This week I was very excited to receive my first ever product to review! I’ve had a few offers from other companies in the past, but this is the first that has really grabbed my interest. Because it came from the rock gods Def Leppard, no less! They’ve always been one of my favourite bands, so when they got in touch to ask if I wanted to check out their new London To Vegas box set, featuring 2 massive live shows, the answer was easy!
I was genuinely going to buy it anyway, so it was sheer good fortune that they got in touch before I made the purchase. Indeed, if it hadn’t been for the lockdown drawing my attention to other matters for a while, I would have pre-ordered it much earlier.
There are many different versions of this set, depending on your budget and level of obsession with the band. I was sent the Deluxe 2 DVD & 4 CD Set, which costs £50 (the Blu-ray equivalent is £60). But there are cheaper options, including the Hysteria show on its own, a couple of vinyl discs, and the ability to stream the London and Vegas shows online. Or you can opt for more expensive bundles with goodies including a t-shirt, a printed set list, laminates, photo cards, guitar plectrums, etc. It’s great to have so much choice.
So today I want to share my unboxing video and give my review of the set. It’s important to stress that all opinions are my own here. I haven’t been asked to say anything in particular, and I accepted the product because I knew it was highly likely I was going to love it. So I hope you enjoy this post, and huge thanks to Def Leppard for their consideration and generosity!
London To Vegas contains 2 live shows, each presented on 1 DVD/Blu-ray and 2 CDs:
- Hysteria At The O2 – Recorded at London’s O2 Arena on 6 December 2018, this 1 hour 40 minute concert features the band playing their iconic Hysteria album in full, followed by an encore of 5 other classic hits.
- Hits Vegas – Recorded at Zappos Theater in Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas on 6 & 7 September 2019, this epic 2½ hour concert features 28 songs, including a 4-song acoustic set and some rarities, alongside many of their best-known hits.
The full track listings are as follows:
Hysteria At The O2
- Love Bites
- Pour Some Sugar On Me
- Armageddon It
- Stephen Clark Tribute
- Gods Of War
- Don’t Shoot Shotgun
- Run Riot
- Love And Affection
- When Love And Hate Collide
- Let’s Get Rocked
- Rock Of Ages
The 2 CDs contain the Hysteria set on Disc 1 and the Encore on Disc 2.
Hits Vegas – Live At Planet Hollywood
- Die Hard The Hunter
- Too Late For Love
- Billy’s Got A Gun
- Paper Sun
- Let It Go
- Mirror, Mirror (Look Into My Eyes)
- Bringin’ On The Heartbreak
- Switch 625
- Let Me Be The One (Acoustic)
- We Belong (Acoustic)
- Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad? (Acoustic)
- Two Steps Behind (Acoustic)
- Let’s Get Rocked
- Love Bites
- Armageddon It
- Pour Some Sugar On Me
- Let’s Go
- Rock Of Ages
The 2 CDs contain tracks 1-13 on Disc 1, and the remaining 15 tracks on Disc 2 (starting with the acoustic set).
Both shows are fantastic, as could only be expected. The performances are powerful, confident and catchy, and it’s great to hear some lesser known tracks as well as many of their biggest hits, so you get a very good selection here. It’s really fun and unique to see the entire Hysteria album performed in full in London, and it was very respectful that they included footage of late band member Steve Clark to honour him too.
The acoustic set during the Vegas show, meanwhile, is a very special and intimate moment, as the band perform in the middle of the arena with the audience all around them. It proves (as if proof were needed) that Def Leppard aren’t just about heavy rock, because their songs sound beautiful in acoustic form. And that’s a real testament to the quality of the songwriting. There’s also a fleeting Queen reference during the introductory part of the acoustic set that I appreciated as a fan of that band too. But the rest of the show is also absolutely incredible. If you’re going to be in Vegas you have to put on a big show, and they certainly achieve that. Those 2½ hours just fly by.
In addition to the music, the inventive use of the large screens, colourful lighting and expansive stages also guarantees that each show is as much a visual display of excellence as well as an audio delight. An awful lot of work has gone into these concerts, you can tell. And it’s also obvious that every member of the band is having a great time, often having big smiles on their faces as they revel in the response from the crowd.
Crucially, they’re not just performing to the audience, but with them, very keen at every step to get the fans involved. Singer Joe Elliot leads the charge of course, striding around every inch of the stage, including the platform that extends into the audience, making sure that every section of the room gets his attention. And when he goes off for a break and the others get their moments in the spotlight, they make the most of it too.
So this is a band that cares, that’s the distinct impression I get from this. They’re not just putting themselves out there for the money. They relish these opportunities to perform with such huge crowds, and they’ve still got the talent and energy to do it justice and engage with everybody. They’re determined to give their fans something special, and they do so with great success. I can only begin to imagine what the atmosphere must have been like for anyone who was lucky enough to be at one of these shows. But we do get a very good sense of it here.
The video footage is clear and wonderfully shot, with cameras covering every possible angle, giving us close-ups on the stage and views from the audience. It’s all cut together in a manner that reflects the energy of the show and draws you into it very effectively. And the sound quality is excellent, with options for Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS Digital Surround Sound. I don’t have a surround sound system to test that aspect with, but just through my Sonos Soundbar the stereo track sounded amazing. If I didn’t have neighbours, I would have eagerly turned it up much louder!
The footage is presented in 16:9 widescreen and NTSC format, and the discs are region 0, so they should play anywhere. The menus are simple to navigate, allowing you to select individual tracks from each show as well as playing the entire concert. The Hysteria disc even gives you the option to play just the Hysteria or Encore sections if you wish, although why you’d want to select less of Leppard is beyond me!
There’s a bonus featurette on each disc as well, lasting 11 minutes in each case:
- Hysteria: Then & Now contains interesting behind the scenes footage of the set construction and the preparations on stage, while the band members reminisce about the album’s success and how this special live rendition came into being.
- Hits Vegas: Behind The Scenes takes us on stage with the band as they explore the massive set that’s been built for them and do a bit of a soundcheck. I suspect it’s the few sporadic instances of swearing in this feature that has bumped the set up to a 15 rating. Which I have no complaints about, I’m just making the observation.
Both featurettes are fun and interesting. It’s lovely to spend a little bit of time behind the scenes with the group, it feels quite special to do so.
The discs are housed in a large 3-panel foldout case, each panel containing 2 cutout pockets that hold the discs in cardboard sleeves. The left panel holds the 2 DVDs, while the central and right panels hold the CDs for the London and Vegas shows respectively. So they’re all well presented and easy to access.
The design of this foldout shows a faded version of the flags, with the white areas of the flags becoming grey whilst the reds and blues are still visible. This is the same on the outside of the foldout, where some dirt effects have also been added to the flags. A large version of the Def Leppard logo spans 2 of the outer panels, again in very faded colours, so I couldn’t make it out to begin with. It was only by viewing the panels through my phone’s camera, and tilting the sleeve to catch the light at just the right angle, that I was able to get a clearer glimpse of the lettering. So it’s the only part of the set that I can’t see clearly. But it doesn’t spoil it for me, as it’s not something I’ll look at much anyway. And the overall design is still quite cool, it stands out very well from the rest of the set.
But talking of things from a visual impairment perspective, I’m delighted that the text throughout the set is easy to read, with white or yellow wording clearly contrasted against a darker background colour, and using a clear font. Sure, some people with more severe sight loss may need to magnify it, but in doing so they should find that the text stands out quite nicely. This applies both to the box art and the DVD menus, as the design is consistent throughout.
Finally, the set also contains a gorgeous hardback book full of photos, with half the book dedicated to each show. They’re really colourful and exciting to look through, making it a great souvenir to accompany the discs.
All in all, therefore, I love this set. The box design and the book of photos are strikingly colourful and beautiful to look at, with text that’s easy to read, while the live performances are spectacular, the energy and atmosphere coming across extremely well. This legendary band are clearly still on top of their game, more than capable of filling huge venues and entertaining such massive crowds with seemingly no effort, even though it’s apparent that a lot of hard work has gone into these concerts.
So if you’re a Def Leppard fan, I would say you can’t go wrong with this, it’s an essential addition to the collection. Or if you’re not already a Leppard lover, but you enjoy a decent bit of heavy rock, then this is well worth a go. And if you want to see more of my thoughts on Def Leppard and Hysteria, don’t forget to check out my unboxing and review of the Hysteria 30th Anniversary box set from 2017.
So thank you for reading, I hope you found that interesting. And thank you again to Def Leppard for their very kind opportunity to review the set, it’s greatly appreciated!