With a film from its first Las Vegas residency headed to theaters in October, Def Leppard is eyeballing a return to Sin City.
The British rockers played an 11-date “Viva! Hysteria” run during late March and early April at the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel, playing 1987`s 12-times platinum “Hysteria” in its entirety and filling out the show with a selection of other songs from the group’s career that included a healthy dose of rarities. The film, “Def Leppard Viva! Hysteria Concert,” will be shown Oct. 2 and 8 at 8 p.m. at theaters nationwide — check out Def Leppard’s website for more details; locations and other details can be found at www.FathomEvents.com.
“It was fantastic for many reasons,” Def Leppard frontman Joe Elliott tells Billboard about the Vegas experience. “You expand your horizons with whatever situations get thrown at you. We started out at a little school in Sheffield (England) and then the next thing you know we’re doing Vegas. It was never on the agenda back then, so you’re just making things up as you go along because things just keep appearing for you to do that are appealing ’cause they get you off the treadmill, you know?” Elliott adds that the group “was always going to document” the Hard Rock residency in some way before AEG Live and National CineMedia came into the mix. “We were like, ‘Well, that ties in with exactly what we want to do,” Elliott recalls. “It just kind of fell into place.”
Elliott says the theatrical showings will be followed by a companion DVD, Blu-ray and live album that he says will chronicle “the whole shebang” — not only the “Hysteria” set but all of the other songs Def Leppard played over the two nights the show was filmed. “The first song we played in Vegas was ‘Good Morning Freedom,’ which was a B-side in America. We haven’t played it live in 33 years,” Elliott says. Other goodies include the entire first side of 1981’s “High ‘n’ Dry” album as well as selections from the group’s 1980 debut “Rock Brigade. “If we were gonna play the same songs in the ‘Hysteria’ set in the same order for 11 nights, we wanted to dig deep for the rest of the show,” Elliott explains. The group also filmed a documentary during its stay, but Elliott says he’s not sure yet what will become of that.
Meanwhile, the frontman says he’s confident Las Vegas will be seeing Def Leppard again in the not too distant future. “They’ve already asked,” Elliott reports. “We haven’t said yea or nay yet, but under the right circumstances…Obviously we’ll do a different album. The thing about ‘Hysteria’ is it’s 65 minutes long, so it really is a show. With the others…you can’t just play for 43 minutes and expect people to turn up, so we might have to do two albums next time or something. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
The group has done limited touring during the rest of the year while guitarist Vivian Campbell is being treated for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Elliott, whose mother is a cancer survivor, says Campbell is having good days and bad days but there’s a great deal of optimism for his eventual recovery. “With an 80% cure rate, it’s looking good, you know?” Elliott notes.
“There seems to be a pretty positive prognosis for recovery on this, and when we know for sure that everybody’s fine and back to fitness, then the idea of going back to Vegas will become more of a reality.”
During the down time, Elliott says the band members are working on new material for the group’s next album, which will be its first since “Songs From the Sparkle Lounge” in 2008, though there’s no specific timetable for that.