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Celebrating the 25th anniversary of "Hysteria" with Def Leppard

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Def Leppard-"Viva! Hysteria"

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Viva! Hysteria is a double live CD and DVD from the formative British rock act Def Leppard, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the band's Hysteria album from 1987 in grand Vegas fashion.

Indeed, the material here is taken from the band's eleven night stay at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, during which Def Leppard played Hysteria live in its entirety, while also saving room for a number of other stone cold 80s classics, including "Rock of Ages and "Photograph."

What's most intriguing about this set of shows, however, is the fact that Def Leppard served as their own opening act for these nights, utilizing the fictitious name of "Ded Flatbird"-a riff on the common mispronunciation of their name during the early days-to play a blistering set of early Lep numbers and obscure fan favorites. This attention placed to the band's blower beginnings as one of Britain's premier hard rock/heavy metal acts still sounds fantastic many years later, as selections from Leppard's fantastic Pyromania, High 'Dry and On Through the Night albums prove quite timeless in their honest aggression and brilliant melodic nature.

Whether it's the one-two punch of "Let It Go" and "Another Hit and Run," the riff attack of "Wasted " and "Mirror Mirror" or the razor sharp hooks of "Stagefright," the Ded Flatbird sets certainly please diehard older fans, yet it's also great to hear Hysteria in its entirety, as well, due primarily to the wealth of non-single deep tracks which populate this million selling follow-up to the band's breakout Pyromania.

"Gods of War," "Excitable" and "Run Riot" sit nicely against the album's super singles "Love Bites," "Rocket" and "Animal," even if the execrable "Pour Some Sugar on Me" unfortunately needs to make its presence known mid-way through the set. Still, Viva! Hysteria fires on all cylinders most of the time, especially when it comes to the Ded Flatbird sets...even if such odd songs choices as "Slang" and "Undefeated" seem more than a bit out of place compared to the heavy New Wave of British Heavy Metal assault of "Good Morning Freedom" or the killer instrumental jam "Switch 625."

As an added bonus, Def Leppard are planning on bringing the Viva! Hysteria experience to select cinemas across the country, with dates to be announced on the band's official website and Viva Hysteria.com. In the meantime, Viva! Hysteria is a great way for fans both young and old to experience one of Britain's most influential rock acts in totally classic form. Recommended.

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