Johnson’s first performance with AC/DC was in Belgium on June 29, 1980, just six months after Bon Scott played his last show with the band in the UK in January.
“The first thing I did, we did two songs, ‘Bad Boy Boogie’ and the other one,” Johnson said in an interview. “I sang the same lyrics to both songs. I was so nervous, I sang the first song and then I sang the second one with the same words. I couldn’t hear anything. I could see the audience going ‘he must be Avant guard. He is singing anything he wants”. I finished it and thought ‘oh God what have I done?’. Malcolm looked at me and went “what the fuck was that?”.
Brian’s concert debut with AC/DC was one month before the ‘Back In Black’ album was released. “It was the first time we sang Back In Black, because all the songs were finished then,” he said. “We finished and there was silence. Half of them hadn’t heard it yet. I thought ‘oh shit they don’t like it’. It was the first night. It was a very traumatic night.”
That first night in Belgium was also the first time ever ‘Hell’s Bells’, ‘What Do You Do For Money Honey’, ‘Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution’, ‘Shoot To Thrill’, ‘Shake A Leg’ and Given The Dog A Bone’ were performed live.
AC/DC did not play ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ at the first Brian show. It debuted live in the Netherlands on July 3, 1980.
Brian Johnson has never performed ‘It’s A Long Way To The Top’. The song was last performed by Bon Scott with AC/DC at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, UK on December 17, 1979. Ironically, to hear ‘It’s A Long Way To The Top’ live at a major concert in Australia these days you have to go to a John Farnham concert.
AC/DC will tour Australia in November.