It can be very easy to dismiss Def Leppard 2013 as some kind of has-beens or irrelevant fossils on today's musical landscape with 'Viva Hysteria!' being a blatant further milking of their back catalogue's biggest cash cow.
But let us start with the undeniable facts. 'Hysteria' was, and some 26 years after it's release remains, a GREAT record. 20 million copies, seven singles, 15 month world tour etc etc... I know sales don't necessarily equate to quality but it totally deserves it's place in rock history for not only the number it shifted but also because it stands as a vindication of the band's determination and vision to actually get the record made. Anybody not familiar with the troubled history of the album would do well to have a Google (or ask your Dad).
Having seen the band live on a few occasions in venues large and small and knowing how great they can be I was really looking forward to what the PR blurb says would be "an all-out, no-holds-barred covert extravaganza".
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We get a brief history of Leppard, 'Hysteria' front to back bookended with 'Rock Of Ages' and 'Photograph' and an in-store acoustic medley to send us home humming. But is it any good?
Frustratingly while the band look great, and sound great it's all just a little toothless. Slickly directed by Madonna and Rihanna collaborator Christian Lamb (which may go some way to explaining the cameras lasciviously lingering on Phil Collen's glistening pecs) everything seems bright and sparkly but without a whole lot of soul.
Confined in the relatively small Hard Rock Hotel's venue, The Joint in Las Vegas, the Lepps should have been snarling and hungry animals in front of a rabid crowd but for whatever reason nothing seems to ignite. Perhaps it was the Vegas setting that makes this all a bit cabaret and I can't help but wonder what the result might have been had it been the Sheffield City Hall in front of some diehard rockers rather than the bold and the beautiful on show here.
'Pour Some Sugar On Me' does it's best to get things going but there's no danger on the fourth wall being demolished. Where is the demolition woman with a wrecking ball when you need her?
'Viva Hysteria!' certainly won't revolutionise the performance film or enhance the 'Hysteria' legacy but it will still be a fun night out at the pictures in the company of like-minded individuals, and cheaper than a gig ticket.
You can check out which cinemas Viva! Hysteria will be shown globally by clicking here.
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