It’s AC/DC time!

On Thursday August 6, Moncton and the Maritimes will bear witness to what will surely be a once-in-a-lifetime visit by legendary Australian rock band AC/DC at the Magnetic Hill Concert Site.

Rumours of AC/DC coming to the Hub City started circulating last summer, even prior to the Eagles show at the Hill having been wrapped up. The rumours were just that to start though “” to many, there was nothing substantiated until the official announcement was made earlier this year.

It is rare (though not completely unheard of) for any group just to head to any given city, let alone one on the other side of the world, to play a one-off show. Shows and tours usually coincide with a new record of some sort, whether it is an album of new material or a greatest hits collection.

So when it was announced that the group would be releasing their newest studio album Black Ice on October 20, 2008, it gave fans a shred of hope that the Aussies might eventually find their way to this part of the world before they wrapped up the touring cycle for the record.

Since forming in 1973, AC/DC has become a veritable force in the music industry that bands can only aspire to reach. Working on their own schedule as opposed to a record company’s, the group sporadically releases new studio records (prior to Black Ice, their last studio record was 2000’s Stiff Upper Lip) and yet their popularity never wanes.

To date, AC/DC have sold more than 71 million records in the United States alone. World-wide, their record sales top out at more than 150 million. Their 1980 album Back In Black is the fifth highest-selling record in US history, accounting for an astounding 22 million of the 71 million records sold in the US.

Only The Beatles, Garth Brooks, Elvis Presley, Led Zeppelin, The Eagles, Billy Joel and Pink Floyd have sold more records than AC/DC in the United States. AC/DC are truly a part of an elite club.

In Canada, AC/DC’s sales numbers are nothing to sneeze at either. Within one month of Black Ice’s October release, it had sold more than 300,000 copies. Their total CD catalogue sales tally in our country is well above 2.4 million units.

To be blunt, very few if any bands on the charts nowadays will attain this kind of longevity with their careers. And as they have always done, success has come on their own terms.

AC/DC are one of very few bands holding out from offering their music for legal sale online via iTunes, the popular online music service. In regards to why the band continues to hold off on offering their music via the service, guitarist Angus Young told Rolling Stone Magazine “We don’t make singles, we make albums.” And while their success with record sales cannot be contested, AC/DC have remained a touring powerhouse on the world stage.

In the first six months of 2009, AC/DC’s Black Ice tour had the highest worldwide gross of any group, bringing in an amazing $150.6 million in ticket sales with concert tickets averaging $86.23 each. To help give perspective as to how popular the Black Ice tour is, Tina Turner ranked second on the worldwide scale of touring, grossing $83.5 million in the same period of time with a ticket average of $121.65.

It would be an understatement to say that AC/DC have become one of the highest in-demand bands throughout the world. While some might consider the Thursday show-day for Moncton’s AC/DC show to be less than desirable, there would have been 10 cities lined up behind us for this very show on the very same day had the city decided to pass on the show due to the weekday slot.

The fact of the matter is, when you have a chance to snag a band like AC/DC for a show in your city, you take it. Day of the week be damned.

Moncton will be the 98th stop on AC/DC’s Black Ice tour. After their show in Moncton, the band heads west through Canada including stops in Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Regina, Edmonton and Vancouver before heading into the United States for dates through September and October.

Hub City concertgoers have been admittedly spoiled in the past five years. After seeing very few shows coming our way through the late 90s, this decade has seen a flood of concert activity in Moncton: Elton John, Ozzy Osbourne, Avril Lavigne, The White Stripes, John Fogerty and Michael Buble are among the artists that have blown through the Moncton Coliseum while The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, Bon Jovi, Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill have all performed at the Magnetic Hill concert site. The site hasn’t always been a hub of activity though.

After the Papal visit of Pope John Paul II in 1984, the venue sat largely unused for 14 years until a classic rock festival featuring the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Steppenwolf would grace the stage at the Magnetic Hill venue.

The Rolling Stones show of 2005 was the concert that truly got the ball rolling and the word out on what the city, region and this specific venue had to offer. The show attracted upwards of 85,000 people from all over Atlantic Canada, New England and beyond and showed promoters that if you bring the talent, the people will come out and support the show.

Attendance for past shows held at the Magnetic Hill Concert Site has ranged from a reported 33,000 for the recent Bon Jovi show to over 50,000 for The Eagles in 2008. The last reported ticket count for the AC/DC show stands over the 60,000 mark although many believe it will to be the show that stands the greatest chance of achieving comparable ticket sales to the Rolling Stones show.

The likelihood of AC/DC returning to the region is slim so if you are on the fence about taking in the AC/DC show, I can guarantee it is going to be a show that people are talking about for years to come.

Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see AC/DC in our region.

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