With a career spanning more than 30 years and 10 studio albums, it’s astonishing that Def Leppard have waited all this time to put together a live album. The band’s first, “Mirrorball” hits the shops in June but frontman Joe Elliott says that they never really had an opportunity to do it sooner. Speaking to Rock Radio’s Tom Russell, Elliott explained:
“We found growing up all the live albums that influenced us – `Strangers in the Night` by UFO, `Live and Dangerous`, `Frampton Comes Alive`, `All the World’s a Stage` by Rush – they would come out notoriously after three studio albums that weren’t necessarily the most brilliantly produced.
“When you heard them live they were so superior.
“It gave these bands careers a bit of a kick start and a year off to write a fourth album”
“We never had that luxury. By the time we had done an 18 month world tour, we had the record company breathing down our necks looking for the next studio album.
However things changed for Leppard once they had completed their touring schedule in 2010. Elliot continued:
“Taking 2010 off – our first break in 30 years – gave us the opportunity to listen back to what we had recorded on tour because our record contract had expired.
“We just took our time and listened to the songs, chose the version we liked and finally had the freedom to do it.
“(The album) is a three disc set – 2 cd’s and a dvd – and it’s pretty much everything we did from the Sparkle Lounge Tour between 2008 and 2009
“We cherry-picked our favourite versions, not always because we had played them so well, but sometimes because of the atmosphere
“We even had an audience singing a two-part harmony on our acoustic version of `Bringing on the Heartache` – I’ve never heard an audience sing a harmony before!
The album was put together from shows in Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, San Diego and from some English shows on the tour, but is presented as if it were a single gig.
In addition to the live performance the band have included three new studios songs and Elliot says that it was purely as a result of their creative instincts that the new songs were included
“By September, a year after we finished the tour, we got a bit antsy and just started writing again
“Initially there was only meant to be one song, but everybody started pputting forward their own offerings
“The songs had the same love and attention as any song on `Hysteria` – we got creative again and it felt good”
But as usual with Leppard, the touring never stops and the band play warm up shows in Belfast and Dublin on June 7/8 before making their headline appearance at Download on June 10 and commence on a four month schedule in the US from June 15 to September 15.