Backtracks (2-CD + DVD)
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- Number of Discs: 3
- Released: November 10, 2009
- Label: Sony
Q (Magazine) - p.1314 stars out of 5 -- "The live material shows the band in their element....Flawless performances of 'Hells Bells' and 'Live Wire' explaining why they're still one of the most thrilling live acts."
Record Collector (magazine) - p.875 stars out of 5 -- "[G]loriously energetic, high voltage rock'n'roll..."
Tracks on Disc 1:
- 1.Stick Around
- 2.Love Song
- 3.Fling Thing
- 4.R.I.P. (Rock In Peace)
- 5.Carry Me Home
- 6.Crabsody In Blue
- 7.Cold Hearted Man
- 8.Snake Eye
- 9.Borrowed Time
- 10.Down On The Borderline
- 11.Big Gun
Tracks on Disc 2:
- 1.Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (live) (Sydney Festival, 30 Jan. 1977)
- 2.Dog Eat Dog (live) (Apollo Theatre, Glasgow, 30 Apr. 1978)
- 3.Live Wire (live) (Hammersmith Odeon, London, 2 Nov. 1979)
- 4.Shot Down In Flames (live) (Hammersmith Odeon, London, 2 Nov. 1979)
- 5.Back In Black (live) (Capital Center, Landover MD, 21 Dec. 1981)
- 6.T.N.T. (live) (Capital Center, Landover MD, 20 Dec. 1981)
- 7.Let There Be Rock (live) (Capital Center, Landover MD, 21 Dec. 1981)
- 8.Guns For Hire (live) (Joe Louis Arena, Detroit MI, 18 Nov. 1983)
- 9.Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution (live) (Joe Louis Arena, Detroit MI, 18 Nov. 1983)
- 10.This House Is On Fire (live) (Joe Louis Arena, Detroit MI, 18 Nov. 1983)
- 11.You Shook Me All Night Long (live) (Joe Louis Arena, Detroit MI, 18 Nov. 1983)
- 12.Jailbreak (live) (Dallas TX, 12 Oct. 1985)
- 13.Highway To Hell (live) (Tushino Airfield, Moscow, 28 Sept. 1991)
- 14.For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) (live) (Tushino Airfield, Moscow, 28 Sept. 1991)
- 15.Safe In New York City (live) (Phoenix AZ, 13 Sept. 2000)
Tracks on Disc 3:
- 1.Big Gun (video)
- 2.Hard As A Rock (video)
- 3.Hail Caesar (video)
- 4.Cover You In Oil (video)
- 5.Stiff Upper Lip (video)
- 6.Satellite Blues (video)
- 7.Safe In New York City (video)
- 8.Rock N Roll Train (video)
- 9.Anything Goes (video)
Personnel: Brian Johnson (vocals); Angus Young (guitar); Phil Rudd (drums).
Directors: David Mallet; Eric Dionysius; Paul Drane; Eric Mistler; Andy Morahan.
Editor: Jonathan Wendell.
Photographers: Steve Double; Jeffrey Mayer; Kevin Kane ; George Bodnar; Mike Cassese; Luke MacGregor; Phillip Morris; Colin Stead; Bob King ; George Chin; Jim Houghton; Ebet Roberts; Michael Putland; Sara Johannessen; Michael Halsband; Barry Plummer; Tony Mottram; Larry Busacca; George Desota; Bob King .
As handsome as this package is -- or in the case of the super limited edition, housed in a working guitar amp, as ridiculous -- Backtracks is essentially just a clearinghouse for AC/DC rarities, rounding up all the released tracks and videos that have yet to appear on a collection, throwing in a full-length DVD of 2003 for good measure. In other words, it's a set designed for the kind of diehard who would purchase a box set housed in a working amplifier, but its pleasures aren't limited to the dedicated, particularly when it comes to early AC/DC. Prior to 1979's Highway to Hell, all the band's LPs differed in their Australian and international incarnations (one, 1975's TNT, was just cannibalized for other albums), so there are quite a few stray tracks -- a full 12, ranging from the priceless boogie "R.I.P. (Rock in Peace)" to the throwaway instrumental "Fling Thing," plus alternate takes of "High Voltage," "It's a Long Way to the Top," "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap," and "Ain't No Fun (Waiting Round to Be a Millionaire)" (only available on the deluxe, giving another good reason to opt for the big set). The studio disc is rounded out by some OK latter-day tracks, highlighted by "Big Gun" from the Last Action Hero soundtrack and the nifty little rocker "Cyberspace," and it's quite nice to have all these cuts rounded up. If the live tracks aren't quite as noteworthy, it's largely because there have already been several live releases -- proper albums, box sets, and home videos alike -- but the quality of the two CDs is quite high, opening with a clutch of Bon Scott cuts before settling into a stretch from a dynamite set from Detroit's Joe Louis Arena in 1983, then finding the group trotting around the globe on the third disc. This is supplemented by a DVD dubbed Family Jewels 3, a disc that rounds up all the videos not on the original double-disc collection, including a pair of clips from 2008's Black Ice ("Rock N Roll Train," "Anything Goes"), and alternate takes of seven videos featured on the original compilation. Finally, Backtracks ends with that 2003 show, finding AC/DC in a relatively small venue in Munich, tearing through a concert that relies heavily on early classics. It's a set list that could pretty much be called a hardcore fan's dream, which makes it a fitting close to this box, because if this is anything, it's one for the fans, the ones who have stuck with the band though 35 years of unrelenting rock & roll. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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