I got into Def Leppard during the summer of 2019 (for the millionth time I’ve mentioned on this blog). If I had gotten into them by January 2019 at least, I would’ve paid big bucks to see their Vegas Residency at the Zappos Theatre in Planet Hollywood that year. In all honesty, I could’ve bought tickets for their shows in August, but I had school, so my parents said no. So when I found out that the boys were doing a live release for the Vegas shows, I knew I had to get it.
Actually, I knew I had to get it when I watched the trailer and saw King Rick, haha! I could’ve bought just the Vegas show, but I decided to get their Hysteria at the O2 (2018) show, as well, because why not? Therefore, I got the London to Vegas box set.
If you’ve read my Ten Things I’m Thankful For, post; you already know that I went through a lot to get that box set. I ordered it around late February to early March, and it was supposed to arrive in April. But due to the pandemic, it got pushed back to late May. That’s not the worse part, though, because I ordered the box set from their store in the UK, my debit card got blocked. I got the block temporarily removed, so I ordered the box set again. But, because the release date got pushed back, the block removal expired, so my order got refunded. I had to get all of that sorted out, and then finally, my box set arrived on June 3, 2020.
I forgot how much I spent, but according to the store website, I think I spent about $65. It’s a pretty good deal because it comes with the Hysteria at the O2 show, the Hits Vegas, Live at Planet Hollywood show, four CDs for the corresponding shows (two CDs for each one), and a picture book. I got the Blu-Ray set because my DVD player has Blu-Ray too. The photos are cool, but it also scares me, knowing that these photos are from two to three years ago. Dang COVID-19!
First things first, the Hits Vegas show broke away from the band’s typical setlist, which I liked. They played stuff they haven’t played in years, such as “Too Late For Love,” “Billy’s Got a Gun,” “Slang,” “Excitable,” and “Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes).” However, the acoustic set was my favorite portion of the show for a few reasons.
One of them being King Rick making a grand entrance. They brought back one of my favorite songs from Adrenalize (1992), which is “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad.” Also, Def Leppard introduced me to “Let Me Be the One,” which is now in my top ten Def Leppard songs list. I mean, the boys sounded great, the harmonies were tight, the screens were beautiful, and I appreciated the different camera angles on Rick Allen during his solo towards the end of “Switch 625.”
Still, they could’ve added more deep cuts into their setlist because most of the songs are pretty well-known. For goodness sake, why no “Answer to the Master,” or “Another Hit and Run,” or “High ‘n’ Dry (Saturday Night)”? Come on; the latter is a perfect song for Vegas. However, I’ll give the boys props for spicing up the setlist a little bit.
I enjoyed Hysteria at the O2 as well, but I can’t help but compare it to their Viva! Hysteria (2013) show because they both had the same concept. Both concerts involved Def Leppard playing the Hysteria (1987) album from start to finish. Though when they did the Viva! Hysteria show, the boys performed as Ded Flatbird for the opening act, and they brought in the big guns!
Everything I complained about for Hits Vegas, Ded Flatbird did everything I wanted. They played “Rock Brigade,” “Good Morning Freedom,” “Another Hit and Run,” “Stagefright,” “High ‘n’ Dry (Saturday Night),” and “Undefeated,” the latter is a killer later era Def Leppard track. The boys were younger too, and Rick Savage looked hot in that concert, so yeah! Not that he didn’t look hot at the O2 show, but I particularly liked him at the Viva! Hysteria show. Phil Collen did mess up during his “Women” solo, but he brushed past it and played the rest of the show like a boss!
Despite that, the O2 show had memorable moments. Allen winks during “Hysteria,” which I love. The screens are visually stunning, and actually, the screens in “Hysteria” are almost identical to the screens for the Hits Vegas show with slight variations. The screens for “Photograph” have those film vintage photos design, while the screens in Hits Vegas are polaroid pictures. For the encore, the band played “Wasted,” they did some On Through the Night (1980), which was awesome. They also played “Let’s Get Rocked” and “When Love and Hate Collide,” but who hasn’t heard those songs live by this point? Oh, wait, me! Excuse me while I go cry my eyes out!
To sum up both shows, the picture quality was fantastic as expected for Blu-Ray discs. The bonus features for the Hysteria at the O2 show weren’t that special; it was just a documentary about doing Hysteria in its entirety for the London fans since they already did it in America. The thing that irritates me the most is that the boys treat Hysteria like it’s the best thing they’ve ever done when I personally like Pyromania and Adrenalize more. The bonus features for the Hits Vegas show, on the other hand, were cool because they showed the boys preparing for the Vegas residency. I saw some of the footage on their YouTube channel, so it’s nice to have a physical copy of stuff like that.
As a whole, the vocals sounded great, as mentioned earlier. Joe Elliott’s voice lost some of that magic, and it sounds worn out. But he can still deliver, just not as well as before. I did enjoy the screens, and they are beautiful to watch, don’t get me wrong. However, they can be a bit distracting, and they can take the spotlight away from the band because they are so grand and colorful, and Steve Clark was featured.
The first time I watched one of their Vegas shows on YouTube, I was in awe by the screens that I wasn’t even paying attention to the guys performing. Even the “Armageddon It” screens were distracting because I was trying to read the words; instead of watching the boys. I wasn’t crazy about the mix, but it was decent. The guitars had a solid clean tone, the backing vocals were spot-on, and the drums sounded great, but unfortunately, the bass was soft. I heard the latter, but that’s because I made an effort to do so. For songs like “Love Bites” and “Switch 625,” the bass came naturally.
The Hits Vegas show is a great concert to have in your Def Leppard collection because they haven’t played some of those songs in years, and the acoustic set was a nice touch! The Hysteria at the O2 show isn’t necessary, though, because Def Leppard already did the same thing in America. Except they played more rarities in Viva! Hysteria, which the O2 show lacks. John from 2loud2oldmusic said it best in his review, “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.” In other words, get the Viva! Hysteria release instead!
I’d give the Hits Vegas show 4 out of 5 stars and the Hysteria at the O2 show 2.5 out of 5 stars. I’d give the packaging overall 4 out of 5 stars because the box is durable and sturdy, but I hate those paper CD holders. They are a pain to take the CD/Blu-Ray disc in and out of the thing, and they don’t provide much protection; in case I drop a disc. Still, it’s Def Leppard, so I’m glad I bought the full box set!
Take care and see ya real soon!