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On disc: Def Leppard

Songs From The Sparkle Lounge - Claudia Ehrhardt - 7 stars
Mirror Ball Live & More - Umberto Mino - 7 stars
Viva! Hysteria - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars

Viva! Hysteria

Viva! Hysteria
(Frontiers Records - 2013)

It 25 years since Def Leppard presented Hysteria, their most successful album. To celebrate this anniversary they headed to Las Vegas and played 11 shows at The Joint while staying at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The name of the CD / DVD is a reminiscence to Elvis' Viva Las Vegas. And for the first time they played Hysteria in its entirety. The performance was filmed in HD for the DVD, but I only got the audio files, so I can't say anything about the DVD - which will be high quality, no doubt about it.

It's cool to hear the Hysteria album live, coz they stick to the originals without just copying the album tracks. The first disk is offering the Hysteria tracks plus 2 classics, disk two is much more interesting in my opinion, coz it offers tracks they rarely played live as well as some classics. Def Leppard did two different opening sets under the moniker Ded Flatbird and both sets are on disk 2. They used stage names and special clothing to appear as a Def Leppard cover band while the name comes from someone mispronouncing the band name. Songs like Wasted, Rock Brigade, On Through The Night and Mirror Mirror (Look Into My Eyes) sound heavier and less polished compared with Hysteria. Joe Elliott is communicating more with the audience than during the Def Leppard set. It seems that the guys enjoy playing the old tunes and so I hope that they will add some of the old classics to future set lists.

It's definitely worth getting the 2CD/DVD Deluxe Edition, coz you get the whole package. Fans of the Sheffield boys will try to get their hands on it anyway, but I think every hard rock fan who likes Def Leppard will enjoy the shows!

Track listing:

Love Bites
Pour Some Sugar On Me
Armageddon It
Gods Of War
Don't Shoot Shotgun
Run Riot
Love And Affection
Rock Of Ages

Ded Flatbird Set#1:
Good Morning Freedom
Mirror Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)
Rock Brigade
Ded Flatbird Set#2:
On Through The Night
Let It Go
Another Hit And Run
High 'n' Dry (Saturday Night)
Bringin' On The Heartbreak
Switch 625

DVD adds bonus content:
Acoustic Set:
When Love And Hate Collide
Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad
Two Steps Behind You

DVD / Blu Ray menu includes:
- Viva! Hysteria
- Ded Flatbird Night 1
- Ded Flatbird Night 2
- Acoustic Set
- Photo Montage

9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


Mirror Ball Live & More

Mirror Ball Live & More
(Frontiers Records - 2011)

Finally after more 30 years of activity and success, Def Leppard have released their first official live album. In my opinion this isn't the right moment for this kind of release, the right moment was gone at the end of the eighties where Pyromania and Hysteria were at the top worldwide and their name was synonymous of success, but that magic moments are on their video In The Round, In Your Face and in the deluxe edition of Pyromania. Finally we can hear all their greatest songs in a live version plus four new tracks: Bad Actress, Undefeated, Kings Of The World and It's All About Believin', four tracks really nice that show us how DL is inspired by Queen (A Kind Of Magic era), U2 and AC/DC. Personally I can understand and respect this new 'rock' choice of Leppards, but in my head and in my heart I still love five guys from Sheffield (U.K.) that shake the metal kids worldwide with albums like High And Dry, but the time change everyone of us and now we must accept these millionaires and their new sound.

Mirror Ball contains all the greatest songs of these 3 decades like Rock! Rock! 'Til You Drop, Too Late For Love, Women, Hysteria and romantic tunes like Two Steps Behind and the immortal Bringin' On The Heartbreak. Perfect executions and perfect production is the trademark of Def Leppard, so you can appreciate really a live experience in your houses people!!

7 stars

Umberto Mino


Songs From The Sparkle Lounge

Songs From The Sparkle Lounge
(Universal - 2008)

The boys from Sheffield had their high time in the 80's / 90's and sold millions of albums. But their last studio album X was released in 2002 and so their fans were curious to hear Songs From The Sparkle Lounge. But critics were reluctant, coz X musical direction was more pop then rock. Prior to the release of the new album the band announced that they want to get back to their roots...

They open up with Go which is a quite heavy and modern rocker. The guitar work tells immediately that you listen to Def Leppard. Joe Elliott's voice is distorted and due to the effect sounds a bit strange, but it fits to the song. But Nine Lives is totally different... more 70's rock with some boogie in it - and that matches what the band told about this album. They said it should be early 70's AC/DC meeting Led Zepplin's Rock'n'Roll... Nine Lives is a country rock tune which was the first single and co-written by Tim McGraw and is also featured him. And so the single is perfect for American radio. More like old Def Leppard is C'mon C'mon... Reminds me a bit of the early days of them. A catchy tune, but somehow a bit too much pop in this song for my taste.

Very Led Zepplin-ish starts Love! This balladesque tune is written by Rick Savage and partly reduced to guitar and vocals. Great guitar solo! Not a typical Def Leppard tune, but cool. One of my favorites is Cruise Control which combines the trademarks of their sound with a slightly dark undertone and modern guitar sounds. Actually I like the new Def Leppard sound which is a bit rougher then usually, but still with a great production... A bit dirty... Raw... But they have the catchy refrains like on Hallucinate and in the past this would only be over produced and bombastic. With Only The Good Die Young the pop rock is back - and that's my problem. It seems to me that they want to change and stay the same. That they want to do something different and also want to please their fans. A walk on the razor's edge... I like the raw rock sound, but the polished pop rock isn't my cup of tea. I can only recommend to listen to the different facets and make up your mind. For me this is one of the rare albums where I would only buy part of the songs, if I would download from iTunes or others. I would go for the rock track, others would go for the pop rock tunes... And with less then 40 minutes it's also quite short in the age of CDs!

7 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt

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