What does it sound like?:
This package is a 4CD / 2DVD Box Set and a 40 page hardback book in one box.
The Lepps have 40+ years of recording under the belts, and have been regular visitors to stadiums and enormodomes since 1987s Hysteria sold several million copies worldwide. But they’d never played a UK gig as big as the O2. Until December 2018, when after discussions about a Las Vegas residency, the idea to stage a show on the back of Hysteria’s 30th Anniversary became real.
The first DVD (and double CD) is a recording of one of the biggest UK shows they’d ever done. of one of those nights.
The Hysteria album is played in full – track by track – and then followed (in a not entirely unexpected encore) by 6 more tracks from times pre and post Hysteria.
The playing is spot on – to my ears sometimes too spot on – and the performance totally comfortable from a band who’ve been giving shows like this for 30 years. My only criticism here is that I just wish they’d go off script and do a bit of shredding, noodling, extended coda stuff – it all came across as a bit clinical.
A nice touch in this show is that Steve Clarke is honoured as “the man who’s missing” and joins the band via the video screen for one track
The DVD Bonus is billed as Hysteria: Then And Now. Whilst there is some discussion about the (drawn out) recording and initial release, the main focus is the journey of the band from then to playing it in full at a massive UK Arena (Rick Savage notes that he didn’t realise how big the O2 actually was).
The second set is culled from 2 performances of their 12 Night residency in Las Vegas. Titled “Hits Vegas”, this 2 and a half hour set gives 28 tracks, from the big hits (Animal. Pour Some Sugar On Me, Bringing On The Heartbreak, Photograph, Rock Of Ages) to the rarely performed (Billy’s Got A Gun, Too Late For Love, Slang).
As expected for a Las Vegas show, it is very well organised, very well presented, and very well performed.
The DVD Bonus on this one shows the effort put in getting everything just right – including camera angles, where each member stands on stage, entry and exit routes to raised stages and catwalks, and the correct height of the chairs used for their 4 song acoustic interlude.
This set covers their career and virtually equal billing is given to the NWOBHM-esque rockers, ballads, and the FM Radio friendly melodic rock.
Like the Hysteria show it is masterfully performed with barely a note or a beat out of place.
The show finishes with Joe Elliott’s promise: “we will be back”, and I’m sure they will, And you know what, I think they deserve the chance to go back and do it again.
What does it all *mean*?
Despite all their rock god mannerisms, they remain humbled and appreciative of their audience. It comes across in the Bonus of both DVDs that they want to give the best show they possibly can.
Although the audience sound remains somewhat muted, shots of the crowd show a definite appreciation.
In truth, both these sets are a great dollop of nostalgia for the Leppard fan.
My own personal relationship with Def Leppard waned a bit after Hysteria, but re-watching them on stage I came away thinking “Yup, you deserve this”
Goes well with…
Wondering how a band from Sheffield have gone from the pages of Kerrang to Las Vegas, and then thinking about other bands that would/could make this journey (Venom? Probably not …)
Might suit people who like…
Big Hair and the softer side of Heavy Rock