Ronald Belford "Bon" Scott died 31 years ago, February 19 1980 aged 33. It seems impossible to believe this much-loved icon has been gone for more than three decades when his legacy, his influence on rock and his presence remains so strong.
You never need an excuse to celebrate the incredible music of the Bon Scott-era AC/DC, so in the spirit of all those "Dirty Deeds" along the "Highway To Hell", we say "Let There Be Rock"!
Empire Touring will stage a very special tribute concert to the mighty Bon Scott featuring an all-star cast of rock vocalists Angry Anderson (ROSE TATTOO), Dave Gleeson (SCREAMING JETS), John Swan (SWANEE) and Mark Gable (THE CHOIRBOYS).
The Long Live Bon band will feature original AC/DC bass player Mark Evans! Mark played bass on four seminal AC/DC albums "TNT", "Dirty Deeds Done Dirty Cheap", "Let There Be Rock" and "Powerage" before departing the band in 1978. Other than the Bon Scott 30th-anniversary concert in Fremantle four years ago, this is the first time Mark has taken part in a tribute to his great mate Bon. Mark will be the musical director of the show, with band members Steve Edmonds and Dai Pritchard (guitars) and Paul DeMarco (drums). The set list features only songs from the Bon Scott-era AC/DC and is an absolute cracker from the ball-tearing classics "High Voltage", "Highway To Hell", "TNT", "Dirty Deeds", "Let There Be Rock" and "Jailbreak" to the very early fan favorites "Can I Sit Next To You Girl?" and "Baby Please Don't Go".
The Long Live Bon concerts came together as a result of a casual conversation between Empire promoter Marc Christowski and Dave Gleeson and Mark Gable, both singers citing Bon as their biggest inspiration. More casual conversations ensued, before the idea was born to put together these tribute shows.
All five vocalists have special memories of Bon:
Angry Anderson: "One of my fondest memories of Bon was when he introduced me to the music of Alex Harvey. He gave me a cassette of Alex's and it was like an epiphany.
"Everyone talks about the clichd stuff of women, drugs and booze with Bon, but he really loved good music. Bon was the rock poet of the era."
Mark Gable: "I never had the honor of meeting Bon, but I did walk the halls and record in the famed Albert Studios in the late '70s, the same studios he recorded in. Stories about Bon were an everyday occurrence in there, so much so that I felt that I knew so much about him.
"There are many things I would like to be one day, and most certainly I would love to be Bon Scott any day."
Dave Gleeson: "Bon Scott first came to my attention when I heard my brother giving Acka Dacka a workout on the tape deck in our bedroom. There was something about the way Bon's vocals tore out of the speakers that really spoke to me, I guess I was about 9 or 10. It wasn't until I got older that I realized the brilliance of Bon's lyrics. The way he was cool without being a wanker, tough without being a big noter, and sexy without looking and acting like a poof. To me, he was a street poet, who used the language of the times to tell stories of his life and delivered it with ball-tearing intensity, and absolute integrity. Yes, indeed, I like Bon a lot."
John Swan: "Bon and I got on smashing, as we are Scots. We did the same things got drunk, fell over and got on with things.
"I got the chance to join FRATERNITY when Bon left to join AC/DC.
"I was at the first gig at Pooraka when he joined or was asked... can't really remember which. He was a gentleman and an iconic Australian rock singer. Not many can emulate the way he spits out phrasing and vocal passages.
"I was in the studio when a lot of the albums were recorded.
"We all used to go back to Margaret's place (Angus and Malcolm's sister) for a big plate of soup, a game of cards and a bevy before sleep. I could write a book about the adventures. Most of all, he was just Bon one of a kind. A real rock, rock singer.
In the July 2004 issue of the acclaimed magazine Classic Rock, Bon Scott was rated as number one in a list of the "100 Greatest Frontmen Of All Time", ahead of Freddie Mercury and Robert Plant.
Long Live Bon concert dates:
May 27 - Melbourne, Australia - Forum Theatre
May 28 - Wollongong, Australia - Waves
Jun. 03 - Penrith, Australia - Penrith Panthers, Evan Theatre
Jun. 04 - Sydney, Australia - Enmore Theatre