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Friday, August 12, 2011

Def Leppard – Mirror Ball Live album
Released on: Bludgeon Riffola / Walmart Release date: Available now!

So Def Leppard's first actual live album, proper in a career spanning over thirty years, even though some lucky fans who years ago picked up the limited edition of ‘Vault - Best of Def Leppard’ will tell you they already have ‘Live at Don Valley,’ but of course that was not official full blown release, whereas this one is.
It also features three previously unreleased new studio tracks, to make sure all fans of the band, would buy this.

Me personally, I think this album has been a long time coming and there’s no reason really why they could not have released a live album before. Beats me, it really does, but it’s here now, so enough moans and groans!

The two CD set I have here – The Walmart release also comes with a third disc, a live DVD. This is simply a two CD promo, no frills, no sleeve notes, just a cardboard slip sleeve. – I have to say, I’ve really enjoyed listening to.

The slightly amusing thing about this release though, is towards the end of the live set, as it all fades out at the end of the second disc, after ‘Let’s Get Rocked,’ it all fades out and you wait for the encore tracks, ‘Action’The Sweet cover song – and ‘Bad Actress.’ What’s funny you say? Well, as the band comes out, Joe Elliott says, ‘Good evening’ and it's the second to last of the live tracks here?! Leppard used to start a lot of their live shows with ‘Action,’ so I just wonder why they chose ‘Rock, Rock! (‘Till you Drop)?’

So, yes, the live first disc here starts with ‘Rock, Rock (Till You Drop’ and what a great track and I do like the fact that each track runs into each other, thus keeping the release as a true overall live event, even though it’s clearly made up from many different live dates. One of the things that always bugged me on Kiss ‘Alive,’ - And sadly many other 'live releases too! - was that the album didn’t flow, as every track on that release had a gap between it.
This flows, but you can hear the difference between each crowd level on each track, but moving on ... ‘Rocket’ follows next and no complaints here sounds like you have everything you need on stage guys! It's all good stuff.

‘Animal’ is such a great track, that just blew me away when I first heard it way back and live it just keeps the momentum up, before we’re treated to ‘C’mon, C’mon,’ a track from the ‘Sparkle Lounge’ album that fits perfectly here.
The party continues here with ‘Make Love like a Man,’ give me more cowbell, please! LOL!

‘Pyromania’ time with ‘Too Late For Love,’ closely followed by ‘Foolin’ before coming up to date with the track they wrote with Tim McGraw, ‘Nine Lives.’ I mean come on, its classic Leppard time all round!
‘Love Bites’ and the David Essex cover ‘Rock On,’ wrap up disc one.
Really wish they’d have included something else over ‘Rock On’ though, personally one of my least favourite tracks from the ‘Yeah!’ Covers collection and I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks that?!

The second disc kicks off with ‘Two Steps Behind,’ in front of a supportive California crowd.
An absolutely killer song next with the acoustic guitars in place and it’s ‘Bringing on the Heartbreak,’ then the second part of the song proper kicks in with electric guitars and rocks out, before the staple of ‘Switch 625’ which is an absolute must in the live set. I recall in the past when the band had stopped playing it live, but just listen to it here and you’ll understand exactly what I mean. Great stuff!

Next as it’s clear the set is close to its end, with the assault of ‘Hysteria,’ ‘Armageddon It,’ ‘Photograph,’ ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ and ‘Rock of Ages,’ before ‘Let’s Get Rocked,’ it’s prime time Leppard, does it get any better as a live set from these guys? I think not!
Of course when Joe says, ‘So … (Slight silence), erm … (Brief silence again), do you wanna get rocked?!’ There’s massive screams of delight from the crowd. Yes Joe, they clearly did!
The previously mentioned ‘Action’ is the first of the two encores – implied on here – and for me, they’ve always done it more than justice and it goes over so well in their set.
Last live track is ‘Bad Actress’ from ‘Sparkle Lounge’ to wrap things up.
So overall, it makes for a very satisfactory live album

What of the new studio tracks you say?
‘Undefeated’ first kind of reminds me a little of Bon Jovi in some aspects, but it’s also like one of those slightly ‘different’ tracks where Def Leppard try to test the ground sometimes, to judge reaction. It’s OK to me.
Then with ‘Kings of the World,’ to me they’ve really outdone themselves and have created a huge epic like track that clearly gives a nod to Queen, elements of Aerosmith perhaps even at times, E.L.O.?!
It’s a massive multilayered affair, that I think they done very well indeed, kind of their own ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ yes really.
Final track, ‘It’s all about Believing’ made me a little nervous at first with its U2 style intro before it then gets into a kind of re-written ‘Hysteria’ and seriously it sounds very good indeed. I love it!

Overall then, a very good set and I would’ve loved to have seen the DVD, but there you go.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 for me.
Official band website:

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