The band Angus Young called “boring” live

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Angus Young has always put the audience first. When he’s in his element, delivering some pure rock and roll with AC/DC, he’s like a man possessed, giving his all. And it’s impossible not to feel his energy, especially when he’s tearing through iconic tracks like ‘Back in Black’. Making the crowd smile is his top priority. However, Angus Young has been candid about his feelings towards one of the pioneers of progressive rock.

In the early 1970s, when AC/DC burst onto the scene, they embodied the essence of what rock and roll should be. Other artists were striving to become the biggest bands globally through political messages or intricate rock operas. But, the Young brothers had a different approach. They took songs with just a few chords and turned them into the quintessential sound of rock and roll.

At the same time, the progressive rock movement was gaining ground. Bands like Pink Floyd had already gained popularity. Groups like Genesis and King Crimson were emerging with songs featuring lengthy, intricate chord progressions. This didn’t sit well with the more impatient rock crowd.

Angus Young had a particular aversion to most progressive music, but he reserved special ire for the band Yes. Yes was one of the most ambitious progressive bands of their time, pushing the boundaries of what progressive music could be, creating mini-epics like ‘Roundabout’ that would influence future prog acts like Rush.

When Young talked about Yes’s performances, he didn’t find them impressive. He once said, “If I went to see somebody that was ‘musical,’ I’d yawn my head off. I’d end up walking out to the bar. Bands like Yes would be a bore to see unless they had some Sheila strippin’ off.”

While Yes invested heavily in creating a sci-fi-like experience during their live shows, Young believed that the power should come from the performance itself, not from elaborate light shows. He mentioned, “Yes would probably come on with a fantastic light show. I’ve never seen them, but they probably use a light show to cover up that they’re bored and their music is boring. And they’re not making people jump.”

Unlike Yes’s stadium-filling shows with dazzling lights, Angus Young relied on the sheer force of his performance. He may have initially adopted the schoolboy uniform as a joke, but he made his body do the talking. His stage presence was electrifying, making it impossible to look away.

That said, AC/DC did eventually incorporate some visual spectacles into their live shows, such as the massive bell for ‘Hells Bells’ and the cannons for ‘For Those About to Rock’. While AC/DC now includes visual elements in their performances, Angus Young’s boundless energy on stage remains more than enough to captivate any audience.

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