Sound — 9
We all get to travel back in time for AC/DC's latest DVD release No Bull: The Director's Cut. You might recall the concert filmed at the Plaza De Toros De Las Ventas in Madrid, Spain, originally hit shelves back in 1996, but this latest version has been reedited in HD and remixed in 5.1 Surround Sound. So in terms of content, there might not be that many surprises for diehard AC/DC fans. That being said, the Madrid concert is such an amazing experience that it does deserve to be shown in the best condition possible. The 2-hour show proves exactly why a straightforward rock-and-roll music of AC/DC has managed to sell over 200 million units worldwide. Recorded during 1996's Ballbreaker Tour, the Madrid show does deliver the epitome of a spectacular rock show. From the wrecking balls that ushers the band onto the stage during Back In Black to guitarist Angus Young's trademark striptease during Boogie Man, it's entertainment at it's best. Critics might have said that AC/DC's three-chord-driven songs are abysmal, but the thousands jumping in unison at the Madrid venue would likely disagree. Angus and brother Malcolm Young might indeed write their songs in a basic fashion, but it's impossible not to immediately smile when the band cues up Highway To Hell, T.N.T., or Thunderstruck. The sound is impeccable this time around, and pretty much all of the classics are covered. We all probably have are favorite AC/DC songs, but there does seem to be a pinnacle reached toward the end of the concert. Let There Be Rock is one of the last songs on the playlist, but this is truly the turning point of the whole show. After Young is driven off in a cart that disappears for a brief moment, he suddenly appears moments later at the other side of the venue on the shoulders of a random security person - all the while, continuously playing his guitar. He is eventually lifted onto a massive pedestal and the excitement is palpable. Around that time (and actually during a few other songs during the concert as well), Young draws the crowd by asking the audience to respond to every lick he plays. From his spasm-like movement on the ground to his devil horn headband, Young knows how to put on a show.
Content — 8
If you already own the original release of No Bull, you might feel the latest Wal-Mart exclusive seems somewhat unnecessary. Besides the fact that it's visually amazing, there are a few new extras. One new feature is the Angus-Cam, which is basically the Angus Young show. It might sound like they strapped a camera onto Angus and let him go wild, but the director basically created a performance showing Angus at various angles during the songs Shoot To Thrill, Hail Caesar, Rock And Roll Ain't Noise Pollution, and You Shook Me All Night Long. There are also a few bonus concert clips taken from the Goteborg, Sweden, and Daytona, Florida, dates on the Ballbreaker tour. The video quality is quite a bit different from the main feature, so don't expect anything HD in this section. They are nice touches, but it would have actually been cool to have either had an interview or behind-the-scenes features as well.
Production Quality — 9
When it comes down to it, No Bull is all about raising the bar in terms of production quality. It is a sleek concert DVD and it's seamlessly edited. The editors do give ample time to Angus Young, but Brian Johnson, Malcolm Young, Cliff Williams, and Phil Rudd are plenty of camera time as well. With the addition of sweeping camera views over the massive audience, it is all pretty awe-inspiring.
Overall Impression — 8
It's watching a DVD like No Bull that you truly realize the profound impact that AC/DC has had on the world. The Madrid crowd oozes enthusiasm, singing along with pretty much every track and that alone draws you into No Bull. All of the big hits are covered, with the big, cannon-filled finale For Those About To Rock (We Salute You) closing the show out. The main issue would be that, given that this is somewhat of a re-release, it would have been nice to have a little more background into the show via band interviews (or even commentary from the director). The concert itself is still highly entertaining, however, and we owe a big thank-you to Mr. Angus Young for putting on one hell of a show.