Def Leppard – ‘Live at the Top’ (Bootleg) – Album Review

I have been looking for Def Leppard bootlegs since I got back in to collecting. I have found Kiss, Whitesnake, GNR, but hadn’t found a Leppard one until now.  The first thing that caught my attention was that cover.  Love it.  So bright, so detailed, just beautiful.  A lot of work went into that cover and I find that odd for a bootleg since most I find just slap a picture of the band on the cover that isn’t even from that era of the recording.

Well, they did that hear as well as the back cover is a picture of Joe Elliott from around 1987…which is when this was released.  The problem is that the recordings are not from that year.

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When was it recorded?  I am so glad you asked.

A1 to B1 recorded at the BBC’s Paris Theatre, London, England, 22nd August 1979.
B2 to B6 recorded at the Reading Festival, Reading, England, 24th August 1980.

“On Through the Night’ came out in March 1980, so the first side of this was recorded prior to that album coming out which all these songs are on.  Their first EP had come out in January 1979 which “Overture” and “Rocks Off” were from that one only at the time as they would be released on the debut as well.

This release was intended for Licensed Broadcast Use Only. Promotional Copy. Not For Sale. Yeah…like I believe that.

The music on this release is raw, untouched and simply sensational. Sound quality is really outstanding for a bootleg.  These were some great tapes they got this from.  Joe Elliott sounds really great and so young.  The band is rough around the edges, but you can feel the talent oozing out.

The guitar work by Steve Clark and Pete Willis is on par with how these songs would later be recorded. Some great riffs, great solos, they really tear it down on stage.  The one song that stands out the most is the guitar work on “Wasted”…it might even sound better than the actual recording.

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The track listing on the back cover has a number of errors with spelling, song order and the actual correct names of the songs themselves…

  •  “Alive” is actually called “Glad I’m Alive” and I don’t think it has ever been officially released (correct me if I’m wrong)
  • “The Ouverture” is misspelled and is really “The Overture” on the E.P. and simply “Overture” on ‘On Through the Night’
  • “Get Your Rocks Off” is actually “Getcha Rocks Off” on the E.P. and “Rocks Off” on ‘On Through the Night’
  • “Sattelite” is obviously misspelled and should be “Satellite”…one T and 2 LL’s.
  • On Side B,  the songs “Satellite” and “When the Walls Came Tumbling Down” are flipped on the actual vinyl

There are also two very special treats on Side B.

The first is the song “Medicine Man”.  Listen closely and you can tell this song is the very early version of ‘Pyromania’ song “Rock! Rock! (Til You Drop)”.  It is all there, the only thing different are the lyrics (okay, there is a lot different, but it is obvious what it would become).

The second is the song “Lady Strange” which at the time of this recording was a new song and showed up on their next album “High & Dry”.   It sounds like the record and is still one of my favorite songs off that album so I am thrilled to have a live version prior to the album release.

This is an absolutely brilliant release and I couldn’t be happier to have it in the collection.  The sound was way better than I expected and to get those little gems in the release makes it that much better.  If you find this out there, you need to grab it as you will not be disappointed.  I will give it a 4.5 out of 5.0 stars because of the sound quality, the songs and the overall energy on the album.  The band sounds fresh, eager and ready to take over the world.  It doesn’t get a 5 because of all the little errors in the track listing…I know I am being petty.

21 thoughts on “Def Leppard – ‘Live at the Top’ (Bootleg) – Album Review

        1. Getting sound to play through the computer so I can make sure it is recording. I have the USB plugged and in and I can the monitor move when I start the record, but nothing comes out of the speaker and nothing is jumping in Audacity to tell me it is recording. Lots of issues.

          Liked by 1 person

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