Back in rock & roll's pre-CD years, the most frequent complaint about bootlegs was that they had inferior sound quality. Another major complaint was the fact that bootleg LPs often had inadequate credits; nothing frustrates a collector more than finding an album that doesn't tell you when or where it was recorded. A double-LP bootleg that surfaced in 1981, Live Wire is a glaring example of deficient credits. The notes tell us that Live Wire was "recorded live in Germany, 1981" and "features Bon Scott," which are two bits of conflicting information because singer Bon Scott had died on February 20, 1980. So here's the deal: the first LP features Brian Johnson on vocals and may very well have been recorded in Germany in 1981, whereas the second LP does feature Scott and was recorded at a 1979 show. Unfortunately, a bootlegger calling itself Calico Productions doesn't bother to tell you where the earlier performances were recorded. The sound quality on the 1981 show with Johnson is better than that on the one from 1979 with Scott, although neither would win over an audiophile. But the performances themselves are inspired, and Calico does deserve some credit for the clever art work on the front cover, which shows nine variations of a drawing of the Frankenstein monster. Live Wire is hardly the best AC/DC bootleg that surfaced in the early 1980s, but despite all its flaws, completists and hardcore collectors have wanted copies.
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