Def Leppard – “Viva Hysteria”
Written by Alison “MetalBabe” Cohen
(As originally seen in Rock N’ Roll Industries Magazine)
Def Leppard established a residency at The Joint in Las Vegas from March 22nd to April 13th. After hearing about the first couple shows and seeing the set lists, I decided to head to Vegas and check it out for myself!
I hit the road on Saturday, March 30th, and excitement grew as I drove closer and closer to Vegas and saw billboard after billboard advertising the show. During their residency, called “Viva Hysteria.” Def Leppard plays two sets a night. The first set is a surprise, and it changes every night. However, during the second set, they are playing their fourth studio album, “Hysteria,” in its entirety! The CD is the bands best selling CD to date, with over 20 million in sales, and seven hit singles.
Def Leppard is definitely a band that has bridged the generational gap. While waiting for them to take the stage, I looked around at the crowd and noticed that ages varied from at least seven to 70! The floor was packed, and both balconies were full with fans waiting with anticipation. The Joint holds 4000 people, and it looked like it was pretty much at capacity.
Seated, I listened to several rock songs play over the P.A. I have been to hundreds of concerts, and have never seen a band enter the stage the way Def Leppard did that night. As The Who’s song ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ was playing, the curtains opened, the song stopped, and Def Leppard picked up right where the song had left off! This was a very cool surprise.
The first Def Leppard song of the night was ‘On Through the Night,’ which actually is from the ‘High and Dry’ CD, not the CD of the same name. They threw out newer song ‘Slang’ next, which was fun, and Joe Elliot even added a ‘Viva Las Vegas’ line into the song just for us. At that point Joe Elliot announced that they would be playing the first side of ‘High and Dry’ and started with ‘Let It Go.’
The band had an ongoing theme throughout the night… That they weren’t really ‘Def Leppard.’ Instead, they were the best Def Leppard tribute band in Vegas called Ded Flat Bird! Even Rick Allen’s bass drum head Ded Flat Bird on it!
My favorite song from this set was ‘Bringing On the Heartbreak,’ which is always so powerful to see performed live. They closed out the set with the ‘Switch 265’ instrumental. Phil Collin and Vivian Campell wowed us on guitar from the middle of the ramp, and Rick Allen closed it out with an extended monster fill on the drums.
The curtains closed and the countdown for ‘Hysteria’ began. (Literally, they had a timer on the screen that started at just over 13 minutes.) When the timer got to zero, several minutes of video footage played on the screens. They showed interview footage from all over the world, band photos, pictures of old flyers, and a clip of when Vivian Campbell was first introduced to the world as Def Leppard’s new guitarist.
When ‘Ded Flat Bird’ came back to the stage, the setup had transformed by 360 degrees. The stage was now ‘bare bones’ with just a wall of amps, catwalk, video wall, and Rick Allen’s drum set was right in the middle. They showed Steve Clark’s intro from the ‘In the Round’ video for the beginning of ‘Gods of War’ on the screen, and it seemed like Steve Clark really was there with us as part of the show. He was also remembered and paid tribute to throughout the night in the photos and videos.
Def Leppard took a brief encore after ‘Love and Affection,’ the last song of the ‘Hysteria’ CD. When the band came back out, Joe Elliot asked what we all thought of the opening band, ‘Ded Flat Bird,’ and that he heard the singer was a real asshole. We laughed,as they kicked it into full gear with my favorite Def Leppard song of all time: ‘ROCK OF AGES!’ They closed out the night with ‘Photograph’ before coming to the front of the catwalk, including Rick Allen, to thank us for being there. I am really glad I got to make history with Def Leppard, see one of their residency shows, and am able to share it with all of you.
On Through the Night
Let It Go
Hit ‘N’ Run
High ‘N’ Dry
Bringing on the Heartbreak
Set 2 (Hysteria):
Pour Some Sugar on Me
Gods of War
Don’t Shoot Shotgun
Love & Affection
Rock of Ages