Why Def Leppard Did Things ‘Completely Different’ on New Live Set
Phil Collen says he's glad Def Leppard got a chance to experiment with more theatrical shows during the band's recent Las Vegas residency.
The new London to Vegas set features audio and video from two different stage shows: One was shot during the band's 2019 Sin City residency, while the other stems from a 2018 London show where they performed 1987's Hysteria album in full.
The intimate audiences at the Vegas shows gave Def Leppard the freedom to explore the less famous corners of their catalog. That included starting concerts with the slow-burning Pyromania album track "Die Hard the Hunter."
"We just felt it was kind of cool at that point, for the Vegas shows, to do it completely different, with a song we'd never start with, that we probably haven't played for 30 years or something like that," Collen tells UCR. "It was cool to star with a more theatrical thing and not your normal 'We're gonna rock you out!' track straightaway, to create some tension instead. It was weird, because we don't usually do that, but I loved that, I've got to say."
Collen says he's been drawn to the theatrical side of music since he was a young fan. "You'd see David Bowie, and even stuff like Led Zeppelin, and there was a mystique about it," he notes. "Just growing up with the glam rock era, there was a sense of theatrics. If you've ever seen Kiss, it's what they do. It's really good to combine all those elements, because we're still really big fans. That stuff is really impressive - an actual show as opposed to a bunch of guys just getting out there [and performing], which is great if you're a punk band. There's a time and a place for it."
Def Leppard also took advantage of the opportunity to shake up their set lists. "One of the things you constantly hear is, 'Oh, how come you guys never play deep cuts?'" Collen says. "If you've ever been to a Rolling Stones show, as soon as they play a new song, everyone just leaves and goes to the bar. You have to please your base, you have to please the people that are coming to see you. You can't say, 'Oh, we're gonna drop "Photograph" tonight or "Hysteria,"' because everyone will get bummed out.
"Vegas was great for that, especially the last couple of nights - we played two-, two-and-a-half-hour sets and put some deep cuts in there. It's great for us as well."
Watch Def Leppard Perform 'Billy's Got a Gun' From 'London to Vegas'