Brian Johnson Statue - Atlas Obscura

Brian Johnson Statue

Namur, Belgium

Forget the hearse ‘cause he’s forever immortalized in a Belgian city where AC/DC performed a secret gig that pushed them forward. 


AC/DC is a rock legend, to put it simply. Formed in Sydney in 1973 by the guitarist Malcolm Young and led by his brother Angus Young (iconic in his schoolboy uniform), they remain one of the most popular bands of all time.

Following the accidental death of the band’s lead singer Bon Scott in February 1980, the remaining members recruited Brian Johnson from Newcastle-upon-Tyne and strived to overcome the tragedy, working on a new record that would be one of the best-selling albums in history: Back in Black.

Now set to go on a grand world tour, the band decided to hold secret gigs in select European cities. The first gig of this non-promoted mini-tour was held at the Palais des Expositions (now known as Namur Expo) in the Belgian city of Namur, in front of a small audience of 1,000. It turned out to be a great success, despite the logistical issue that prevented the group from performing for the first two-and-a-half hours. AC/DC was good to go, ready for its relaunch—and the rest is history.

In 2023, the city of Namur paid homage to the legend by erecting a statue of Johnson shouting his soul out into the mic facing the Expo building, renaming the square as L’Esplanade AC/DC, and installing chairs with the names of its members engraved on them. Shortly after the inauguration, Johnson made a surprise visit to Namur and gave it his blessing. He’s back in Namur, not quite in black but in Belgian blue limestone.

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February 5, 2024

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