I’ve been very fortunate to see Def Leppard several times over the years since their monumentally explosive Hysteria album took the world by storm in the late ‘80s. And while I have one or two bands that I like slightly better than them, they have always been the most consistent in regards to their live performances. The music is flawless, the vocals pristine, and they play the songs the way we know them. They don’t try the gimmicky tricks by trying to flip one of their best songs and give it a reggae feel, doing it acoustically, or making up new words. Those are all things I hate to hear when going to a concert. I want to hear them as close to the way they were recorded on the album as possible, and that’s exactly what they give you. Singer Joe Elliott even does all the vocal runs that you’re used to hearing.
In this DVD presentation, the band sounds just as good as they always have. It’s difficult to find any flaws in the music, but there are some small issues worth noting that stuck out to me as a viewer. And those issues are in the editing of the concert footage and the overall stage presence.
In regards to the editing, there are two main focuses that needed correcting. The first is that there are a number of video screens behind the band that are a huge visual aspect of the total concert performance but the cameras don’t spend enough time utilizing this asset. They neglect this aspect so much that you forget there’s anything even behind them. Secondly, there aren’t enough quick cuts. This is a rock band performing fast, power-driven music and the camera angles and movement don’t reflect the intensity the songs deserve.
But you can’t blame the editing for all of it. Part of the blame goes to the band itself. Having watched the music videos that are included in this package it became very apparent that the band wasn’t doing a lot of moving around so while watching the concert, I was very hyper aware of what they were or were not doing. The band does a lot of backup vocals and spent a lot of time standing in one spot singing into their microphones that were mounted on stands. They really need to move to wearing wireless headsets so they can at least walk around. As for Elliott, he needs to dump the microphone stand all together. When he has the stand, he roots himself into one spot, grabs it with both hands, and has little to no movement. Being that he’s the singer and isn’t playing any instruments, he really needs to be a lot more mobile.
The DVD includes five new music videos: “Let’s Go (Lyric Video)”, “Let’s Go”, “Dangerous”, “Man Enough”, and “We Belong”.
All of the songs are from their latest self-titled album, which is one of the best Def Leppard albums in a long time, all sounding like they were recorded earlier in their career. Unfortunately, the videos don’t do the songs justice. They are filled with a lot of digital animation, but the interspersed clips of the band throughout are of the band members just standing around. They aren’t moving to the music or adding any energy to the performance. Instead, the clips seem to slow the songs down and are counterintuitive to what they should be expressing. While the first four videos are nearly identical in look and feel, the final video, “We Belong”, is the worst of the bunch as it’s a static picture of an abandoned warehouse with a tattered tapestry fluttering in the breeze as faded images of the band members singing flicker across. It’s a ballad dragged out to a snail’s pace when viewing the monotonous images.
The audio tracks are presented in DTS Digital Surround Sound Dolby Digital 5.1. The sound quality is very good. You can hear the different instruments and screaming fans coming from all sides. The tone is solid and you can hear all the individual notes from the guitars and there is no breaking at the higher ends of the register even when turned up to max volume.
Even with some of the issues that I’ve described, this is certainly a set worth having. There are few bands that have sounded this good for as long as they have and there isn’t a lot of other concert footage out there that’s been shot over the last 25 years.
The two audio CDs are the exact same as the concert performance.
Let It Go
Bringin’ On The Heartbreak
Let’s Get Rocked
Pour Some Sugar On Me
Rock Of Ages