When unknown outfit AC/DC launched on stage at the Corrimal Community Centre back in 1974, concert organiser Rob McKie almost choked on his soft drink."I was petrified. I was 22 and very sceptical about trying new groups," he said."Then this guitarist (Angus Young) jumps on stage with a little bag on his back and I thought, what the hell's he doing?"By the end of the night, AC/DC - who formed just six months earlier - had "blown the place apart", resulting in them being booked for another 10 gigs.The band has since gone on to become one of the most famous rock outfits in the world, but plenty of Illawarra rockers can claim those early concerts as part of their formative years.With the passage of time, a bit of myth has become legend. London's BBC website credits the Corrimal hall as being the venue for the band's first gig.This honour in fact goes to Sydney's Chequers Club, where the band played on New Year's Eve 1973.Mr McKie said the Corrimal gig, the seventh as part of AC/DC's first Australian tour, followed on Sunday, July 7, with the band playing as a support act for an entry fee of just $1."The promoter approached me asking if I wanted to bring down the Stevie Wright Band and, as part of that act, a young band called AC/DC," Mr McKie recalled."My first response was, 'How much?' I paid $250 for Stevie Wright and $50 for AC/DC and I thought I got robbed at the time.Mr McKie said the band was so popular the crowd begged for more."They were a huge hit. Back in those days, that's what everyone wanted. Plus there was nothing else to do in the north."Woonona's Tim Jackson attended one of the later concerts as a 15-year-old Bulli High School student. The band also played at Bulli and Woonona high schools in late 1974."What set us all off was the satchel on Angus' back. Plus it was really loud," he said. "They were palming their music off as heavy metal but it was just 12-bar blues. "The place was chockers; Angus played off stage and in the crowd, doing that dead fly thing that he does."In those days he didn't have the fancy school uniform, it was the bare essentials - no clothes, just a pair of shorts and a satchel."Mr McKie, today a manager with Infocus Money Management Wollongong, said the initial concerts featured lead vocalist Dave Evans, before the late Bon Scott took over."Angus came over to us at the end of one night and told us how Bon drank a couple of bottles of bourbon before he started to make his voice raspy and I went, 'Oh my God, I hope that's not going on here, it's a family venue'."Mr McKie and Mr Jackson will be among the crowd when the band opens the Sydney leg of their Black Ice World Tour on February 18."I wouldn't miss it," Mr Jackson said. "But I still prefer the old stuff, when Bon was alive."
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