Eagle Rock [Release date 29.05.20]
The geewhizz numbers are overwhelming…twenty billion albums sold. Ok, an exaggeration, but the Def Leppard stats come at you so fast and ferocious that it’s genuinely impossible to absorb the enormity of what this UK band has done, in terms of sales and online streams.
The imminent “Hits Vegas” release is the latest instalment in the band’s Pension Plan… oops sorry, it was recorded on the second leg of their world straddling touring plan.
This recording of the 2 and a ½ hour gig is only one of a suite of forthcoming Multimedia Def Leppard releases from Eagle Rock, involving DVD, CD, Vinyl and Blu-Ray versions of this and other landmark gigs. They comprise the band’s legacy album “Hysteria” recorded live in its entirety at the O2 Arena in 2018, plus a mini documentary, “Hysteria – Then And Now”. The “Hits Vegas” is matched with a “Behind The Scenes” bonus featurette.
We’ve focused on the “Hits Vegas” because… well, because we want to. Maybe because it’s the more exotic of the offerings…
In 2019, the band took up a short term residency at the Vegas venue of Planet Hollywood, you know… the Schwarzenegger, Willis and Stallone venture, and it’s all showbiz, an event rather than a gig. Though, that said, Def Leppard’s stadium sized songs fit perfectly in this 4,500 capacity ‘Zappos Theater’ arena. The stage is breathtakingly huge, like they designed it with Social Distancing in mind. Britney Spears did a 3 year residency there, 5 nights a week at $250 a ticket. Think on that one.
The venue’s sprawling length and high ceiling make it near impossible to create an atmosphere for anyone other than those closest to the stage. But for us, the viewers, producer/director, Jim Yikuch keeps the video moving, using close ups and long shots, with rapidfire, neon lit lasers playing across two huge video walls in a continuous display of colour all throught the set. In high luxury venues like this one, even the lighters wave themselves.
It truly is a value for money performance, with the band delivering a 28 song “deep dive” into their densely packed back catalogue. It’s neat that they follow opener ‘Die Hard The Hunter’ with ‘Animal’, it somehow seems appropriate.
The sound of the crowd initially seems detached from the music being played onstage. But it’s just a matter of tuning in, as moments later a mexican wave of noise rolls through the arena in a delayed action frenzy of enthusiasm..
By third track, ‘Exciteable’, the mix is good, the rhythm section has been brought up and is chiming sweetly and loudly with Collen’s and Campbell’s wall of guitar sound. Elliott has found his voice, we’re loving the gig and looking forward to a two and a half hour immersive experience. Which is exactly what we get. They didn’t pick this gig as their multimedia offering by chance.
Apart from the obvious, one real highlight is worth special mention.. and that’s the band’s five man acoustical jam … achieving any form of genuine intimacy is difficult in any high energy gig, but the band’s acoustic versions of ‘Let Me Be The One’ and ‘Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad’ are absolute standouts and clearly connect with a sizeable core audience fanbase. It suggests a full length album of such treatments should be next on Def Leppard’s agenda. *****
Review by Brian McGowan
In his show broadcast on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio on 10 May David Randall played a further selection of artists and albums included in the new Features series, “2020 Vision”.
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Featured Albums w/c 25 May (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 FM Synchronized (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 THE ROCKET DOLLS The Art Of Disconnect (indie)
14:00-16:00 BEN KUNDER Searching For The Stranger (indie)
Power Plays w/c 11 May (Mon-Fri)
THE MERCY KILLS Alone (Golden Robot Records)
DEAD REYNOLDS By Your Side (indie)
THE JAILBIRDS Watery Grave (Golden Robot Records)
ALI MASS & MICKY MOODY These Times (Last Man Music)
MASSIVE WAGONS Bangin In Your Stereo (Earache)
UDO We Are One (AFM Records)
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