Riding the crest of the wave of positivity that 2015’s self-titled album (earMUSIC) garnered, Def Leppard’s subsequent tour was equally well received. To celebrate and mark the occasion And There Will Be A Next Time (Eagle Rock Entertainment) was conceived – a double CD live album accompanied by a DVD of the same performance.Recorded at the DTE Energy Arena in Detroit, a covered venue with an open-air back, in keeping with their approach of being more stripped down these days (the layers of pre-recorded backing tracks of yesteryear are long gone), this is a straightforward live shooting of the show, with a simple stage and large backing video screens being the predominant visuals.
With their newest album a surprising return to creative form, the Leps have bolstered their cannons with a credible and strong batch of new songs, the best of which are able to slot in seamlessly and hold their own in a long-established best of set, a feat anything they released since their legendary pairing of Pyromania (Vertigo/Mercury) and Hysteria (Phonogram/Mercury) had been unable to achieve.
Of the 2 formats, the DVD is of more interest, and while And There Will Be A Next Time doesn’t quite live up to its predecessor – the ESSENTIAL underrated and oft-overlooked gem when it comes to the discussion of great live videos Live In The Round In Your Face – nonetheless it’s still a worthwhile watch. Not only do they play the track-listing game perfectly (the best songs from the newie, and the rest of the set being hit after hit after motherfucking hit – at times it feels like a 90minute long encore), the performance levels are very strong, particularly from the absolutely ripped Phil Collen.
Sheffield’s finest (sorry Bring Me The Horizon) know what the fans want, and the set is heavy on those two beasts from the 80’s broken up with a handful of tracks from Def Leppard and the odd jam and dalliance (that said, 1992’s ‘Let’s Get Rocked’ probably inspires the best crowd response). Distinctive vocalist Joe Elliott doesn’t rely on much stage patter, preferring instead to let the songs speak for themselves, and while he occasionally struggles on some of the high-notes, when a classic such as ‘Hysteria’ or ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ hits, and Elliott brings it home with class and style, the years aren’t just rolled back, you are simply watching an exceptional group playing exceptional rock songs.