AC/DC

Bonfire

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Oddly, the legend of Bon Scott never haunted AC/DC. They grieved, certainly, but they were able to move on, releasing Back in Black as a tribute in 1980. The record became their biggest hit and helped them become one of the biggest rock & roll bands in the world. By the late '90s, the group remained popular, and a strange phenomenon had happened -- there were generations of AC/DC fans who came of age after Scott's death, and had only a passing familiarity with the rocker. Perhaps that's one of the reasons why they lovingly assembled the five-disc box set Bonfire in 1997. The set is a tribute to Scott, featuring two live albums -- one from New York in 1978, the other from Paris in 1979, which is essentially the soundtrack to the Let There Be Rock film -- a disc of outtakes, and a remastered version of Back in Black. For hardcore fans, this is something of a dream come true, since the live albums are stronger than any of the group's other live releases, with the possible exception of If You Want Blood You've Got It. The disc of alternate takes, outtakes, and stray live cuts offers no real revelations, but there are enough interesting moments to make it worthwhile. And while any AC/DC fan has Back in Black, it's nice hearing it in this context, because it shows that even if the band could carry on splendidly, they were still missing the insane, wild-man charisma of Bon Scott. Nowhere is that charisma better preserved -- both through music and stories -- than on Bonfire.

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