Brian Johnson’s ‘Traumatic’ Show With AC/DC

Firsts can be very stressful for some. Therefore, it is not surprising that many artists struggle with their first gig in front of a vast audience. Fear of forgetting the lyrics, singing out of tune, or making mistakes can add to that anxious mood. Many renowned musicians suffer from stage fright, and even Joe Elliott of Def Leppard forgot the lyrics of three hits during a show.

AC/DC’s Brian Johnson joined the band in 1980 following the death of Bon Scott. When he first joined AC/DC, he became the third lead singer of the band and fell under the responsibility of replacing someone as iconic as Scott. Johnson was a big AC/DC fan, so he happily accepted to become the new vocalist. However, the singer’s first show with AC/DC didn’t go as expected and became a traumatic experience for him.

What Happened At Brian Johnson’s First AC/DC Show?

After Bon Scott’s death on February 19, 1980, AC/DC considered quitting. However, they later decided to continue as Scott would want the same. Brian Johnson got the job among various candidates like Terry Slesser and Noddy Holder and became the band’s new lead singer.

When Brian Johnson joined AC/DC, the band had already started working on their iconic album, ‘Back In Black.’ One month before the album’s release, Johnson made his concert debut with AC/DC in Belgium on June 29, 1980, six months after Scott’s last show with the band.

According to Music News, Brian Johnson was so nervous during that show, and the band played ‘Bad Boy Boogie’ and another song. He then revealed he had sung the first and second songs with the same lyrics. The singer recalled that the audience thought he was an avant-garde musician, and Malcolm Young looked at him in shock.

As Johnson said, that was the first time AC/DC sang songs from ‘Back In Black.’ After they finished, there was an awkward silence, and the audience didn’t react to the new songs. The singer believed the fans didn’t like the new songs or his singing. Considering the nervousness of the first night, Johnson said it was a pretty traumatic experience for him.

As reported by Music News, Brian Johnson said the following about that night:

“We did two songs, ‘Bad Boy Boogie’ and the other. I sang the same lyrics to both songs. I was so nervous that I sang the first song and then the second one with the same words. I couldn’t hear anything. I could see the audience going, ‘He must be avant-garde. 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 f*ck was that?'”

He then continued:

“It was the first time we sang ‘Back In Black‘ because all the songs were finished then. We finished, and there was silence. Half of them hadn’t heard it yet. I thought, ‘Oh, sh*t, they don’t like it.’ It was the first night. It was a very traumatic night.”

So, it seems Brian Johnson had an unfortunate experience with his very first show with AC/DC. Forgetting the lyrics can be a very anxious and embarrassing moment for a musician, so this incident left a scar on Johnson and turned into a traumatic memory.