Overall Score: 6/10 Sound: 6/10 Video: 5/10 Setlist: 7/10 Pros: Setlist relied heavily on the classics Cons: New material | Sterile videography style
It’s hard to know where to start with Def Leppard nowadays. They were one of the staples of the 80’s rock scene, and I think we can all agree that their classic material is hard to fuck with. They are also one of the bands that have headlined Download multiple times, which is nothing to sniff at. But herein lies the problem, they have kind of fallen off a lot in the last decade or so. They could quite easily be a band that could slip into nostalgia territory and just do those kinds of tours, (and sometimes they are) but for better or worse the band has continued plugging away with new material and it just shows quite obviously that they don’t have it in them anymore.
So to their new release, And There Will Be A Next Time…Live from Detroit. This new Live Album/DVD/Blu-Ray (depending on your preferred format of choice) comes along and is tremendously underwhelming. To start with, it feels like one of those ‘One Night With….’ specials that ITV used to love running on a Saturday night, it feels like it was filmed in a studio, it’s super glossy, lifeless and feels like it was filmed in front of a studio audience, who apparently judging by their lack of enthusiasm for the most part seem to not know who they are watching.
So already it feels super distracting and somewhat off-putting as you can’t seem to gauge anything of what the live experience actually feels like in the room. As for the performance itself, it’s serviceable, Def Leppard has never been the greatest live band in the world, but they are still good at what they do. Joe Elliot’s voice has worn a little and has a roughness to it that has come over time, so he has a little trouble hitting some of the high notes but nothing too terrible. The real issue comes when the new material is rolled out and you can see how badly it pales in comparison to the classic material. They play 3 tracks from the most recent self-titled album and they may as well be background noise as they just go over my head and I’m not convinced I could tell any of them apart if you put a gun to my head.
The band really shines when they hit all the songs you want to hear, ‘Animal’, ‘Let’s Get Rocked’, ‘Photograph’ and ‘Bringing on the Heartbreak’ being personal favourites and it’s in these moments that the band and seemingly the audience come alive and you can see some of the old magic still at play. This release really is a game of two halves, a setlist that is predominantly made of classics and a band that still has the will to put on a show for the fans, that ultimately amounts to clumsily shot, soulless product that doesn’t really warrant a purchase especially coming so soon after their far superior Live Hysteria set from a couple of years back.
Def Leppard’s And There Will Be A Next Time…Live from Detroit is out now. Pick it up from Amazon right here.