so much smoke in the air that shortly after the show the venue fire alarms went off.

In conclusion really nice venue, helpful staff, great beer, fantastic two and a half hour set by a superb band and meeting a couple of them after the show they seem very nice guys as well and if you love AC/DC and need something to keep you going until the Black Ice tour hits the UK check out Live/Wire tour dates at the band website.

Live/Wire I salute you!

Review and photos by Andrew Lock

GRTR! Recommended


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