22 October 2013
This is the first time Def Leppard have played Hysteria in its entirety. Yes, they did it eleven times at The Joint in the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel, but it’s one of the greatest rock albums of all time and so it’s absolutely necessary for it to be documented like this. Just like this.
All the bells and whistles of the sound and video production aren’t necessary to make this album look and sound great almost 30 years later, but the quality is just superb. The band is on point throughout, the visuals are excellent, the sense of intimacy in the 4,000 capacity venue translates and you might even be able to spot me in the crowd a couple of times. The bonus material is strong. There’s a whole Ded Flatbird set of the band playing non-Hysteria songs as their spoof alter egos, and there are some acoustic songs from a “fans only” set (wasn’t invited) that definitely had ‘Two Steps Behind’ in, which is always a boon.
Obviously, the majority of the non-musical focus is on Rick Allen and the gone, but absolutely not forgotten, Steve Clark via some vintage clips. These clips were shown during the actual show so if there are any broadsheet journalists who are under the impression this is anything but a live DVD of one of the greatest rock albums of all time (yes, I’ll hammer that point home), they’re idiots. Anyway, there are some truly poignant moments as you’re allowed to think about how remarkable it is that Def Leppard sold 20 million copies of this album so soon after their drummer lost his arm.
As an aside, there is something truly mesmerising about Phil Collen’s style. He spends the whole set – the whole set – with his shirt off but it’s unclear whether it’s his rippling, oiled-up torso or his incredible, chunky silver jewellery that catches the eye most. Elizabeth Duke, it is certainly not. Also, does he have someone to spray an oily mist at him and how does he keep his fretboard oil-free? So many questions, Phil.
On the subject of oiled-up flesh… the sheer number of Stripper Songs on Hysteria is incredible. Beyond the obvious choice of ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’, there are songs like ‘Armageddon It’ and the title track that are just great for swinging yourself around a pole. This, of course, means that it’s the perfect Christmas present for all of your family.
Ultimately, you will be singing along to and clapping in time with every single song and you will feel no shame. I personally find Hysteria to be the ultimate empowering heavy metal album of all time in that respect and they’ve captured the ridiculous, raucous essence of the music as well as the bittersweet sentiment from behind the scenes and that, for me, is everything I want from a live DVD.
Sounds like: it should come with an accompanying pole for mum and sis
Top tracks: come on now…