Def Leppard – Hysteria At The O2
(Eagle Rock Entertainment – 2020)
Now this DVD/2CD Set is exactly what it says in the title with the Sheffield legends caught live at the O2 Arena, London performing the entire Hysteria album in song order as well as a few before and after songs too to make the best part of a strong 90 minute show. Kudos to James Russell, Jim Parsons, Peter Worsley and all at Eagle Rock Films for this!
What struck me right way was just how massive this place is – bigger than Wembley Arena – this spot holds 18,000 and it's packed like a tin of tuna from front to back – proving that this 31 year old at the time album is still as highly regarded today as it was in its initial release.
The sound, lighting and videoscreen are big budget brilliance and nothing has been spared here to make this a top-ranking performance and event overall. I cannot help but be immensely impressed with Joe Elliott's vocals here since they are absolutely faultless who is backed up with all the band members with eloquent and soaring harmonies throughout.
The cinematography of this concert film is equally phenomenal with a variety of close ups, extreme close-ups, wide angle views, long shots and others in-between that really grab your attention such as footage from close to the back, halfway in showing the full stage, not to mention Rick Allen's Feet or being right up to Phil Collen's Frankenstein Guitar for his mouthwatering solos.
Trackwise, it's so good to hear the lesser-player or never at all appearances of fave cuts like 'Don't Shoot Shotgun', 'Run Riot' or 'Excitable' that are gems in their own right. It's also pretty fair to say that they've really gone to town and knuckled down on getting these songs to the same high calibre standard as the hits from the album that are always in their set like 'Rocket', 'Animal' and 'Women'.
I love the fact that Rick Savage is wearing his 'Crossfire Eagles' – a band that his son happens to be in and the fact that Joe jokes about introducing the new boy in band to the crowd, Vivian Campbell – even though he's of course been there for 26 years. Rick Allen is invited to stand up at end thus creating mass applause and of course starts up the classic speech opening of 'Rock Of Ages' – well okay, he mimes it – haha! It is quite touching to see a tribute to the late Steve Clarke on the video screens too – a very tearful moment indeed.
The last said song comes from when the Hysteria segment is done the band have titled 'Before And After' – basically a 5-song strong encore to be honest which magically opens with the classic Wasted from the E.P. and debut album 'On Through The Night' and closes with the Marilyn Monroe influenced 'Photograph'.
As a pleasurable addition there is a mini-documentary that has been made by Lee Ford called 'Hysteria: Then And Now' that informs us how the show came to be and features interviews with all the band members separately interviewed in a dressing room plus footage of setting up the stage and lighting together with Joe and Phil chatting with members of the camera crew and sorting out where all the guys need to be in front and behind the camera to get the best possible results for the final concert film.
An excellent supplement to any fan of the band and real rockers overall.
By Glenn Milligan