Blog Archives

Various Artists – Live and Heavy [Review]

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Various Artists – Live and Heavy
1981, NEMS Records

1. Deep Purple – “Smoke on the Water”
2. Nazareth – “Razamanaz”
3. Motorhead – “White Line Fever”
4. Def Leppard – “Rocks Off”
5. Rainbow – “All Night Long”
6. Status Quo – “Roll Over Lay Down”
7. Whitesnake – “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City”
8. UFO – “Lights Out in London”
9. Gillan – “Unchain Your Brain”
10. Black Sabbath – “Paranoid”

What a brutal album cover that totally screams “heavy metal”. I picked this one up on vinyl in great condition for only $1 at a local flea market annex shop called Fort Walton Beach Vintage Records. Live and Heavy is a compilation put out by the British label NEMS that, unsurprisingly, features live tracks by UK rock bands. Had this been released a year or two later, I’m sure it would’ve been full of NWOBHM bands but instead we get bands that are more closely associated with ’70s hard rock and heavy metal.

This compilation has a killer line-up: Gillan-era Deep Purple, Rainbow, Whitesnake, UFO (“Lights Out” is titled “Lights Out in London” on this release), Ozzy-era Black Sabbath, Motorhead… some of the very best heavy rock bands England has to offer. Even Def Leppard makes an appearance. Pretty good deal for such a new and young band (at the time) to get a track compiled with a number of other legendary bands.

Had this been a compilation of studio tracks, I probably would’ve passed. I’m not big on live album but for a collection of live cuts from these specific bands, I figured it was worth a buck.

The inner sleeve lists the various dates and venues these tracks were recorded. Always good to have that info. I was afraid this was going to be a super low-budget compilation that wouldn’t even bother.

This is a good pick-up for fans of hard rock from the 1970s and early 1980s.

Highlights: “Smoke on the Water”, “All Night Long”, “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City”, “Lights Out in London”

Loud Lion – Die Tough [Review]

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 Loud Lion – Die Tough
2014, MelodicRock Records
Buy the album at Amazon.com

1. Love Will Break Your Heart
2. Lion’s Den
3. Lion Eyes
4. Die Tuff
5. Loud Lion Theme Song
6. Dawn Of The Dead
7. The Hills Have Eyes
8. Sunset Slip
9. None More Fast

Band:
Bleu – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
Taylor Locke – Guitar
Adam Ross – Guitar
Allison Robertson – Guitar
John Fields – Bass
Maclaine Diemer – Keyboards, Guitar
Dylan Halacy – Drums

Producer: John Fields & Bleu

Loud Lion (Or is it LoudLion? I’ve seen it spelled both ways by the band and the record label…) is a project put together by indie rock/pop musician & producer Bleu along with some help from members of the Donnas, Rooney and Bang Camaro and a few others. Their goal? To emulate Def Leppard and the “Mutt Lange sound” just as good and as better as any band before them. Loud Lion… Def Leppard… get it? Bleu has another project that plays music in a style similar to Electric Light Orchestra (E.L.O.) called L.E.O.

The band was first put together over 7 years ago. The handful of songs out there before the release of Die Tough were available on the band’s MySpace band years ago along with some appearances on a few movie soundtracks such as The Hills Have Eyes 2 and Balls of Fury. Loud Lion even covered Def Leppard’s “Rock of Ages” on the Balls of Fury soundtrack.

To my knowledge, “Lion’s Den”, “Lion Eyes”, “Sunset Slip” and “None More Fast” have never been released until now. I’m not sure if they are recent songs or if they came from the same sessions years back that produced much of the rest of the album. As far as I can tell, the rest of the tracks are the very same ones that were released years ago.

I know a Loud Lion album was supposed to happen a very long time ago. Not sure what happened there because it’s been about 7 years since Loud Lion first released some music. Even now in the wake of this album’s release the band’s Facebook & Twitter pages haven’t been updated since 2011.

I still love the previously released material the best but “Lion’s Den” and “Sunset Slip” are cool tracks. As Def Leppard is sometimes more prone to sounding like a ’70s glam rock band these days (C’mon, Joe, that’s what the Down ‘N’ Outz are for!), I am always in a welcoming mood for any group that wants to emulate what Def Leppard did with Mutt Lange in the 1980s. Similar to the KISS-like 1977, many of these tracks are meant to slightly remind you of a few Def Leppard classics. There’s enough of a difference to keep things interesting and for the songs to have their own identity while still invoking those familiar vibes and warm fuzzy feelings that you might get from listening to Def Leppard’s “Rocket” or “Love Bites”.

While much of the material isn’t exactly recent, it’s still great to finally see Loud Lion get an album release. Hopefully people take notice and Bleu will give us some new Loud Lion songs in the future. This is a must have release for fans of Def Leppard. It’s the greatest album Def Leppard never recorded!

Highlights: “Love Will Break Your Heart”, “Lion’s Den”, “Die Tuff”, “Loud Lion Theme Song”, “Dawn of the Dead”, “The Hills Have Eyes”, “Sunset Slip”

Metal Excess Awards 2013

2013 was an interesting year for rock/metal. Some bands delivered more than I expected them to (Stryper, Bon Jovi, Mike Tramp), a few disappointed me (Megadeth, Avenged Sevenfold, De La Cruz) and some confirmed my suspicions that they shouldn’t have released an album at all (Black Sabbath… okay, it was good but it seemed derivative of their past works).

Overall, it was a bit of a slow year for me as I focused a lot on listening to old favorites rather than having an interest in checking out and reviewing some of the latest releases.

Best Albums of 2013
1. Buckcherry – Confessions
2. Stryper – No More Hell to Pay
3. Bon Jovi – What About Now
4. Tom Keifer – The Way Life Goes
5. The Poodles – Tour de Force
6. Avantasia – The Mystery of Time
7. Reckless Love – Spirit
8. Megadeth – Super Collider
9. Jorn – Traveller
10. Mike Tramp – Cobblestone Street

Best Live Albums
1. Whitesnake – Made In Britain / The World Record
2. Dio – Finding the Sacred Heart: Live in Philly 1986
3. Def Leppard – Viva! Hysteria
4. Whitesnake – Made In Japan
5. Great White – 30 Years: Live from the Sunset Strip

Best EPs
1. Stone Temple Pilots with Chester Bennington – High Rise
2. The 69 Eyes – Love Runs Away
3. Skid Row – United World Rebellion: Chapter One

Best Compilation/Cover Albums
1. Stryper – Second Coming
2. Kelly Clarkson – Wrapped in Red
3. Buckcherry – The Best of Buckcherry
4. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Upon the Winter Solstice
5. Jorn – Symphonic

Most Anticipated New Releases for 2014
Alice Cooper
Judas Priest
Motley Crue
Sebastian Bach
Whitesnake

Def Leppard – Viva! Hysteria [Review]

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Def Leppard – Viva! Hysteria: Live at the Joint, Las Vegas
2013, Frontiers Records
Buy the album at Amazon.com

Disc One:
1. “Women” 6:11
2. “Rocket” 6:09
3. “Animal” 4:07
4. “Love Bites” 6:08
5. “Pour Some Sugar on Me” 4:32
6. “Armageddon It” 5:26
7. “Gods Of War” 7:14
8. “Don’t Shoot Shotgun” 4:33
9. “Run Riot” 4:49
10. “Hysteria” 5:59
11. “Excitable” 4:37
12. “Love and Affection” 6:17
13. “Rock of Ages” 4:15
14. “Photograph” 6:13

Disc Two:
1. “Good Morning Freedom” 3:36
2. “Wasted” 3:44
3. “Stagefright” 3:41
4. “Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)” 4:56
5. “Action” 4:13
6. “Rock Brigade” 3:41
7. “Undefeated” 5:25
8. “Promises” 4:11
9. “On Through The Night” 5:11
10. “Slang” 2:37
11. “Let It Go” 6:08
12. “Another Hit And Run” 5:14
13. “High ‘n’ Dry (Saturday Night)” 3:44
14. “Bringin’ On the Heartbreak” 4:43
15. “Switch 625” 5:08

Band:
Joe Elliott – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Phil Collen – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Vivian Campbell – Guitar, Backing Vocal
Rick Savage – Bass, Backing Vocals
Rick Allen – Drums

Producer: Ronan McHugh

In the late ’90s/early ’00s, the fad among hard rock bands seemed to be working with a symphony. Then for a bit it seemed like cover albums were all the rage for the older bands. Now? Well, it looks like Vegas is the place to be for ’80s hard rock groups and honestly… that makes sense considering most of those bands were decadent and over-the-top with their music and live performances.

Viva! Hysteria is Def Leppard’s second live offering, recorded in March of 2013, and it arrives only two years after the release of their first live album, Mirrorball: Live & MorePersonally, I think it’s way too soon for the band to release another live album (and they’re both double albums!) but I understand them wanting to commemorate their run Las Vegas run at The Joint.

At least the set list is not similar to Mirrorball. Viva! Hysteria captures an entire live performance of the Hysteria album while disc two sees the band playing fan service by tossing in some old favorites, oddities and rarely played songs. It’s always great to see a classic band do this rather than run through a tired ‘greatest hits’ set list for the millionth time. I imagine the second disc will get more spins from the hardcore Def Leppard fans than the first disc will. I’m glad to see they dusted off “Promises” from 1999’s Euphoria. It’s a great song from one of my favorite Def Leppard albums.

The band actually opened for themselves performing under the name of Ded Flatbird while playing those deep cuts from disc two. So the entire live performance of Hysteria on disc one is actually how the band closed their shows (while tossing in Pyromania‘s “Rock of Ages” and “Photograph” as encores).

Def Leppard may have released some of the most polished rock albums ever but when it comes to live performances, you won’t miss the studio trickery… they actually sound like a rock ‘n’ roll band! I just wish the band tossed one or two new songs on this release as I liked the three new studio tracks they released with Mirrorball.

www.defleppard.com
www.facebook.com/defleppard

The Metal Excess Awards: 2011 Edition

Last year I said 2010 was a better year for music than 2009 was. I went on to wonder how 2011 could even begin to top it. Well, guess what… 2011 did indeed top 2010! I’m looking back at my Top 25 list for 2010 and while those albums are all still good, this year’s Top 25 list is much stronger top to bottom.

2011 was a great year that saw classic rock/metal acts like Whitesnake, Warrant, Riot, Alice Cooper, Journey, Black N’ Blue and King Kobra deliver some of the best albums of their career while younger acts like Steel Panther, Reckless Love, Savage Messiah, Evile (who missed the list by this much) and Black Veil Brides have shown that they are more than capable of carrying rock & metal into the future.

Top 25 Albums of 2011

1. Whitesnake – Forevermore
2. Sixx:A.M. – This Is Gonna Hurt
3. Riot – Immortal Soul
4. Warrant – Rockaholic
5. Alice Cooper – Welcome 2 My Nightmare
6. Steel Panther – Balls Out
7. Megadeth – Thirteen
8. Anthrax – Worship Music
9. Sebastian Bach – Kicking & Screaming
10. Reckless Love – Animal Attraction
11. Edguy – Age of the Joker
12. Hurtsmile – s/t
13. Journey – Eclipse
14. Chickenfoot – III
15. Mike Tramp & The Rock ‘N’ Roll Circuz – Stand Your Ground
16. Black Country Communion – 2
17. The Poodles – Performocracy
18. House of Lords – Big Money
19. King Kobra – s/t
20. Saliva – Under Your Skin
21. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
22. Black N’ Blue – Hell Yeah!
22. Savage Messiah – Plague of Conscience
24. George Lynch – Kill All Control
25. Joe Bonamassa – Dust Bowl

Best E.P./Single
In light of a few non-album singles being released this year, I’ve decided to make this a hybrid category.

1. Sixx:A.M. – 7
2. Black Veil Brides – Rebels
3. Who Cares – Out of My Mind / Holy Water
4. Wildstreet – II …Faster …Louder!
5. The Last Vegas – The Other Side E.P.

Best Compilation/Cover/Live/Reissue Albums
Kind of a catch-all category this year. Instead of listing each category individually, I decided to lump them all into one list and rank them that way.

1. Black Sabbath – Born Again [Deluxe Edition]
2. Stryper – The Covering
3. Vains of Jenna – Reverse Tripped
4. Whitesnake – Live at Donington 1990
5. Slash featuring Myles Kennedy – Live: Made In Stoke 24/7/11
6. Hell – Human Remains
7. Scorpions – Comeblack
8. Def Leppard – Mirrorball: Live & More
9. Eric Carr – Unfinished Business
10. Black Sabbath – Dehumanizer [Deluxe Edition]

Want to read more about the year in music? Check out some of the fine sites & blogs listed below! And be sure to keep checking back for more Year-End posts here at Metal Excess!

All Metal Resource — http://allmetalresource.com/

Bring Back Glam — http://bringbackglam.squarespace.com/

The Crash Pad of Ray Van Horn, Jr. – http://www.rayvanhornjr2.blogspot.com/

Hair Metal Mansion — http://hairbangersradio.ning.com/

Hard Rock Hideout — http://hardrockhideout.com/

Hard Rock Nights — http://hardrocknights.com

Heavy Metal Addiction — http://heavymetaladdiction.com/

Heavy Metal Time Machine — http://metalmark.blogspot.com/

Imagine Echoes — http://www.imagineechoes.com/

Layla’s Classic Rock — http://laylasclassicrock.blogspot.com/

Metal Odyssey — http://metalodyssey.wordpress.com/

The Ripple Effect — http://www.ripplemusic.blogspot.com/

Def Leppard – X

Def Leppard – X (2002, Island Records)

1. “Now” … 3:58
2. “Unbelievable” … 3:58
3. “You’re So Beautiful” … 3:31
4. “Everyday” … 3:08
5. “Long Long Way To Go” … 4:38
6. “Four Letter Word” … 3:07
7. “Torn to Shreds” … 2:56
8. “Love Don’t Lie” … 4:46
9. “Gravity” … 2:33
10. “Cry” … 3:17
11. “Girl Like You” … 2:49
12. “Let Me Be the One” … 3:29
13. “Scar” … 4:59

Band:
Joe Elliott – lead vocals
Rick “Sav” Savage – bass guitar, vocals
Rick Allen – drums
Vivian Campbell – guitar, vocals
Phil Collen – guitar, vocals

Producer: Pete Woodroffe & Def Leppard

It’s been a long time coming but I finally sat down and gave this album another spin. I bought it as soon as it came out and probably gave it 4 or 5 spins before deciding it was a disappointing follow-up to Euphoria. 9 years later, I’m listening to it again. I would’ve actually checked it out (again) a few years earlier but I lost my copy and finally snagged another copy a year or two ago.

Euphoria was no slouch of an album. It’s their most recent album to go gold, “Promises” was a minor radio hit, the album was hailed as a return to form by fans & critics alike after the alternative leanings of Slang and the band was all over VH1 at the time enjoying the renewed popularity that many “eighties bands” were experiencing.

So why, then, did the band go in yet another direction by turning in their poppiest, softest-rocking album to date? Well, I guess the lure of the almighty dollar was just too much. Sure, they sold 500,000 copies of the last album but what about going double platinum like Bon Jovi did?

Obviously inspired by the success of Bon Jovi’s Crush and “It’s My Life”, Def Leppard recruited some of the very same songwriters that the boys from Jersey had partnered with on that 2000 release. Names like Max Martin, Andreas Carlsson and Wayne Hector were all over the place in the late ’90s/early ’00s as they wrote hits for a number of boy bands like Backstreet Boys and pop tarts like Britney Spears. The band was obviously content to just let the “hits” come to them as not a single member had a hand in writing “Unbelievable” or “Long Long Way to Go”!

It blew my mind at the time that Def Leppard was able to recover from the cold response for Slang by handing in Euphoria (one of their best albums, IMO) and then do another turnaround with X. I actually lost a bit of respect for the band at the time because it was such an obvious cash grab and phony attempt at staying relevant.

Nine years on, my judgment isn’t as clouded and I can look back and say there are a number of good tracks on this album despite a few tracks where the band tries to play the role of a boy band. Funny thing is, the songs I ended up liking most are on the first half of the album — the half that features lots of outside co-writing credits! Tracks 6-13 were all written by the band with only producer Pete Woodroffe stepping in to co-write a few songs.

The one song I instantly loved off this album was “Now”. To me, that is a classic Def Leppard sounding song and actually does sound like something to follow-up Euphoria with. “Scar” is another very good guitar-oriented song that rocks a bit harder than the rest and sounds close to something they might’ve done in the ’80s.

The album is full of mid-tempo numbers and ballads. It’s a complete pop album but I have a lot more respect for it now. It’s not a classic but it’s not bad at all and I upgrade it to “decent” and remove it’s previous status of “bland”. Maybe I’m going soft.

Highlights: “Now”, “Unbelievable”, “You’re So Beautiful”, “Everyday”, “Love Don’t Lie”, “Cry”, “Scar”

http://www.defleppard.com
http://www.facebook.com/defleppard

Buy ‘X’ on Amazon.com! (See all Pop Music CDs)

Def Leppard – Mirror Ball: Live & More

Def Leppard – Mirror Ball: Live & More (2011, Mailboat Records)

Disc 1
1. “Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)”
2. “Rocket”
3. “Animal”
4. “C’Mon C’Mon”
5. “Make Love Like A Man”
6. “Too Late For Love”
7. “Foolin'”
8. “Nine Lives”
9. “Love Bites”
10. “Rock On”

Disc 2
1. “Two Steps Behind”
2. “Bringin’ On The Heartbreak”
3. “Switch 625”
4. “Hysteria”
5. “Armageddon It”
6. “Photograph”
7. “Pour Some Sugar On Me”
8. “Rock Of Ages”
9. “Let’s Get Rocked”
10. “Action”
11. “Bad Actress”
12. “Undefeated”
13. “King Of The World”
14. “It’s All About Believin'”

Disc 3 – DVD
– Behind the Scenes on the Sparkle Lounge Tour 2008-2009
– Live Performances: “Rock! Rock! (‘Til You Drop)”, “Armageddon It”, “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, “Hysteria”
– Music Videos: “Nine Lives”, “C’Mon C’Mon”

Band:
Joe Elliott – Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Phil Collen – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Vivian Campbell – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Rick “Sav” Savage – Bass, Backing Vocals
Rick Allen – Drums, Backing Vocals

Produced by: Def Leppard & Ronan McHugh

Wal-Mart nabs yet another exclusive North American release from yet another band that has fallen into the classic rock category but this time it’s a live album (and more!). It’s a proven method for success these days as the album debuted at #16 on the Billboard charts in the U.S. with approximately 20,000 copies sold.

The live tracks were all recorded somewhere out there over the rainbow (it’s never specified exactly when and where in the liner notes) during the Sparkle Lounge tour that ran from 2008-2009. As someone who saw that tour and most recently caught them on tour in support of this album I can safely that Mirrorball is a good representation of what the band sounds like live. Obviously there is polish and trickery in the studio that cannot be replicated live (certainly true when it comes to a band like Def Leppard). As most “live” albums go, there is a little tinkering done not-so-live but this is still a faithful representation that plays out like a live greatest hits.

Which is basically what Def Leppard has been doing for a number of years now — a greatest hits set list, which is fine, but after awhile you wanna see them throwin some fan faves that they haven’t played in a number of years. The most recent album Def Leppard is playing live from in 2011 (other than “Undefeated” from this album) is 1993’s Retro Active! They’ve released 5 albums since then but all are being ignored… that’s a bone to pick for another time. Live versions of “Action” and “Bad Actress” are tacked on near the end of the album, supposedly they are “bonus” tracks. I guess maybe the Frontiers edition doesn’t have these songs?

Although I would’ve picked this album up regardless, the real bait for me was the three new studio tracks:

  • “Undefeated” is a classic Leppard. The first few times I heard the leaked form on YouTube, I liked it but wasn’t really impressed (Joe’s voice seemed pretty weak). Since then, the song has grown on me in a big way. I’ve got it on my iPod for when I run and it’s a great choice to open the shows on the current tour. Sounds even better live. Classic Rock magazine said it was “as good as anything they’ve written in the last 30 years”. I wouldn’t go that far but it is a very strong number that is definitely as good as anything from the past 15 years or so.
  • “Kings of the World” sounds like a track that didn’t make it onto Sparkle Lounge. Total Queen-worship here which the band doesn’t deny at all. Lyrically, it is very similar to Queen’s “Princes of the Universe” from A Kind of Magic. Slow song but good.
  • “All About Believin'” wraps up the audio portion of Mirrorball and sounds like it could’ve come from Euphoria. Another good song.
After being slightly disappointed with Songs from the Sparkle Lounge it’s good to see the band embrace their “classic” sound a bit more with these new songs. Hopefully between Yeah! and Sparkle Lounge the band has worked out their ’70s glam rock impulses and will go back to the Mutt Lange-dictated/inspired sound that gave them their best albums (PyromaniaHysteriaAdrenalize and Euphoria in case you’re wondering).
The third disc, a 50 minute DVD, is interesting– a couple of live performances and some behind-the-scenes footage. All told, this is a great collection showing that on the stage and in the studio Def Leppard can still get it done. Now about that set list…

http://www.defleppard.com
http://www.facebook.com/defleppard

Concert Review: Def Leppard & Heart (6/19/11)


Def  Leppard

W/  Special Guests: Heart

Opener: Evan Watson 

6/19/2011

The Amphitheater at The Wharf in Orange Beach, Alabama

First off, I gotta say that The Amphitheater at The Wharf is a pretty cool venue with not a bad seat in the house. I’d never been to it before and it was a much cleaner and nicer facility than I am used to going to. Then again, since it is located just over the Florida state line in a resort/beach town, it’s a given that the place would be pretty nice and well-maintained. Capacity is about 10,000 and though I can testify that it wasn’t a sell out from the five empty seats around us, it had to have been pretty close.

Here are my thoughts…

Evan Watson

Evan Watson is a blues/folk/rock guitarist who I wasn’t familiar with before this show. He wasn’t listed on any of the materials I saw promoting this show. Obviously, being the opening act, the venue wasn’t even half full at this point but those of us that were there appreciated Watson’s work. Great voice that lends a lot of passion and truth to the music he is playing and he came across as very likable during his stage banter.

Pretty interesting set up in that he didn’t have a backing band. Just a man and his guitar (he used some type of pedal setup to keep a beat). From what I can tell by his website, he usually has a backing band called The Headless Horsemen but it looks like he’s going completely solo for this tour.

He played a four or five song set but I can’t remember the name of the first song and in-between “Woodpecker” and “The Giving Tree” he played a song by The Band (the name of that song also escapes me). “Woodpecker” is a pretty cool & lyrically naughty blues rock number but “The Giving Tree” was the set’s highlight for me. I am now a fan and I’m going to check out his album A Town Called Blue and the just-released South EP.

[EDIT: I contacted Evan Watson on his Facebook page and he has informed me of the two songs I was missing.]

Set list
“Latitude”
“Woodpecker”
“Shape I’m In” (The Band cover)
“The Giving Tree”

Heart

When I initially heard about this tour, honestly, Heart wasn’t even a selling point for me. I had seen Def Leppard back in 2009 and wanted to see them again and that’s all there was to it. Yes, I am a fan of Heart but with only two of their albums in my collection, it would be a stretch to say they were a favorite act of mine (although I really enjoy much of their ’70s output). Once they hit the stage though, my mind was totally changed.

Great performance from the entire band with Ann sounding just as good as ever at 62 years of age (it was her birthday and Nancy led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to her). It’s just insane that anyone can still sound this good 30 years on. She has to be the best female rock vocalist of all time. As for Nancy, she was full of energy all night — hopping, skipping and jumping around as she played.

The best part of their set was their classic ’70s material along with “WTF” from 2010’s Red Velvet Car. That song is classic Heart in my opinion and fits in well with their older material. Of course, they had a number of hit rock/pop songs in the ’80s and played those as well. These songs went over well with the crowd (though I think the women were more into those songs than the males). Though they certainly weren’t going through the motions, I got the feeling like they just wanted to get through those commercial numbers as quickly as possible (which is probably why they were lumped altogether) as the sisters would jokingly make references to the songs as “another eighties song” and talk about MTV and big hair styles.

Heart is a fantastic, powerful and graceful live band and “Cook With Fire” was on fire. That was easily the best performance of their set. Such a great way to open their set and my only complaint on their performance is that they did not play “Dog & Butterfly”.

Set list
“Cook With Fire” (w/intro from “In The Evening” by Led Zeppelin)
“Heartless”
“Never”
“What About Love”
“These Dreams”
“You’re the Voice”
“Alone”
“WTF”
“Magic Man”
“Crazy On You”
“Barracuda”
Encore
“What Is and What Should Never Be” (Led Zeppelin cover)

Def Leppard

I was pleasantly surprised to see them open with “Undefeated” (one of three new studio tracks from the newly released live album Mirrorball: Live & More – review coming soon!). Though the song has grown on me since first hearing it, it comes off even better live and was a great choice as an opener that the crowd was into.

The rest of the set was about what you’d expect from Def Leppard these days, at least when it comes to playing in the U.S. (they played a slightly different set over in the UK recently that included “Wasted” from On Through the Night). In comparison to the 2009 show I caught them at, they’ve dropped “Rock Rock (‘Til You Drop)”, “Too Late for Love” and “C’mon C’mon” while adding “Undefeated” and “Foolin'”. Other than that, they changed up the running order a bit.

Though there are very little surprises with this band nowadays, they are a tight touring machine and in addition to their precise musical abilities, they have all the smoke, lights and video screens to back them up. It’s great to see them still going out and giving 100% when it comes to presentation. It really is a grand concert experience to see Def Leppard perform live, they hit all their marks, I just wish they would change up the set list a bit more and dust off a few numbers like “Promises”, “20th Century Boy”, “Make Love Like A Man”, “Women”, “Now” or “Gods of War”.

Set list
“Undefeated”
“Let’s Get Rocked”
“Animal”
“Foolin'”
“Love Bites”
“Rock On” (David Essex cover)
“Rocket”
“Two Steps Behind” (Acoustic)
“Bringin’ on the Heartbreak” (Acoustic/Electric)
“Switch 625”
“Hysteria”
“Armageddon It”
“Photograph”
“Pour Some Sugar on Me”
Encore
“Rock of Ages”

Overall, it was a great night. Def Leppard, Heart and Watson all put in great performances and it was a real treat to see Heart perform live. If they ever came back around as headliners, I would be interested in seeing them. The whole venue had a great atmosphere and the weather was about as nice as you could hope for given it’s the south and summertime (had a good breeze going). This is a show worth seeking out this summer and worth every dollar.

DEF LEPPARD – Hysteria

Def Leppard – Hysteria (1987, Mercury Records)

1. “Women” … 5:41
2. “Rocket” … 6:37
3. “Animal” … 4:02
4. “Love Bites” … 5:46
5. “Pour Some Sugar on Me” … 4:25
6. “Armageddon It” … 5:21
7. “Gods of War” … 6:37
8. “Don’t Shoot Shotgun” … 4:26
9. “Run Riot” … 4:39
10. “Hysteria” … 5:54
11. “Excitable” … 4:19
12. “Love and Affection” … 4:37

Band:
Joe Elliot – Lead Vocals, Backing Vocals
Phil Collen – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Steve Clark – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Rick Savage – Bass, Backing Vocals
Rick Allen – Drums

Producer: Robert John “Mutt” Lange

What can I say? This album is a pop-metal masterpiece on par with Def Leppard’s previous release Pyromania (I should really extend my “review” of that album). And like that album, SEVEN singles were released from this album all of which were hits and most of which can still be heard on radio and dominating Def Leppard’s live set to this day. I think “Women” is the only single the band doesn’t don’t play as much and I know it’s too long to have gotten play on pop stations but I think “God of War” could’ve done really well on rock radio and “Love and Affection” should’ve been a single as well.

I just recently bought this album. I held off on it for so long because I know most of these songs already practically every rock fan does whether they own the album or not. I first heard the complete album around 1999 when I was visiting a friend in Virginia who had recently picked up a used copy on CD. I always drag my feet on picking essential albums when I know them so well, for so long I couldn’t bring myself to pick up an album where I already knew half of it extensively.

Well, I was browsing Best Buy and had a $25 gift card, saw it for $9.99 and grabbed it. I know there’s a deluxe super duper remixed remastered bonus tracks edition available (and having heard it, I can say the bonus stuff is actually really good) but it goes for $25-30 most of the time. I’m fine with owning the original material and nothing else in order to shave off $15-20. Maybe years from now if it hits that $10-15 range I’ll get it.

I’m having a hard time deciding whether this album or Pyromania is their best. Pyromania set the blue print, Hysteria has sold more (though not by much), both seemed to equally be hailed as not only the best Def Leppard album but as one of rock’s best as well. I think I slightly lean towards Pyromania just based on the fact that most of the singles on this album have been played and played and played and played so much more than anything from Pyromania and with me at least when songs are overplayed as much as these, they tend to lose impact. Still great songs but it’s like “yeah yeah, I could go a few years without hearing this song”.

Hysteria was certainly my introduction to the band. I can remember watching “Pour Some Sugar On Me” on MTV (I would’ve turned SIX not too long after it was released) and I’ve always felt a close connection to “Hysteria” and “Love Bites”. Those are the three singles I remember most from those days. By the way, I HATE the “Animal” music video. I can’t believe they still do the whole circus theme on the video screens when they play it live.

Now, there is some filler on this album. “Don’t Shoot Shotgun” (which is just an odd title to me), “Run Riot” and “Excitable” are fairly uninspired and make the album feel bloated. They should’ve gone for 9 or 10 tracks like they did with Pyromania.

Highlights: “Women”, “Rocket”, “Animal”, “Love Bites”, “Pour Some Sugar On Me”, “Armageddon It”, “Gods of War”, “Hysteria”, “Love and Affection”

www.defleppard.com
www.myspace.com/defleppard

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DEF LEPPARD – Yeah! Bonus CD with Backstage Interviews

Def Leppard – Yeah! Bonus CD with Backstage Interviews [Walmart Exclusive] (2006, Mercury Records/Island Records]

1. “American Girl” – Tom Petty … 3:34
2. Backstage Interview #1 … 3:12
3. “Search & Destroy” – The Stooges … 3:27
4. Backstage Interview #2 … 2:01
5. “Space Oddity” – David Bowie … 5:28
6. Backstage Interview #3 … 2:43
7. “Dear Friends” – Queen … 1:28
8. “Heartbeat” – Jobriath … 2:45

Band:
Joe Elliott – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Piano, Percussion (“American Girl”, “Space Oddity”, “Heartbeat”)
Phil Collen – Guitar, Lead Vocals, Bass, Drums (“Search & Destroy”)
Vivian Campbell – Guitar, Backing Vocals (“American Girl”)
Rick Savage – Bass, Lead Vocals, Guitar, Drums (“Dear Friends”)
Rick Allen – Drums (???)

Additional Musicians:
Marc Danzeisen – Drums (“American Girl”)
Jesse Sheely – Backing Vocals (“American Girl”)

Producer: ?

I considered updating the entry of Yeah!, just tacking this on at the end, but the more I thought about it the more I thought Walmart’s exclusive bonus CD to Yeah! deserved its own entry. Despite being called a “bonus”, it was sold separately for $6 and was released the same time as Yeah! and it is basically an EP that features 5 additional cover songs plus a three-part interview regarding the album and the band’s recent tours. I didn’t realize this bonus CD even existed until after buying the main album at Target, but a few months back, copies of this CD appeared at Walmart for only $3 (What, did they come across a forgotten box of this CD in their stockroom?) and I couldn’t pass it up.

For some weird reason, none of the songs here were recorded by the whole band. Joe Elliott and Vivian Campbell collaborated on “American Girl” but as for the rest, only one Def Leppard member appears. Kind of odd. Information as to who played what seems to be limited.

For what they are though, the songs are enjoyable. “American Girl” is fairly faithful, but I’m sick of everyone covering this song. I’ve never heard of Jobriath, but Joe Elliott’s cover of their song “Heartbeat” is my favorite song here.

Nothing essential here really and the interview is fairly standard stuff giving the album some back story, but since I’m a big fan of Yeah!, this was well worth the $3.

Highlights: “American Girl”, “Space Oddity”, “Heartbeat”

www.defleppard.com
www.myspace.com/defleppard

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