AC/DC tribute concert Highway to Hell draws huge crowd to Perth Festival showpiece event
No stop signs or speed limit — nobody was going to slow down Perth as more than 100,000 people turned out to pay tribute to a legendary Australian rock band.
Forty years to the day since Bon Scott’s ashes were laid to rest in Fremantle Cemetery, one of the state’s major highways became a ‘Highway to Hell’ as fans lined the route to hear bands riding on trucks perform cover versions of AC/DC classics.
Canning Highway was closed from Applecross to Fremantle for the event on Sunday, a showpiece of this year’s Perth Festival.
Eight bands turned the highway into a 10-kilometre concert stage, performing non-stop on the trucks and stopping at intervals to play entire songs for larger crowds.
Concert-goers told the ABC they were proud to celebrate the Fremantle rock icon at the one-off event.
Among the crowd was 13-year-old Olivia, who said it was an opportunity to honour the late Scott.
“We just came to be part of the community because AC/DC was a big part of a lot of people’s lives,” she said.
Long-time fan Amanda Cullity said she came to see the bands play one of her favourite songs.
“I got my first stereo when I was 18 from my parents and the first song I played was Thunderstruck,” she said.
‘People will talk about this for years’
“Let there be rock!” proclaimed WA Premier Mark McGowan as he officially opened the event by ringing a ‘hell’s bell’.
Mr McGowan, who was sporting an AC/DC t-shirt, said the final crowd numbers could potentially be in the hundreds of thousands and that the event took him back to his roots.
“I’m from Rockingham, this feels natural,” he said.
“Their songs get in your head, and they go round and round — and they sound good.”
Mr McGowan said it would be an event that “people will talk about for years to come”.
“It will be one of those, very, very unique West Australian events that will go down in history,” he said.
World record broken
Before the bands started playing, organisers kicked off the concert with a world record attempt.
Led by Australian air guitar champion Alex Roberts — aka ‘Jinja Assassin’ — more than 3,500 people pointed their hands to the sky and strummed to a recording of Highway to Hell.
Mr Roberts, who is a high school drama teacher in Ellenbrook, placed second at the Air Guitar World Championships in Finland in 2019.
They were also joined by other air guitar royalty, including Cottesloe local Wes Roe — aka ‘Tommy AirManuel’, a former Australian air guitar champion — and Billy Damage, who is the reigning state air guitar champion.
Their efforts were successful, with the Perth Festival able to set a new mark for the world’s ‘biggest air guitar gathering’.
This content was originally published here.