Brian Johnson Kept Busy While Away From AC/DC

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Brian Johnson, Robert Plant and Paul Rodgers together onstage in Oxford England on May 14, 2017 (via Rodgers’ Facebook)

With the Sept. 30, 2020, confirmation of the long-running rumor that Brian Johnson would be returning as AC/DC’s lead vocalist, classic rock fans may recall that the singer had kept busy on stage since he departed the band in 2016.

At the time, the vocalist issued a statement that said he hoped to be able to resume his performance career eventually. “My entire focus is to continue medical treatment to improve my hearing,” he said. “I am hoping that in time my hearing will improve and allow me to return to live concert performances. While the outcome is uncertain, my attitude is optimistic.”

A year later, Johnson started popping up as a surprise guest at fellow classic rockers’ concerts. A quick recap…

At a Paul Rodgers concert on May 14, 2017, the audience of just 1800 at Oxford, England’s New Theatre got more than they bargained for when Johnson and fellow legend Robert Plant joined Rodgers for the encore and performed the Barrett Strong classic rock hit “Money (That’s What I Want).”

Watch the trio trade lead vocals on “Money (That’s What I Want).” Our Classic Video

Four months later, Johnson joined the British band Muse at the Reading Festival in England on August 27. And what did Johnson sing? AC/DC’s classic “Back in Black,” of course.

“Thank you so much. Thank you, boys,” Johnson said at the end of the song, giving Muse frontman Matt Bellamy a hug.

That he was able to make these appearances so soon surprised even Johnson. “I was really moved and amazed to be able to hear music again like I haven’t heard for several years now,” he said, crediting in-ear hearing technology for the improvement in his hearing.

Fast forward to March 4, 2018, at Fleetwood’s on Front Street in Maui, Hawaii.

While the audience was dining on parmesan crusted snapper and spicy lilikoi margeritas, Mick Fleetwood was leading his side band in a performance. In between songs, the host brought his friend on stage.

“It’s a big honor for me to be on stage with Mr. Fleetwood,” said Johnson, before he complimented the group’s female singer. “You’ve got some lungs on you, lass!”

Watch Johnson join Fleetwood to sing “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66”

Fans are looking forward to hearing and seeing much more of Johnson now that he’s rejoined AC/DC for their Power Up album.

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