Let’s Get Rocked

REVIEW: Def Leppard – Live at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert (1992)

Part Fourteen of the Def Leppard Review Series

DEF LEPPARD – A Concert For Life – Tribute to Freddie Mercury (Wembley Stadium, 20 April 1992)

Metallica had come and blown the crowd of 72,000 away.  Extreme impressed the skeptics with a Queen medley.   Live broadcast to 50 countries, there was no pressure at all on Def Leppard!  The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert was only the biggest show of 1992.  And they had a new member to show off.

The band had given their new guitarist an easy warm up at a club gig at home in Ireland.  But his first high profile show would be the biggest imaginable.  Without an introduction, out walked former Sweet Savage / Dio / Whitesnake / Riverdogs / Shadow King guitarist Vivian Campbell!

What a choice!  There he was with his new band, completely confident and nailing “Animal”.  In his Union Jack jeans, Joe Elliott bounced on the massive stage, working the crowd without missing a note.  After a brief pause, he then asked the throbbing mass of people, “Do you wanna get rocked?”

It was the first major live outing of a brand new Def Leppard hit.  Hamming for the camera, Vivian ably handles the backing vocals, adding more depth to the live Leppard sound.  The late Steve Clark didn’t sing as many backing vocals, and Viv was a natural.  The crowd ate it up, fists in the air and digging the new tune.  One of the coolest moments is the solo, in which Phil Collen’s picking hand turns into a blur.

One more tune.  And then an even bigger moment:  Brian May himself joined Def Leppard for a cover of Queen’s “Now I’m Here”!  (This track was later included on the 2 CD Adrenalize deluxe edition.)  Of course we all awaited the guitar solo.  Viv went first (introduced by Joe for the first time), and Phil took the second solo.  They really made ’em wait for Brian May!  It was, of course, not May’s first time with Def Leppard.

Even bigger things were in store for the Wembley Crowd as day turned to night.  Queen emerged, playing a long set of classics with a series of incredible guest singers.  And Joe got to open their set, with Slash on guest guitar.  With one of his very favourite bands, Joe got to sing “Tie Your Mother Down”.  And nailed it.

The big question for Leppard fans was “who could possibly replace Steve Clark?”  In Vivian Campbell, they selected a guy who could play with both feel and shred, as well as write songs and sing.  The personalities worked.  The ironic thing is, post-Dio, Vivian had been seen as something of a “hired gun” guitar player.  Would he last in Def Leppard?  In his early interviews, he insisted that he was always looking for a band situation that he could stay in for life.  It turns out that Def Leppard was that band.

Club gig aside, the Freddie Mercury tribute concert was Vivian’s real trial by fire.  It was obvious the band had made the right choice.  Nobody could truly “replace” Steve Clark as the band’s in-house riffmaster.  Vivian helped Leppard evolve into the 1990s.  On with the tour!  Leppard might not have been the biggest rock band in the world anymore, but they rocked 72,000 people, plus millions more at home worldwide.  Not too shabby.

5/5 stars

MuchMusic broadcast the whole show, and then did a repeat performance of the entire thing at night.  It was then that I set my VCR and taped the entire broadcast, with Erica Ehm’s interviews with various bands, including Def Leppard.  Wembley were treated to Queen videos on massive screens in between bands, and those videos are also part of the broadcast.  MuchMusic’s feed was superior to MTV.  I was in Frankenmuth, Michigan mere days later at the end of final exams, watching MTV.  Our coverage was better.  The complete show has never been officially released in any format.

Previous:  

  1. The Early Years Disc One – On Through the Night 
  2. The Early Years Disc Two – High N’ Dry
  3. The Early Years Disc Three – When The Walls Came Tumbling Down: Live at the New Theater Oxford – 1980
  4. The Early Years Disc Four – Too Many Jitterbugs – EP, singles & unreleased
  5. The Early Years Disc 5 – Raw – Early BBC Recordings 
  6. The Early Years 79-81 (Summary)
  7. Pyromania
  8. Pyromania Live – L.A. Forum, 11 September 1983
  9. Hysteria
  10. Soundtrack From the Video Historia – Record Store Tales
  11. In The Round In Your Face DVD
  12. “Let’s Get Rocked” – The Wait for Adrenalize – Record Store Tales
  13. Adrenalize

Next:

15.  Retro-Active

RE-REVIEW: Def Leppard – Adrenalize (1992)

Part Thirteen of the Def Leppard Review Series

Original review:  Adrenalize deluxe (2009)
Singles reviews:
“Let’s Get Rocked” (1992)
“Make Love Like a Man” (1992)
Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad” (1992)
“Heaven Is” (1993)
“Tonight” (1993)

DEF LEPPARD – Adrenalize (CD Collection Volume 2 Disc 1) (Originally 1992, 2019 remaster)

Here they were again!  A #1 album.  Adrenalize eventually sold three million, no small feat during the peak of the grunge era.  A step down from Hysteria, but a success.  And after yet another devastating loss.  Choosing to record without replacing the fallen Steven Maynard Clark, it was up to Phil Collen to handle all the guitar work.  He rose to the occasion and the quartet emerged from their years of toil with an album they were satisfied with.  And they figured out how to do it on their own, without Mutt Lange tending to every detail.

It all begins with Joe asking the musical question:  “Do you wanna get rocked?”

“Let’s Get Rocked” didn’t break any new ground nor did it need to.  It served it purpose of putting Leppard back on the charts.  But it also highlighted something missing.  Where were the riffs?  “Let’s Get Rocked” is decidedly unriffy.  It relies on a bass groove and guitar pyrotechnics, but the razor sharp riffs of the past are seemingly missing.  That didn’t stop it from hitting #1 in the US during a year when bands like Def Leppard were getting dumped by their labels.

One of the most poppy of the new tunes, “Heaven Is”, hits the second slot running.  A little of that Steve Clark is present, but this one’s main feature is the melodically constructed vocal melodies.  The thick chorus harmony proved that Leppard had learned Mutt’s tricks.  Lange did help co-write most of the tracks, but his meticulous studio touch was no longer needed in a producer’s capacity.  This time, Leppard produced with Mike Shipley.  Mutt was “executive producer”, which pretty much means “quality control”.

The first stumble of album the was second single “Make Love Like a Man”.  This cowbell-inflected mid-tempo rocker would have been B-side material five years earlier.  Listen carefully for Phil Collen’s “Cockney rhyming rap”.

Fortunately side one is redeemed by one of Def Leppard’s greatest ballads.  Demoed during the Hysteria sessions, “Tonight” was the darkest Leppard ballad to date.  The standout Rick “Sav” Savage guitar structure is the foundation for a damn special song.  There’s Joe utilising his screaming voice a little bit on the chorus.  It used to be his trademark, but here reserved only for moments of great expression.

The first side concludes on the Steve Clark tribute “White Lightning”.  The brilliant Collen intro is designed to emulate Clark’s trademark guitar drones on “Gods of War”.  Tesla tried a similar trick on their own tribute called “Song and Emotion”.  In this track, Elliott warns of the dangers of addiction.  “You wanna dance with the devil, you gotta play his game.”  Clark’s demons are starkly laid out in the words, and the seven dramatic minutes of music are as epic as any of Leppard’s most ambitious moments.

Remarkably, side two opened on another top tier Leppard track.  “Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion)” boasted an odd title, and some of Leppard’s catchiest music.  Call it a ballad?  Sure, why not.  It’s somewhere in between ballad and rock tune, but every minute that it’s playing is a minute of the best of Def Leppard.  Something about its pulse; its uplifting chime.  The undeniable chorus is the icing.

Next is the ode to monogamy called “Personal Property”, not essential Leppard.  We do love the part when Joe threatens/screams, “You wanna stay healthy man? Take my advice! You better hit the road Jack, and don’t come back.”

A decent, but syrupy throwaway ballad with the overlong title “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad” is the weakest of the three here, but that didn’t stop it from being chosen as a single and going top 10 in Canada and the US.  It’s just nothing special given the quantity of superior ballads in the past (and future).  Following that is the most pop track of the batch, “I Wanna Touch U”, a bouncy good song if vastly removed from “Wasted” and “Ride in the Sun”.

The 10th and final track is the new version of the familiar “Tear It Down”.  This born rocker has been polished up and produced just right for album release.  Which do you prefer?  The final Adrenalize rendition, or the raw B-side from ’87?

Like Hysteria before, Adrenalize came complete with a number of important B-sides.  Perhaps the most crucial of these was a track that could have been a throwaway, but “Two Steps Behind” turned into Leppard’s first acoustic song.  This opened doors to entirely new worlds for the band.  We will take a closer look at these B-sides when we arrive at the appropriate discs in the CD Collection Volume 2 box set.

With an album completed, released, and on the charts, there was another challenge ahead.  Def Leppard were a two guitar band.  Phil Collen did admirably well, playing all the guitars on the album.  Live, they’d need someone both capable and dedicated.  What are the odds of finding the exact right match?

Adrenalize did what it had to do.  It kept the band alive and viable.  Hysteria was a period of exponential musical growth for Def Leppard.  If they couldn’t repeat that kind of experimental innovation this time out, they’d have to give it a shot next time.  And they would.

3/5 stars

 

Previous:  

  1. The Early Years Disc One – On Through the Night 
  2. The Early Years Disc Two – High N’ Dry
  3. The Early Years Disc Three – When The Walls Came Tumbling Down: Live at the New Theater Oxford – 1980
  4. The Early Years Disc Four – Too Many Jitterbugs – EP, singles & unreleased
  5. The Early Years Disc 5 – Raw – Early BBC Recordings 
  6. The Early Years 79-81 (Summary)
  7. Pyromania
  8. Pyromania Live – L.A. Forum, 11 September 1983
  9. Hysteria
  10. Soundtrack From the Video Historia – Record Store Tales
  11. In The Round In Your Face DVD
  12. “Let’s Get Rocked” – The Wait for Adrenalize – Record Store Tales

Next:

14.  Live at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert

 

#973: “Let’s Get Rocked” – The Wait for Adrenalize

Part Twelve of the Def Leppard Review Series

RECORD STORE TALES #973: “Let’s Get Rocked” – The Wait for Adrenalize

Before the internet, the best way to access your rock news in Canada was to buy magazines and watch the Pepsi Power Hour.  We had all the US magazines plus M.E.A.T and some of the best rock coverage with MuchMusic.  You’d be negligent in your rock and roll duties if you didn’t buy some magazines.

I remember buying one at the end of the 80s, the turn of the decade.  It might have been Metal Edge or something of a lower tier.  (You bought what was on the shelf when pickings were slim.)  But they had a column by a psychic who was making rock and roll predictions for the coming decade.  Stuff like “Will Jon and Richie break up?”  What interested me the most was what she predicted for Joe Elliott of Def Leppard.  The biggest rock band in the world, she claimed, would get only get bigger.  Joe’s next album would outsell Hysteria, and he would get involved with some important causes.

Was she confusing Joe for Bono?  Cool if true, but outselling Hysteria?  Hard to imagine.

A few things were known about the next album at the start of the new decade.  They’d be trying to produce it without “Mutt” Lange for one.  “Mutt will be involved,” said Joe, but in a different capacity.  The goal was to make a “quick” album — one year instead of several.  They had one song earmarked from a B-side called “Tear It Down”.  They also had some unfinished ideas left over from Hysteria such as the ballad “Tonight”.  As kids, we imagined an album less produced than Hysteria, but hopefully just as good.  I had actual dreams of anticipation at night, imagining the new album cover sitting there on the shelves.  Continuing with the “-ia” naming convention, the next album was said to be titled Dementia.  A title they dropped in favour of something less negative, when once again things went down the toilet.

Rick Allen’s car accident was extremely unfortunate, but what happened this time was tragic.  Steve Clark, always the band’s riff-master and shape-throwing classic rocker, was gone.

The guitarist had been suffering from his addictions, and this time a deadly mixture of prescription pills and alcohol was enough to end his life.  January 8 1991, “Steamin'” Steve Clark was no more.

The band didn’t know what to do but carry on.  Record the the album as a four-piece.  Dedicate it to Steve.  Don’t even think about replacements until it’s necessary.

And so the fans mourned, and waited.  As the band toiled away, now producing with Mike Shipley, we anxiously awaited news.  Any news.  A few song titled leaked out:  “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad”, “Stand Up”, “Tonight”, “Tear It Down”.

And then, over a year after Clark’s death, listening to the radio one snowy afternoon:  Q107 out of Toronto, announced:  new Def Leppard.  Coming right up.

My sister and I huddled around the radio.  We may have popped in a tape to record it; I can’t remember.  We didn’t need to since it was about to carpet-bomb the nation with radio and video play.  “Let’s Get Rocked” was here!

And it was…

OK.

It was OK.  It sounded like Def Leppard.  It didn’t push the boundaries in any fashion.  It was safe, straightforward, and simple.

“Well, that classical section with the violins was different,” I said trying to see the bright side.

“Yeah, but that was just one short part,” answered my more realistic sister.

Through the years of anticipating a new Def Leppard album, we imagined some growth.  Maybe not as drastic a transition as they made from Pyromania to Hysteria, but something at least.  The one-time biggest band in the world shouldn’t just spin their tires musically.

“You know what, I’m gonna let it go,” I said.  “They’ve had to deal with so much, and when Steve died, they just needed to get an album out.  They can grow on the next album.”  (And boy did they!)

With that attitude, I counted the days until I would trek to the mall and finally get the new Def Leppard in my hands.  Now with the title Adrenalize, and with “Let’s Get Rocked” climbing up the charts, it was time for Leppard’s return.  A long time coming, if not the way it was planned!

 

Previous:  

  1. The Early Years Disc One – On Through the Night 
  2. The Early Years Disc Two – High N’ Dry
  3. The Early Years Disc Three – When The Walls Came Tumbling Down: Live at the New Theater Oxford – 1980
  4. The Early Years Disc Four – Too Many Jitterbugs – EP, singles & unreleased
  5. The Early Years Disc 5 – Raw – Early BBC Recordings 
  6. The Early Years 79-81 (Summary)
  7. Pyromania
  8. Pyromania Live – L.A. Forum, 11 September 1983
  9. Hysteria
  10. Soundtrack From the Video Historia – Record Store Tales
  11. In The Round In Your Face DVD

Next:

13:  Adrenalize

REVIEW: Def Leppard – Los Angeles 1992 (bootleg)

Gifted to me by the notorious Aaron of the KMA!

DEF LEPPARD – Los Angeles 1992 (Red Line bootleg CD)

It’s the Seven Day Weekend tour!  Def Leppard brought back the “in the round” stage concept from their previous tour and played a set of hits with a few deeper cuts.  This audience recorded bootleg captured the Los Angeles date permanently.

Wasting no time, it’s straight into the first single “Let’s Get Rocked”.  I have never particularly felt this song was as strong as past efforts, but Def Leppard had overcome such tragedy.  I was willing to forgive them for painting by numbers a bit with the new songs.  One thing apparent on a bootleg with no post-production sweetening:  Def Leppard’s vocals are 100% live.

Right into something better, it’s “Tear It Down”, better because it’s originally a B-side from the inspired Hysteria sessions.  Speaking of Hysteria, onto “Women”!  You can hear that new guitarist Vivian Campbell fit right in, seamlessly.  A couple seriously great tunes follow — “Too Late for Love” from Pyromania and Hysteria‘s title track.  Two of Leppard’s most accomplished singles.  Slower, ballady, and not at all weak.  “Hysteria” live begins just a little differently, but quickly becomes familiar and authentic.

I never cared for “Make Love Like a Man”, but it’s a temporary speedbump before a deeper track.  “White Lightning”, the tribute to the late Steve “Steamin'” Clark is very hard to find live.  This is the first version I’ve owned.  It’s every bit as epic as it deserves to be.  The stone cold classic “Foolin'” follows, and the Los Angeles crowd goes nuts when the track explodes.  They are just as excited for “Animal”, sounding brilliant in live form, although hampered on audio by a loud talker in the crowd.  New guy Vivian Campbell gets a big showcase solo next.  I’m sure this show is edited down to fit on CD, since Phil usually gets a big solo too.*  Viv’s is impressive and he gets to show off his shred a little bit, though his solo is more of an instrumental composition that sounds delightfully Vai-ish.

Another big epic, “Gods of War” from Hysteria is a serious thrill and chill.  Say what you will about Leppard’s more pedestrian material.  When they wanted to do something a little more challenging, they nailed it.  A big long version of “Rocket” including the “Whole Lotta Love” segue closes the CD prematurely, which is a shame, and one can hope that the second half of the set was issued elsewhere.

4/5 stars

*Here is the full setlist that night according to setlist.fm:

  • Let’s Get Rocked
  • Tear It Down
  • Women
  • Too Late for Love
  • Hysteria
  • Make Love Like a Man
  • Guitar Solo (Phil Collen)
  • White Lightning
  • Foolin’
  • Animal
  • Guitar Solo (Vivian Campbell)
  • Gods of War
  • Rocket (
  • Acoustic Medley Section
    Enter Sandman (Metallica cover) (Vivian)
    Back in Black (AC/DC cover) (Phil)
    Tonight (acoustic)
    You Can’t Always Get What You Want (The Rolling Stones cover) (acoustic)
    Bringin’ on the Heartbreak (acoustic/electric)
  • Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad
  • Armageddon It
  • Rock of Ages
  • Pour Some Sugar on Me
  • Encore:
    Love Bites
    Photograph

REVIEW: Def Leppard – “Two Steps Behind” (1993 CD single)

This is the sixth and final part in a series on singles from Def Leppard’s Adrenalize era, including hard to find B-sides!  This is a bit of a “bonus” review, since this song wasn’t actually on Adrenalize!

DEL LEP SINGLE_0014DEF LEPPARD – “Two Steps Behind” (1993 Phonogram)

From a B-side to an A-side in its own right, “Two Steps Behind” has seen more releases than most Def Leppard songs. Sure, it’s significant that it was Def Leppard’s first acoustic song, but it’s really not that exciting.  When Arnold Schwarzenegger comes a-knockin’ and says “I need a rock band to give me ballad for my new movie” in that threatening Arnie voice of his, nobody’s going to refuse him.*

However it unfolded, “Two Steps Behind” was selected for the Arnie turd, Last Action Hero in 1992, next to bands such as AC/DC, Alice in Chains and Megadeth.  In comparison to the aggressive contributions from them, Def Leppard’s track seemed hopelessly behind the times.  It still charted in the US, going to #5.  It was spruced up with strings courtesy of Michael Kamen, and was given a high-budget music video.

This single falls between two albums.  Visually, the cover art recalls the prior Def Leppard singles with its yellow and red lego, but features the photographic style that the Retro-Active singles would sport.  Since it cleans up a few B-sides from the era that didn’t carry over onto Retro-Active, I’ve decided to include it here.

The first B-side is a “warts and all” acoustic version of “Tonight”.  This was later released on the deluxe Adrenalize as the “Sun Studios version”.  In many regards, it’s as good as the original.  Perhaps it’s even better, with its sparse but rich sound.  Without the layers of a typical Def Leppard recording, the song breaths like never before.

The final track on the single (and this series!) to discuss is “S.M.C.” which is still unavailable anywhere else.  Unfortunately it is only 1:14 long.  Written and performed solely by Collen, it is a pretty acoustic instrumental track.  Jaunty and light, it sounds classical in vibe.  Leppard fans would be well advised to seek out this single, to add this brief guitar workout to their Leppard libraries.

4/5 stars

* I’m not sure that this is exactly how it played out, but it could have!

DEL LEP SINGLE_0015

Adrenalize singles:

Part 1:  “Let’s Get Rocked”
Part 2: “Make Love Like a Man”
Part 3: “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad”
Part 4: “Heaven Is”
Part 5: “Tonight”
Bonus Part 6: “Two Steps Behind”

REVIEW – Def Leppard “Heaven Is” (1993 CD single)

Part four in a series on singles from Def Leppard’s Adrenalize, including hard to find B-sides!

DEL LEP SINGLE_0007DEF LEPPARD – “Heaven Is” (1993 Phonogram CD single)

“Heaven Is” and “Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion)” were released as singles at roughly the same time (different territories and whatnot),  but I don’t have a copy of “Stand Up”.  It doesn’t matter though, since both singles shared the exact same B-sides.  These are an interesting mix of new and old.

The Canadian rock band Helix released “She’s Too Tough” on 1987’s Wild in the Streets album.  While their version is faster and louder, the Leppard version sounds way better.   Helix had production issues on their album, while Leppard recorded theirs with trusted engineer Pete Woodroffe as a quartet during the Adrenalize sessions.  The single contains the original version of the track.  Rick Allen re-recorded the drums in June 1993, and that version was released on the Retro-Active album.  No matter which version you have, it’s an absolute pleasure to hear Leppard with Joe screaming like he used to.

“Elected” is indeed a live cover of the Alice Cooper classic.  This one dates back to 1987 and features the late Steve Clark on guitar!  A young, energized Leppard  have no problem filling this with all the electricity needed.  One must assume the old tapes were not the best, since the credits claim the track was “salvaged” by engineer Pete Woodroffe!  Following this is a new live recording, of “Let’s Get Rocked” in 1992, from Bonn, Germany.  Naturally that means this features the new boy Vivian Campbell on rhythm guitar.  This version, from the 1992 club tour, is available on the deluxe Adrenalize.

As for the A-side itself, “Heaven Is” works as a pleasant enough pop rock song.  Fans were tiring of that schtick, but “Heaven Is” is fine for a second-tier Def Leppard hit.  When Steve Clark died I don’t think the band felt it was the time to stretch out and find new musical avenues.  Writing safe rock was the easiest and probably only real course of action.

4/5 stars

Adrenalize singles:

Part 1:  “Let’s Get Rocked”
Part 2: “Make Love Like a Man”
Part 3: “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad”

Up next:  “Tonight”

REVIEW: Def Leppard – Adrenalize (deluxe edition)

DEF LEPPARD – Adrenalize (1992, 2009 Universal deluxe edition)

Ahh, Adrenalize. I remember first buying it on that cold spring day in 1992, and noticing right away, “Where are the riffs?” After Steve Clark died, Def Leppard lost the guy who wrote some of their best riffs, and I miss him.  His absence is most palpable on the album that the band had just started working on when he died.

I was always willing to cut Def Leppard some slack on Adrenalize.  I remember sitting by the radio with my sister waiting for the premiere of “Let’s Get Rocked”.  “It sounds the same as Hysteria,” she said.  I responded, “Well, it had that part with the violins,” but my sister accurately observed that they were only in a section to parody classical music.  If you’re going to enjoy Adrenalize, you have to remember that it was recorded by 4/5 of a band, gutted of their riff writer and performer.  4/5 of a band following the biggest hard rock album of all time isn’t going to reproduce their best work, and we knew that.

Indeed, “Let’s Get Rocked” is pretty limp.  The main thing was just getting Def Leppard back.  Getting them back on the radio was a bonus.  “Heaven Is” was a better song, but it could have been a Bryan Adams outtake.  Sure it has a catchy melody and lush Leppard vocal part, but it doesn’t really rock.  The lyrics won’t be winning any awards:  “Heaven is a girl that I got to have, she makes me feel better when I’m feeling bad.”

IMG_20141116_095810Worse is “Make Love Like A Man”, which is a chorus that I do not want to sing and shout along to.  I give Phil Collen points for the experimentation of putting in a “cockney rhyming rap”, but it’s not enough to save the song.  This sounds like a hard rock version of a Shania Twain hit or something.  The first bonafide Def Leppard classic on Adrenalize is a friggin’ ballad, called “Tonight”.  This one finally captures the magic.  It’s perfect top to bottom, a classy tune that could have fit on Hysteria.

“White Lightning”, a “Gods of War” remake essentially, is a tribute to the fallen Clark.  “White lightning” refers to one of the substances that took him down, but it can also refer to Clark’s appearance on stage, with that big white Gibson guitar throwing shapes.  It’s an apt tribute, and a kick in the ass that this album desperately needed.

The second bonafide classic here is side two’s opener, “Stand Up (Kick Love Into Motion)”.  If you don’t count this slow pop rock song as a ballad, then it’s definitely close, but that chorus kills!  So do the delicate guitar layers, all done by Phil Collen.  It’s too bad this song had such a weird video, and that it was released as a single so late.  It could have been massive.  It’s worth pointing out that both “Stand Up” and “Tonight” were co-written with Steve Clark before he died, which is perhaps why both have memorable guitar parts.

“Personal Property” is one of the harder rock song, but unfortunately it blows.  Another ballad with the agonizing title of “Have You Ever Needed Someone So Bad” was a hit, but it’s inferior to the other two.  “I Wanna Touch U” is catchy and cute, but not hard enough.

That leaves us at the final song, “Tear It Down”, which is a re-recorded version of a B-side from “Animal” (1987).  The B-side version is better.  Predictably, the Adrenalize re-recorded track doesn’t rock nearly as hard.  In one of those “shoulda woulda coulda” moments, maybe Def Leppard should have just polished up the B-side and put it on the album.

Adrenalize went to #1, and millions of copies were sold, so if you’re a Def Leppard fan, you probably knew all that.  So what about this deluxe edition?

ADRENALIZE_0001

This reissue, part of a series of Universal deluxe editions including Hysteria and Pyromania, is a very welcome addition to anybody’s Leppard collection due to the quality of the bonus material. The sound has also been improved significantly enough to warrant an upgrade. As expected with a deluxe such as this, the packaging and liner notes are perfect, including many tales that even the most diehard of Leppard fans have never heard before.

Bonus tracks abound. They include the four live tracks from Leppard’s very rare club tour EP (Live: In the Clubs, in Your Face, 1992), as well as two of the three acoustic sessions with Hothouse Flowers (covers of “Little Wing” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, replete with piano and tin whistle).  (The third Hothouse Flowers track, an original called “From the Inside”, was released in remixed form on the next Def Leppard album Retro-Active.)  These are some of the first tracks recorded to feature Clark’s replacement, Vivian Campbell.

There are two takes of “Tonight”, one being a stunning 1993 acoustic take, and the other being a 1988 demo with (yes!) Steve Clark. The original version of “Two Steps Behind” (before Michael Kamen added the strings) and a live track with Brian May (“Now I’m Here”) from the Freddy Mercury tribute concert are two more rare highlights. The set is rounded out with two live B-Sides also released on the In The Round – In Your Face home video, from Denver in 1988.  These Denver tracks are here because they were originally released in audio format as Adrenalize B-sides.

IMG_20141116_095843But so much material is missing! The 34 empty minutes available on CD one of this set could have housed many more missing treasures.  The Hysteria and Pyromania reissues really packed on the bonus material, Hysteria in particular, which included virtually every rare bonus track and B-side. Adrenalize is missing quite a few: “Only After Dark”, “Miss You In A Heartbeat”, “Action”, “From The Inside” and “She’s Too Tough”. All of these were originally available on long out of print singles, and are excluded here. Why? I can only guess because they are available in remixed form on the Retro-Active CD. However, the Hysteria reissue that came out earlier did not exclude similar tracks.  This leaves the original mixes of these Adrenalize B-sides frustratingly unavailable to collectors.

This deluxe edition of Adrenalize is such a mixed bag. On one hand they have given us some truly rare material such as that 1988 demo of “Tonight”, but on the other they have shorted us original mixes of many key Def Leppard B-sides from this era. I am certain most if not all would have fit. I find this dissapointing and frustrating.

3/5 stars