Car journey = two and a half hours of fun being diverted through every little village outside of Nottingham. Arriving in Nottingham...find car park....closed....find another...no spaces...oh wait there's one left!. Try to buy ticket...five times...finally works...walk to gig in the....rain.
Gig mood affected?...possibly...if I had been the one driving! Getting to the arena before 7pm and getting a decent spot 20 minutes before Cheap Trick started ensured a good mood for what would be a good gig?...it's Def Leppard of course!, so it would be good. But just how good?.
Five minutes to go and the video countdown screens now lowered and Def Leppard begin...disguised as Depeche Mode...in a remix form. And how many people knew it was them?...probably a lot since it's now been released for a while!. It sounded good to hear this 'live' through the PA.
We can even...possibly...forgive them for replacing the 'Def Leppard Pale' advertising on the screens. But forgive them for not even having it on sale here?...perhaps not!.
Countdown Commencing....10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1....Zero...we have lift off!. Oops wrong song...and the first song doesn't start just yet. The 'Hysteria' album intro sounds amazing and builds up the atmosphere nicely to the modified VIVA! Hysteria moment. Phil appears after the curtains...no - video screens rise up displaying the city name - NOTTINGHAM!. And you remember what is about to follow.
After one song it made the Royal Albert Hall show look tame by comparison. And that show was very good indeed!. Is it possible to improve on something by 1000 percent?. With Def Leppard's show in 2018 apparently it is!.
Having seen what happened on the first leg of this Hysteria & More tour I was not expecting to be this impressed. Even whilst avoiding watching any full videos or with any sound on, from the Hysteria songs, it seemed to be the same VIVA! Hysteria visuals from 2013 and now used in the 2018 show.
Now on the UK leg they have new visuals for every song apart from Love And Affection and the encore. Something I hoped would happen when the tour was announced (along with an In the Round stage set up).
The new visuals and lighting made the show so much better than in 2015 and before that. As Phil began the intro to Women the concert really began and the best album this band have made (and in my opinion any band!) is now being played in front of you from start to finish. And I must say it's much better than staying up doing live updates from Las Vegas between 4 to 7 - f**king! - am - back in March/April 2013....(did that really happen?...).
The visuals and lighting were stunning and the band on fire right from the start. The tightest version of this song I've ever heard or witnessed live. All of the band looking happy and playing...AND, of course...singing brilliantly. If there's a common theme throughout this show then it's that. A flawless and brilliant performance from all of them for the full 90 or so minutes. Again not that they have not been brilliant in the past but now that are just...better.
The Def Leppard triangle in the center of the GIANT video screen behind Rick's kit revealed close ups of all of the band so you could see just how well they were playing and how much they were enjoying it. So we were we!.
"We're fighting for the Gods Of War" - (backwards)
Well that can only mean one thing. The ALBUM VERSION of 'Rocket'. No not the single version but the full version from the album. As great as it was to hear 'Women' live again this was the start of the HYSTERIA 'firsts'. The first time to witness this song as it was on the original album and at VIVA! Hysteria. Screen visuals still based on the 2013 show but updated in 2018 and now extended throughout this longer version. For any Saturday Night TV addicts you now had about 100 screens to choose from. Soon to focus on one giant one. Now the screen visuals really kicked in and added to the spectacle. As always it's one thing to see this stuff (and try to avoid seeing too much of it) on YouTube. It's another thing to see it up close.
"Crazy people!" - said the guy wearing the red velvet jacket and waving his mic stand sporting a new Hysteria album scarf. Nice touch!. So this song isn't exactly all new but the best part to hear was the full mid section. The album version has always been the best one. The old extended live version got a bit old with the same guitar duel. This mid section is so much better with the added vocals from the studio version played alongside Sav and Vivian's (and Joe's) live vocals.
"We're gonna fly!" - "Countdown commencing, fire one". Etc.
Up next something much more familiar to everyone here. Their first UK Top Ten hit and first UK hit single...ever. 31 years ago!. The first song I heard by the band and now being played as part of the entire album and being played in a full arena. Not bad. The visuals for this song may not be entirely 'new' but they still look great and have been updated in 2018. Once more a great version of a great song being played brilliantly. And now for what I thought might be the highlight of the show but actually wasn't.
"If you've got love in your sights. Watch out, Love Bites."
Says either Joe or Mutt Lange from the studio version. And it's lasers time. Take lots of photos of lasers because lasers look cool?. Or just enjoy the song and looking at them?. A bit of both. The song kicks in and the lasers start up. They do create a great atmosphere but it's really the music that does that. They just enhance it more.
The best part about the lasers is how they change at certain parts of the song. Not sure how they looked from the sides but from the middle they look very cool indeed rising up into the venue roof. As for the song well again another great version with everyone playing and singing so well. So far no breaks and no talking. Just playing song after song.
POUR SOME SUGAR ON ME
"Step Inside, Walk This Way"
And before you know it they're playing that obscure B-Side about sugar. Kind of strange to have it as song #5 in the show but since it's song #5 on the album... we were all expecting it to be played.
Another great version and more lasers. No Steve Clark with his Gibson Les Paul held up or resting on his knee playing the riff with his leg in the air, but still it gave flashbacks to the original 'Hysteria' tour. Or in my case watching 'In the Round-In Your Face' and 'Historia'...almost every weekend until 'Adrenalize' came out.
The over loud bass that first showed up in 2015 at Lep shows was noticeable again but not a problem for me because I made sure it wouldn't be an issue. Once again it made the show sound amazing. No 'noise', no ear ringing just pure sound and the bass beating through your body as well. LOUD but not annoying.
Joe Elliott - "Good evening Nottingham!. How we doin'?. Welcome, welcome everybody. Where would you rather be on a Saturday night than right here, right now?. Welcome to Hysteria 2018. Which basically means, if you get your calculators out, that this album which was released on the 3rd of August 1987 is 31 years old this year. Count 'em 31. Most of ya I guess were alive when it was released, but I know that some of you weren't. Which is a testament to the record. And this is something we've wanted to do since we did this is Las Vegas in 2013. It's taken us five years but we've finally brought it home which is where it belongs."
"We're doing you this album from start to finish. Every f**king note of it. Right. And it's a real pleasure to be able to do it for ya and that 31 years has passed since we put this record out. In anybody's lifetime there's a lot of shit happens right. Lot of stuff goes off. But this band, these five people on this stage tonight. We have been together for 26 of those 31 years. Which basically brings me to the fact that I am introducing you to the new boy. Ha ha, All the way from Belfast in Northern Ireland make some noise for Mr. Vivian Campbell!."
Five songs in and now a singer appears and he says...what you can see above this. Yes 31 years since this album was released. Hard to believe but for me this show is not really nostalgia. It's almost like this is a new album and they have as much enthusiasm for it as they did with the self-titled one from 2015. Only one moment (coming up before the next song) and the entire title track can be seen as nostalgia. If they wanted to keep playing this whole album in their shows from now on I'm all for it!. If it was the X...or TEN album...not so much!. Sorry X/Ten!.
No visuals for this one just live images of the band playing away and still sounding amazing. I would have to agree with some of the people who saw the Dublin show that it's one of, if not 'the' best I've seen them. 41 years after they formed and 26 years since this lineup have been together, that's pretty impressive. Maybe they'll get put into some kind of Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame type thing soon?.
Well they might have had a short break before this song but now it was time for Side Two. For anyone who actually bought the original vinyl album in August 1987. I did and it still has a sticker inside (from Woolworths) which says '18th August'. So for me it's already had two anniversaries this year.
GODS OF WAR
"We're fighting for the Gods Of War." - Stephen Maynard Clark April 23rd 1960 - January 8th 1991
Side two time but first the sound of a certain intro from a certain song starts and an image appears on the screen. And the arena goes quiet and takes in the sight of Steve Clark sitting on the 1988 stage with his Gibson Les Paul (18 string razor). A very emotional and awesome moment for any Lep fan to see especially if you were a fan in the 1987-1989 era or before. It almost felt wrong to be taking photos but it was up there quite a while so everyone had a chance to take it in and respect was paid to the musician who contributed so much to the original album (and tour!). And if you are going to do a tribute to him then this is the song to do it before.
"And this is my very good friend Mr. Stephen Clark on the electric guitar!"
But that was not quite it for Steve as the Denver (Colorado!) footage followed and this was done in a much better way than it was in 2013. A great tribute to Steve and the perfect way to start the section of the show I was most looking forward to. One song not witnessed since June 1992 and four never heard live before. In recent Def Leppard concert terms hearing this many 'new' songs in almost unheard of. So it was time to savour Side Two of HYSTERIA. And I did with great pleasure!.
We won't get to see Steve Clark live with the band again so to see him up there on stage as the star of the show if only for a few minutes was a great thing.
Rick gets back on his drums and behind him there he is in 1988 watching Steve play his solo. And like 1988, Rick Savage (the artist formerly known as #PinkSav...) appears on the ramp and starts the intro alongside Rick. The rest of the band come back and up on the video screen another giant TV appears. And who is on screen?...er...Hitler and some Nazi friends...Just the start of lots of "war" footage and thankfully not a dodgy Joe Elliott T-Shirt.
The first of the "forgotten five" songs from the album. Forgotten after 1988 until 2013 and again but now they are back in 2018. This song and it's new visuals sounded and looked stunning. A song to showcase the sound of the band (behind Joe) and it can be described like this - simply magnificent!.
Nice to experience again one of the band's truly "epic album track / guitar based" songs live. It has never sounded so good. The outro with all of the sound effects from the album is as sensational as it was in 1992 when they played it In the Round at Earls Court Arena. Still no show will be quite the same as that but this was pretty close!. Including a brilliantly played and faithful to the original guitar solo by Vivian. Does he really have cancer?...you wouldn't think so!. It's a tribute to him that you almost forget about it and of course to the treatment he's taking which obviously works quite well!.
DON'T SHOOT SHOTGUN
Yes they actually played this song...one you thought you'd never hear or see live again until 2013 and then that would be it. Until 2018 and then you get to see and hear it LIVE yourself and it's...pretty awesome. Started no sooner than 'Gods Of War' had ended and the excellent playing and sound quality continued.
Two meaty guitar based tracks in a row and a third coming up very soon. It's just so much better than 'Two Steps Behind' followed by 'Rock On'...isn't it?.
It's great to watch Vivian and Phil playing these songs when you know they enjoy these type of songs more. And so do we!. Another flawless and seemingly effortless guitar solo by Vivian whose playing is exceptional. He really is quite good. It must be extra practice or being in three different bands at once or perhaps he's just always been that good.
The giant TV returns and the Nazis are gone. Hoorah!. Now replaced by images of well...riots!. The intro starts and then Rick's pounding drums kick in but the venue did not get shaken to the ground. Another song that once seemed so unlikely ever to be played again and now it's been played almost 30 times since it was reintroduced in 2013 in Las Vegas.
Sounding just as good as the previous song and time for the 'other five songs' to get showcased. Not the other five for me as I tend to play them more than the "hits". But actually seeing/hearing them live is another thing...a great thing!. Great solo by Phil and almost as impressive as him not tripping up after some joker tied his legs tartan trouser legs together...tee hee hee.
"Right Nottingham! Can we see some hands in the air. Come on, all the way to the back."
And we did...all the way to the back. I didn't turn to look but I'm sure they did!. And, sadly, we were getting closer to the end of the album but there would still be two more 'rare' songs to go. Not before a very familiar song which was up next.
Rick Savage - "It's one of those songs I never kinda get tired of listening to. Never ever get tired of playing. For me it's the highlight of the night when we play the song. There's just a special bond between the audience and the band. Particularly on that song. I don't really know why. It's just that we all sort of come together and...it's just one of those songs that just like the band love, the crowd love as a mutual appreciation."
As said in one of the 'Stories So Far' videos (by Crossfire Eagles number one fan) and a great description of the atmosphere this song creates live both musically and by way of the screens visuals mixing old photos and footage. Mostly Hysteria with some others thrown in and then more recent promo shots. Major nostalgia time and memories of actually being a fan in that era when you listened to this album on vinyl with no distractions. Studying the front sleeve by Andie Airfix, who created the amazing album artwork and sadly died in early October aged 72. And reading the liner notes and going on to collect the singles. The good old days.
The song sounded just as great as it always has, but also much like the others, tonight it sounded even better.
OK two more rare ones to follow.
"Are you excitable?"
The album intro signalled the penultimate Hysteria album track. Newly released as a seven inch for the (quite expensive) 'Hysteria The Singles' box set. And a song that was almost used as track 8 on the album with Don't Shoot Shotgun as track 11 before they swapped them around (Random trivia).
The song kicks in as the DEF LEPAPRD logo appears on the screen and a few lasers fire up. And speaking of FIRE it was all starting to get a bit HOT. Something a certain singer would make note of...but not yet.
"Nottingham! Stand Up, Say yeah!."
Back to live visuals on the screens and was this song worth the wait to hear it LIVE?. Um...yes!. And like all the others it sounded awesome. One of the cooler moments of VIVA! Hysteria, especially the middle section and it was again tonight. Another song to add to the list of overall songs heard at now....16 or 17 shows attended. Maybe I'll look up the exact number on a helpful Tour History site...LOL.
Joe Elliott - "Thank you. Thank you very much Nottingham, OK let's take this thing home!."
Love And Affection
No, thank you...and no we don't wanna go home yet!. And it's a good job we didn't 'cause they played one more from the album. Track 12 in fact. (Don't Give Me) 'Love And Affection'. Another 'new' seven inch single in the box set. But this is a live version and not the studio song on vinyl and how great did it sound?. Very great indeed.
Cue lots of yellow lights and lots of...light bulbs. The music and vocals blended together to make a nice ending to the HYSTERIA section of the night. The guitar work from Vivian and Phil in the middle of this song (and actually throughout the entire show!) was particularly great.
Joe Elliott - "Nottingham!. We give you, and you!, and you!, and you!, and you!, Hysteria 2018."
And Hysteria 2018 was an amazing thing to witness 31 years after its release and the first album I heard from the band. It was, as a certain singer would say, a real pleasure to enjoy LIVE and from START to FINISH. What would follow?...or to be more precise. What would song #13 be tonight?. But first other matters.
Happy Birthday Phil Collen
Joe Elliott - "Alright?. Enjoy that?. It's, as I said earlier, it's something that we've wanted to do for a long time. It's been beautiful to be able to bring it here on what is Phil's birthday. You know what you gotta do right?. You ready?...Happy Birthday to you..."
Singing Happy Birthday to Phil ten years after doing it at a Manraze show. Hard to believe its been that long. And that Manraze disappeared off the face of the earth and now have a long overdue 'Greatest Hits' album that's been delayed almost as long as it took Hysteria to be recorded. So in another ten years Phil will be...71. Hmm...best not to think that far ahead. Let's just enjoy this how and what will follow.
Let It Go
Joe Elliott - "So that's Hysteria from start to finish. What we'd like to do for you right now is a bunch of songs that came out before 1987 and a bunch if songs that came out after 1987. And seeing as it's Phil's birthday he gets to choose which one we start with so Ladies and Gentleman the wonder from Walthamstow Mr. Phil Collen!."
What next?. Make Love Like A Man?. No...'Let It Go' - thanks Phil!.
Perhaps MLLAM is not that bad...but every other one of the 'Song #13 rotating spot' songs is so much better!. I had faith after seeing what had gone before but then they played 'Wasted' again in London...so who knew what they would do here. Fortunately they decided to play this one for only the fourth time on the main tour and fifth overall in 2018.
A bit of (Saturday Night) High 'N' Dry!. The song rocks and the ending by Rick Allen is always amazing to see and hear live. Kind of making up for them not playing Switch 625 again which is always one of the show highlights. As for High 'n' Dry the ALBUM I was sort of hoping Side One might get played at this Saturday night show but that was before the changes made in Hawaii which seemed odd to begin with but now make perfect sense. This is not VIVA! Hysteria in a smaller venue it's HYSTERIA 2018 in an arena. And Side One was already witnessed in Cambridge 2003 along with 1,700 plus others for the only time ever in the UK.
And in terms of the "Song #13" spot. This is something I hope they keep when they to back to a "regular" show. A spontaneous moment where the crowd are not exactly sure what will be played. Which might have been appreciated during the shows I'm about to mention...
When Love & Hate Collide
The now played 60 times in the USA and Canada 'When Love & Hate Collide' sounded like it always does - very good indeed!. The new screen visuals worked well for this song. New-ish, they were used in March.
This song is the bands biggest UK hit single and was as well received as ever. The music and vocals were still excellent but now just three more songs left.
Let's Get Rocked
"Do ya wanna get rocked?."
Yes we did and we were. The very hot venue was rocked once more and was about get rocked again (and again).
Like the previous song also a Number Two single in the UK. So like the last song and 'Animal' will always be played at any UK show and so they should. The usual issue with a regular show is not what they play but that you'd like more than 16 or 17 songs. 20 perhaps like they got at night #1 in Honolulu. .
Joe Elliott - Pre-Rock Of Ages Speech
"Thank you. Thank you very much. I don't know whether it's global warming or what but it's December right?. It's f**king England in December and this is one...we've done gigs in Texas that weren't as hot as this one is right. I don't know whether it's body temperature or atmosphere. Or somebody forgot to turn the air con on but f**k it's hot out there. It's hot up here. It makes for a good gig though right?. All that sweat and shit. Can't see a thing but it doesn't matter."
"By the way looking good out there. Look at it. Look at this place. Look at yourselves a round of applause because that's very important. And not only do you look good. This is gig five I think. It's one of the loudest things that we've done so far. The noise coming from out there this way is un-f**king-believable. Thank you so much."
"Hey but however do you think. Do you think you could make maybe just a little bit more?. Just a little bit more?. For the boy at the back. Stand up Rick Allen!. And as ever he will introduce this one for ya."
ROCK OF AGES
Gunter Glieben GlouTen Globen
A little strange to have an essentially five song encore section. Ending of course with the now very familiar one two of 'Rock Of Ages' and 'Photograph'.
'Rock Of Ages' follows the always great moment when our favourite drummer, regardless of how many limbs he does or doesn't have!, gets recognised by the band and the crowd. And as pointed out by my concert companion, he always looks HAPPY on stage. Something we who have seen many gigs have noticed but it also gets noticed by those who haven't. The celebratory mood of the show continues even though we know it will soon be over.
Now started on the Thrust Stage by the (not Terror Twins) but 'guitar duo' of Campbell and Collen. Featuring the playful tapping of Phil's guitar strings by Vivian and Phil's little guitar neck camera on the big screen which is a nice touch.
If there were two moments for nostalgia earlier on then this is another with all of the old photos scrolling across the screen. From all eras but still loads from the 1986 to 1988 HYSTERIA era giving us a final taste of that time as we celebrate 31 years since the album came out.
As said earlier quite possibly the best performance I've seen them play and I was at both London shows in 2003 (and many other great ones) but this show is something very special indeed.
Joe Elliott - End Of Show Speech
"Nottingham!. Thanks for having us. Thanks for coming. Thanks for being here. We'll catch you next time. Thank you. Goodnight!."
"Let's do this again one day. Till next time Nottingham. And there will be a next time!. Till then do us a big favour yeah. Don't forget us and we won't forget you. Goodnight!."
Not quite but instead of playing 'Kings Of The World' (again) they now played a certain Christmas song. 'We All Need Christmas' but like everyone else...we all needed to slowly make our way to the exit. And then another epic adventure began...trying to find the car park...but thankfully the drive back home did not involve diversions and a dodgy Sat Nav voice.
The 'Hysteria' section was definitely the best part of the show.
The visuals and production of this new 'Hysteria & More' or 'Hysteria 2018' show blow away what they did in Las Vegas Which wasn't exactly crap! but this has taken it up to a MUCH higher level. Quite probably why they filmed it for a new live release in 2019 (Cinema.DVD/CD/Blu-ray...etc).
Time to throw away the VIVA! Hysteria package (joke!) and get ready to buy the new one because for me this is probably the best show they have put on from a production point of view.
The last Def Leppard show for another 3 years?...we'll see...Until next time. And there WILL be a next time!.
Buy 'Hysteria The Singles' Online
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