There will not be a Def Leppard release that I won’t buy and I won’t review and now Def Leppard have released not one, but TWO Live releases at one time. You can buy them individually and get either the ‘Hysteria at The O2’ album or the ‘Hits Vegas’ Release or you can do as I did and buy the Deluxe set called “London to Vegas” which has them both in 2 CD format for each album and a Blu-Ray Disc for each show (you can also get DVD).
And before we get in to the shows, I have to discuss the packaging so you will get lots of pictures so you can see what you are going to get if you haven’t already bought it. The set comes in a nice thick box that is the size of about a 10″ album. It is really durable and graphics are great. The front is the header image at the top and the back is the picture above. It tells you everything you are going to get and you get a lot.
The set includes a photo book that is a hard cover, solid book filled with fantastic pictures from both the London O2 show and the Vegas Residency show. Here is a sampling of the book…I’m not giving you much as I don’t want to spoil the experience for you so you aren’t even getting the good stuff and there is a lot of it. The book is really all photos and about 40 pages worth of high glossy pictures of the shows and the band members. It is really nice.
The music is carried in a tri-fold binder that holds all 4 CDs and both Blu-Rays in little cutouts. The discs are housed in a cardboard sleeve with the name of the disc and which number. It is a little awkward and it bulks up in the center when it folds up, but it does the trick. The whole packaging is identical to their last release ‘The Early Years’. It kinda looks like this…
And here are the Blu-Ray Discs…
And of course, the CDs…
Alright, enough already, can we get to the music? Yes we can.
‘HYSTERIA AT THE O2’
The first show up is the band’s appearance at London’s O2 Arena back in 2018 where they played the entire ‘Hysteria’ album from beginning to end in order. Yes, they have done this before with the ‘Viva! Hysteria’ release from the Vegas Residency, but they had never done the album in full in their home country before so they wanted to document that show as well.
I watched the Blu-Ray first as I wanted to experience the video of the show and get the full effect and I am glad I did. I do enjoy watching the show more than just listening to it on CD as the CD misses some of the band reactions and doesn’t get the full impact of the show and everything go on around the stage and on the screens. It is a much better listening experience. Honestly, the show is no different than ‘Viva! Hysteria’ as it is the same songs in order. I don’t really need this show and you don’t either unless you are a completist like me and try to get everything.
After the album, there are two songs of the 5 additional songs they play that are worth hearing and they are “Wasted” off ‘On Through the Night’ and “When Love And Hate Collide” off their Greatest Hits album, “The Vault”. Otherwise they are songs they play all the time including “Let’s Get Rocked”, “Rock of Ages” and “Photograph”. Really, there is nothing special here. The Blu-Ray does give you a behind the scenes documentary which is only about 10-15 minutes long, but still nice. I think ‘Viva!’ is way better as it has the Dead Flatbirds opening the show and giving you all those deep cuts. This doesn’t do that.
Now here is the real prize of the set. The Vegas Residency shows. This thing is impressive folks. You get 28 songs and they are full of deep cuts as well as the classics. This show is 2 1/2 hours long…2 1/2 hours…you heard that correctly. Now the actual show was about 4 songs less so you know they added a few songs from other shows to give you most, if not all the songs they played. I watched this show on a Saturday and the O2 show on a Sunday and it was around 4 1/2 hours of shows and documentaries between the two. That is a lot of Lep.
The show was fantastic. Joe as you know is not as spot on with the vocals as when he was younger and that is not a problem as the band does assist heavily with the harmonies and background vocals to help smooth that out. I would say after a couple songs, you don’t even notice and you just enjoy the show. On the CD, the vocals are more noticeable as an issue, but again as you get through it that goes away and everything is right with the world.
Now, I do have one complaint about the stage show and the videos on the screens. They really aren’t that different than what they were using at the O2 show for Hysteria or recent shows. Yeah, they added a few new things, but I think they should’ve done an entirely new design. That was a big miss for me. And those are my only negatives for the show.
As far as the highlights from the show, it is really only the deep cuts. I have seen them a ton of times so it is those songs you don’t get to hear often that seal the deal. Songs like “Paper Sun”, “Billy’s Got a Gun”, “Promises”, “Mirror, Mirror (Look into My Eyes)”, “Let’s Go”, “Now” and “Action”. All fun and fantastic. They even do an acoustic set where they played two songs they have never played live before. They played “Let Me Be the One” from ‘X’ and off their most recent release they played “We Belong” which is extra special as it is the only song that all 5 members sing lead. Totally Awesome!! They also played one song they haven’t played since the ‘Adrenalize’ Tour, “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad” and it was awesome! This stuff is where the diehard fans go nuts and the whole set is worth it for those 10 songs.
The set is really nice, packaging is amazing and you get a lot of bang for the buck. The Videos for me were more enjoyable as there is so much more to take in and it gives you more proof that Phil Collen can’t do a show with a shirt on and that he is greased up from the moment they hit the stage while everyone else is bone dry. You also get the documentaries which I enjoyed though they were brief. The CDs are still a nice to have. The whole set looks great…and yes, I keep the stickers on the plastic.
As far as a rating, I guess I need to hit a few negatives. The Hysteria at the O2 album is not as good as Viva! Hysteria for the lack of variety of songs outside of the main album. The other negative is the lack of diversity in the stage show with the video screens on the Hits Vegas as they were some of the same shots and themes as the O2 show. I can ignore the vocal issue as it didn’t last long and he still sounds great in my book.
Outside of all that, it is still a sweet set. I would give Hysteria at the O2 a 2.5 out of 5.0 Stars, the Hits Vegas show a 4.5 out of 5.0 Stars and the Packaging a 4.5 out of 5.0 due to the bulky tri-fold disc holder. If I average all that together, the overall release gets a 3.8 out of 5.0 Stars. Like I said earlier, if you are a completist, you got to get both. But if you already have Viva Hysteria (and you should), you really only need the Hits Vegas disc. I hope you enjoyed this walk through and I hope this helps in any decision you make. Thanks for hanging around so long.