If you thought AC/DC fans were all bourbon-drinking men with mullets, think again.

When the hard living rockers tour here at the end of the year, much of the crowd is expected to consist of "grandparents and grandsons" - and plenty of women.

"Their appeal is so wide now," says Garry Van Egmond, AC/DC's long-time promoter responsible for bringing the Australian rock veterans to New Zealand for two of the year's biggest stand alone stadium shows in December.

"Last time they were here, 34 per cent of ticket purchases were female. That's unusual (compared) to the male-dominated crowds when they first started," he says.


While exact dates are yet to be confirmed, two AC/DC shows are confirmed for New Zealand in mid-to-late December: one at Western Springs in Auckland, the other at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

The band start a tour of Australian state capitals in Sydney on November 4, winding up in Melbourne on December 6. That means the New Zealand shows are likely to be near the weekend of December 12-13.

That also means AC/DC - now into their 42nd year as a band - are likely to beat attendance figures at this year's other big show, The Eagles, the Los Angeles veterans who attracted 75,000 fans across two nights at Mt Smart Stadium in March.

AC/DC's New Zealand shows will be their fifth appearance here, and will conclude their Rock or Bust world tour, which warms up with two headlining appearances at the Coachella festival starting today, before kicking off officially in Europe on May 5.

Fans should note two major changes in the band's line-up. Yes, gravel-voiced front man Brian Johnson and school-uniform attired guitarist Angus Young will be making the trip, along with long-term British bassist Cliff Williams.

But Stevie Young has replaced his uncle Malcolm Young, the guitarist who left last year over health reasons, rumoured to be dementia.

And drummer Phil Rudd - who was arrested in Tauranga late last year and faces charges of threatening to kill and drug possession - has been replaced by Chris Slade. Slade comes with experience: he replaced Rudd for several years in the early '90s.

Those changes have rocked the band, admits Van Egmond: "It's a family band, they all travel together, I'm sure they were upset," he says.


But the changes won't affect the show, which is again expected to break ticket sales records.

"It will be something spectacular. From the stage drawings it looks incredible," Van Egmond says of the stage set up.

AC/DC don't offer pre-sale tickets to shows, but fans can sign up on a waitlist for more information, including exact show dates, via Ticketek (Wellington) and Ticketmaster (Auckland).

Who: AC/DC
Where: Western Springs in Auckland, Westpac Stadium in Wellington
When: Dates TBC, but said to be mid-to-late December
Tickets: acdctour.nz
Previous Auckland Appearances
February 5, 2010: Western Springs
November 27, 1996: Mt Smart Stadium (then Ericsson Stadium)
November 16, 1991: Mt Smart Stadium
February 25, 1988: Western Springs

Australian tour dates
Sydney: Wednesday November 4, ANZ Stadium Australia
Brisbane: Thursday November 12 at QSAC
Adelaide: Saturday November 21 November at Adelaide Oval
Perth: Friday November 27 at Domain Stadium
Melbourne: Sunday December 6 at Etihad Stadium

- nzherald.co.nz