Vivian Campbell / “I feel I’ve been playing and singing better than ever”
Def Leppard - Hits Vegas. 17 June 2020
With ‘Hits Vegas Live At Planet Hollywood’, Def Leppard win big in Vegas with a thrilling, surprise filled set. And, as far as lockdown releases have gone, Def Leppard sure know how to keep their fans happy.
Words: Kahmel Farahani
Photos: Aggie Anthimidou
Just released as part of their ‘London To Vegas’ DVD set, this concert film showcases one of the bands gigs from their Las Vegas residency in 2019. This set will be a special treat for die hard Def Leppard fans in particular, as the smaller setting sees the band dusting off deep cuts and rarely played gems, instead of the standard greatest hits set.
‘Hits Vegas’ sees Def Leppard playing a truly fabulous, marathon 28 song set with more than a few surprises.
Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell told MetalTalk about the Vegas shows and how they chose a setlist:
“It’s a pretty comprehensive collection of music, especially the Vegas shows, because we played some deep album cuts and even some songs we never played live before… that was the beauty of the Vegas residency. From all over the world, people come to you. I mean, the people who will make a trip like that are the really hardcore fans and it becomes incumbent upon us to play something rare and that’s what made it so special and exciting for us”.
Whether its opening with the brilliant ‘Die Hard The Hunter’ from Pyromania or dusting off the moody, mid tempo ‘Billy’s Got A Gun’, it is a very refreshing change to hear these songs again and also a timely reminder of how consistently strong Def Leppard always were as song writers.
Another welcome treat for the fans is the mid concert acoustic mini set. The lush, mid tempo ‘Let Me Be The One’ and the heartfelt ‘We Belong’ from their 2015 self titled album, have never been played live before.
“26 years since we played this last one off the ‘Adrenalize’ album” says Joe Elliot, introducing the balled ‘Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad’.
The band plug back in for ‘Now’ before an electrifying ‘Rocket’.
It is a fine reminder, if one were needed, that Phil Collin and Vivian Campbell are one of the finest and most underrated guitar duos in the last 50 years.
Def Leppard then run through most of the big Hysteria hits before ending with the now obligatory one two punch of ‘Rock Of Ages’ before a particularly joyful ‘Photograph’.
The DVD extras are the standard fair – a short, behind the scenes feature about the production of the Vegas residency. The clips of Joe Elliot talking through old song arrangements and messing around with the lift doors for the perfect intro is almost worth the price of admission alone.
As its own film, ‘Hits Vegas’ is one of Def Leppard’s very best. Taken as part of the ‘London To Vegas’ box set it is damn near perfect.
Speaking to MetalTalk about the longevity of the band, Vivian Campbell said: “I feel I’ve been playing and singing better than ever!
“That’s the beauty of being a musician, you can refine your skill set and get better every year and that’s true of Def Leppard. Phil Collin and I talk about this a lot…If you keep yourself in reasonable shape and stay valid in some way, you can still do this”.
‘London To Vegas’ proves without shadow of a doubt that not only are Def Leppard still valid, they are still at the top of their game live.
A must own for fans.
DEF LEPPARD: LONDON TO VEGAS
2BLU-RAY+4CD, 2DVD+4CD, DVD/BLU-RAY+2CD, CRYSTAL CLEAR 2LP, PICTURE DISC AND DIGITAL FORMATS