As a part of his ‘Life on the Road’ series, AC/DC’s iconic frontman Brian Johnson had a conversation with Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, during which they discussed their unforgettable concert in Moscow back in 1991.
During their recent conversation, Johnson and Ulrich remembered the iconic concert that they gave in Moscow in 1991 after Boris Yeltsin, the first President of Russia, invited them to perform for the students as a part of a political settlement between them and the government after the recently concluded coup.
Lars Ulrich remembered looking at the crowd and seeing ‘just soldiers‘ and ‘big old Sikorsky helicopters’ that were flying right over the audience and recalled thinking that this feels very stressful and intense. He went on to add that he felt quite scared that something could happen and it ‘could go off at any moment.’
At this point, Brian Johnson chimed in and said that while he was in the dressing room getting ready he wanted to go to the toilet, but he was getting pushed back by the soldiers who were letting in more people. Then, Johnson decided to pee near a rusty column but two soldiers approached him and were about to shoot him, which reminded Johnson of ‘how cruel and brutal these guys were.’
Here’s what Brian Johnson said:
“Thanks in part to the success of ‘Enter Sandman,’ ‘Black Album’ came into the American charts at No. 1. And as the ‘Monsters of Rock’ tour rolled on, we found ourselves headlining above the band who at the time had the biggest-selling album in America.
One show that stands out main memory more than anything was that time we shared a stage in Moscow – and we were in Barcelona – we got the call from Yeltsin. Well, not him personally, but it said, ‘You must come up to Moscow because the coup is over, and we promised the kids.’ They wanted rock ‘n’ roll.”
Lars Ulrich continued:
“From what I was told, the government negotiated with the students and with the kids that as part of the settlement they were going to get a rock concert. I was told there were half a million people there. There were a lot of people there, I think anybody everybody can agree on that. And the security guys were all Russian military.
So when you look out over the crowd, it was just soldiers and there were these helicopters, these big old Sikorsky helicopters were flying over the punters. Literally, it looked like they could just reach up and touch them. It was scary. Sitting up there going, ‘Holy shit! This is intense. This is really alive, this feels like it could go off at any moment!'”
Brian Johnson commented:
“I remember when I was in our dressing room and I was getting pushed back. ‘I’m sorry, there are more kids coming in, you have to wait.’ And I wanted to take a pee.
And I went out the back, and there was a concrete column with an old rusty ball on, and I remember thinking just, ‘I’ll take a pee here.’ And the two soldiers came up with a rifle, they were gonna shoot me.
And I didn’t realize it was Sputnik, and it was quite a revered thing. But you could see in an instant how cruel and brutal these guys were. And then you went on the stage and saw the joy, these people just went wild, and I know half of them couldn’t really hear.”
Click here for the source and you can watch some clips from that concert below.