CD Reviews > Def Leppard

Def Leppard - Viva! Hysteria

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Def Leppard has always been at their very best Live – these guys know how to put on one Hell of a show! This electric vibe is captured in all its glory on their recent Viva! Hysteria . Captured live at The Joint in Las Vegas. This 2-CD/1-DVD set runs the gamut of Def Leppard’s career, from awesome hits like “Photograph”, “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, “Animal”, and others to more obscure selections like “Wasted”, which had only appeared on the deluxe bonus edition of the Pyromania cd.

I’m always impressed when a band performs their songs either note-perfect or better in a live setting, and Def Leppard nails this one on the head! This is a rare feat for bands playing live, very few are able to pull that off. Kudos to Def Leppard for that!

One thing that was a little surprising was that in-between songs, frequently in frontman Joe Elliott’s banter, he kept assuring the crowd this was the REAL Def Leppard – as if there were any question about that fact.

The celebratory anthem “Good Morning Freedom” whips the crowd into a frenzy from the get-go, setting the pace for this adrenaline-rich concert. The unbridled passion of “Women” from the “Hysteria” album follows on its heels. One of my personal absolute favorite Def Leppard songs follows – “Rocket” – a tribute to ‘70’s Glam Rock pioneers including the late Marc Bolan! The aforementioned “Wasted” is delightfully decadent.

The gorgeous “Animal” is another of my all-time favorites – I love this song! “Stagefright” is stadium rock at its finest. The power-ballad “Love Bites” is even better than the original, imbued with more of an ethereal quality. “Mirror Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)” is a cold, hard introspective. “Action” is defiant and intense.

The crowd-pleasing “Pour Some Sugar On Me” was excellently done, as was the always fun “Armageddon It”. “Gods Of War” features a guest appearance by guitar impresario Steve Vai! “Undefeated” – which Joe Elliott described as “the song title that sums up this band” – was absolutely triumphant!

There’s an undeniable dangerous edge to “Don’t Shoot Shotgun”. “Promises” lyrically ushers in a morning of regret after an amazing night of lovemaking. “On Through The Night” has a frantic urgency to it. The vocals sound different on the chaotic “Run Riot”. The dreamy “Hysteria” was absolute perfection.

There’s fantastic percussion in the gritty “Slang”, which includes a bit of the Elvis Presley classic “Viva Las Vegas” interjected for good measure. There’s a dramatic intro to the aptly-titled “Exciteable”. Joe Elliott seriously worked the crowd for the foot-stomping, hand-clapping “Let It Go”, the momentum carrying over into “Another Hit & Run”. We catch our breath with the slower-paced albeit flirtatious “Love & Affection”.

The party is back on with “High & Dry (Saturday Night). “Rock of Ages” was very close to the original – including the iconic intro – but it showcased a more polished maturity. “Bringing On The Heartbreak” was never my favorite of Def Leppard’s repertoire (in fact, that’s probably the only Def Leppard song I seriously dislike), but it is one of their classics, and the crowd in attendance seemed pleased with it. By contrast, “Photograph” which followed is one of my absolute favorite Def Leppard songs! I can listen to that one several times a day and never get tired of it! It certainly had my blood pumping overtime. “Switch” was definitely an electric way to wrap things up.

The Viva! Hysteria DVD was recently shown in its entirety on cable/satellite HD channel AXS TV.

Def Leppard’s music has stood the test of time, as current now as when the songs were first recorded. Viva! Hysteria is destined to become a classic – one that should be in every Metal fan’s musical library.

~Athena Schaffer