Wednesday, June 8, 2011

DEF LEPPARD -CD- MIRRORBALL LIVE & MORE

Def Leppard, the English rock and roll band formed in 1977 have finally released a double live album. This long awaited live album also includes three new studio tracks. Although a lot of fans, myself included, would've liked to have seen a live release from the early to mid-80s years when they reached their highest highs. However if you take Def Leppard's 34 year old career as a whole you could make the case that this is in fact their definitive live collection of their greatest hits.

Mirrorball Live & More was recorded during the 2008 & 2009 touring years. The lineup during these recordings is the same lineup that has been together since 1992 when former Dio guitarist Vivian Campbell joined the band permanently replacing the late Steve Clark. The remainder of the lineup is founding members Joe Elliott and Rick Savage, Rick Allen and Phil Collen.

Now Def Leppard is certainly a controversial band among music fans. Not for their lyrics or their political affiliations but for the range in genre from when they first broke on the scene with 1980's "On Through The Night" with a hard rock sound and part of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. This sound was also evident in their next two released. 1981's "High 'N' Dry" and their greatest work, the crazy successful "Pyromania" released in 1983. It was from there that they started to augment their sound. Sadly, and many people don't give this enough thought, it is because their drummer, Rick Allen,  tragically lost one arm. It was the loyalty of his band mates waiting for his return that not only helped Rick recover and resume his passion for drumming but required the band to augment their sound to meet Rick's new style of drumming. This is really a beautiful story and although Def Leppard is far from ending their career it is also a story with a fairytale ending.

Def Leppard became more of a rock band immediately after the return of Rick Allen and ultimately evolved into more of a pop music band that also flirted with a little country too. That is all well and good though the die hard metal heads not only had a hard time accepting Def Leppard moving in that direction they had their reasons and valid ones. Def Leppard never found the commercial success that they did in the early years but have weathered a lot of changes in the musical landscape, the tragic death of Steve Clark and thanks to Steve Jobs an entire new way that the music industry was looked at and run.

All of that can be forgotten for the live recordings offered here. There is something for fans of the entire Def Leppard catalog. "Rock! Rock! Till You Drop" will still rock you till you drop. "Love Bites" is still as hauntingly melodic as ever. "Too Late For Love" & "Foolin" still sound like the 1983 hits that they are and of course "Pour Some Sugar On Me" and "Photograph" still sound like the timeless classics they are. This is Def Leppard. Live, raw and powerful. Regardless of what song they are performing. Mirrorball reflects this beautifully.

I've been fortunate enough to see Def Leppard live in the 1980's, 1990's and 2000's and each and every time they have given a tremendous performance. This comes through on Mirrorball. If you have not been fortunate enough to see them live this is definitely a record that will let you know how they sound live.

In addition to the twenty one live tracks Def Leppard have included three new studio tracks on this release. They are the Phil Collen penned "It's All About Believin'", Rick Savage's "Kings Of The World" and the Joe Elliott written "Undefeated". The latter features a powerful drum sound and an anthem chorus worthy of some of Lep's greatest arena sing along songs. Joe Elliott has described "Kings Of The World" as having a "Queen-type vocal". I'd say the song as a whole is a Queen-type thing. The addition of these three studio tracks signal that Def Leppard can still rock and have a lot more of it to offer.

DEF LEPPARD MIRRORBALL LIVE & MORE COMPLETE TRACK LISTING

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. Kings Of The World
14. It's All About Believin'

Released June 7, 2011 in the U.S. exclusively at Walmart and Sam's Club (Walmart/Sam's Club edition has bonus DVD)

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