AC/DC – Download Main Stage, June 11 2010

The return of AC/DC to Castle Donington 19 years after their Monsters Of Rock triumph was never likely to fail.

And, in truth, the only thing that’s changed in the space of almost two decades is the number of wrinkles appearing on the faces of the main men (more) and the strands of wild hair covering Angus Young’s head (fewer).

Otherwise this is essentially the same hit-laden set – with a batch of Black Ice standards for good measure – and the same high energy performance.

Both Young and Brian Johnson comfortably defy their advancing years and the songs are as sensational as they always were. As expected, AC/DC proved to be the perfect band to close day one of this 30th anniversary Donington rock fest. If the new material – Runaway Train, Big Jack and Black Ice – is still jockeying for a deserved position alongside the classics then all three tracks rocked at Download. Even those donning the original MOR ’91 tees nodded their heads in appreciation and those from an earlier generation still had the good grace to clap along to songs many clearly didn’t know.

Of course what we were all really here for were the sparkling renditions of Back In Black, Highway To Hell and For Those About To Rock – the pick of a pretty awe-inspiring bunch on the night. It went on and on. And on. But nobody gave a s**t.

We could have happily listened to all of this over and over again as a band at the top of their game enjoyed rolling into Castle Donington with their own stage and their own attitude. This was big, bold and beautiful and a measured set managed to roll back the years and hint at a glorious future.

Capturing AC/DC as a co-headliner was a huge triumph for Andy Copping and his fellow Download chiefs. The band ensured that triumph was multiplied tenfold when the time came.

Hamish Grierson