AC/DC play Tushino Moscow : 20 years ago today
Saturday, September 28 1991
ON THIS DAY - Twenty years ago, an estimated 600,000 people gathered at Tushino Airfield on the north-western outskirts of Moscow to watch performances by AC/DC, Metallica, The Black Crowes, E.S.T. and Pantera.
This was the largest crowd ever at a Monsters of Rock Festival and is still considered one of the most attended rock concerts in history. The estimates vary greatly because the event was free and no tickets were issued. Some estimates put final attendance in the region of 1.6m/2m.
THREE DAYS NOTICE
The band were only given three days notice that they were to appear at the event and were invited by the Russian government who promoted the event as a 'thank you' from then Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev along with Russian President Boris Yeltsin to the young people of Moscow who were instrumental in averting a Communist military coup between August 19 and 21 that year.
The band had just finished the final gig on the Monsters Of Rock circuit at Barcelona’s Estadio Olimpico on September 24 and were in their dressing room after their performance when the call came in from Russia.
- Us: 'Who the hell do we know in Russia?'
- The manager: 'No, from Russia itself.'
- Us: 'You mean the country?'
- The manager: 'Yeah, the country.'
- Us: 'Piss off.'
The next day, three massive Antonov military transport airplanes arrived to ensure that the band made it to the event, hauling 250 roadies, the band and masses of gear. Of the flight, Brian Johnson joked “outside toilets, hammer-throwing stewardesses” in his recent memoir ‘Rockers and Rollers’. “We made ourselves comfortable in our bolted-in deck chairs, and off we went”.
AC/DC as headliners were last up on stage to perform at the gig. The crowds were swelling, still jubilant following the previous month’s successful bid at thwarting the Communist coup, the Russians were ready to rock. However, 20,000 - 50,000 police and soldiers were drafted in, some of whom were quick on the draw when it came to metering out beatings to festival-goers with their truncheons.
- Shoot to Thrill
- Back in Black
- Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be
- Fire Your Guns
- The Jack
- Hells Bells
- High Voltage
- Let There Be Rock
- Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
- Highway to Hell
- Whole Lotta Rosie
- For Those About to Rock
Videos from Monsters of Rock, Tushino, Moscow - September 28 1991
A new stadium, future home of FC Spartak Moscow, is currently being built on the site of Tushino airfield. If built to schedule, the stadium will be completed and ready for the first match in February 2014. Russia won its bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the stadium will be one of the World Cup venues.