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Mirrorball-Live & More
Released: 2011, Mailboat Records
Just about ten years ago on this very site I reviewed the Def Leppard studio album called X. It wasn't a favourable review. I concluded by suggesting that what the band needed to do to salvage their failing career (with three weak albums in a row; SLANG, EUPHORIA and X) is come put out a massive Triple Live album to rejuvenate themselves. For almost 20 years the band had said they were not really interested in doing a Live album but here we are at almost the 35th year of the bands existence and they finally have done a Live album.
I'm really torn on this one. It's good and bad, extremely well done in some areas and poor in others. Ultimately a person preference for a Live album is based on one's love for the band and songs. I enjoyed the first six Def Leppard albums and the last couple were tolerable. That's not enough to automatically give this a high grade so I'm going to look at some of the technical aspects of the album.
Good value! 19 track live album. Two 'bonus' live songs. Three new unreleased songs. An hour long DVD including a documentary, two music videos, and some live video. It comes in a nice triple CD case and I only paid $12.00. Ya can't beat that!
The packaging is nice, the 14 page booklet has about 3 dozen photos, credits etc...but unfortunately no information on where or when the songs were recorded other than a generic statement that says, 'Recorded In various points of the world, in the not too distant past'. This type of live album is my least favourite style, the 'assorted live songs' style. Why not record an actual concert? If a band insists on having a multiple show track-list at least tell us where and when the songs were performed and recorded!
The song selection covers seven of the bands eleven albums to date, with, thankfully in my opinion, no cuts from SLANG, EUPHORIA or X. All the hits are faithfully trotted out for loyal fans with a decent representation of their career, 70's, 80's, 90's and a trio from the last album.
The sound quality varies, but generally it's all good. Some of this stuff is so digitally enhanced to begin with I would not be at surprised to see if this was heavily tweaked in the studio. The performances are perhaps a bit rough and looser than the studio versions but the bands still plays it pretty safe. Joe doesn't talk to the crowd much and at times the crowd seems really loud and at other non-existant. That is one of the pitfalls of mixing a multi-show live album, getting the levels comparable. The band performances comes across as a bit dull and uninspired, not truly capturing the live energy they can generate. Joe's voice holds up quite well however so that's a plus.
The three new songs show promise. 'Undefeated' is likely the heaviest, most traditional Hard Rock they have done in years. They need to do an entire album of songs like this. Next up the ballad, 'Kings Of The World'. This song is great with a full,lush sound with epic construction reminding me of Queen. One of their better ballads, not quite as saccharine. Lastly, 'It's All About Believin' is an adequate slower track, but it didn't blow me away.
In many technical aspects MIRRORBALL is very well done, good value, good songs and it was certainly nice to hear some of these old favourites played live. What more can I say, it's a pretty monumental release if you think about it, one of the only truly massive and global Melodic Hard Rock bands who have never done a live album. It's a milestone, too bad it's a bit plain.
1. Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop)
4. C'Mon C'Mon
5. Make Love Like A Man
6. Too Late For Love
8. Nine Lives
9. Love Bites
10. Rock On
1. Two Steps Behind
2. Bringin' On the Heartbreak
3. Switch 625
5. Armageddon It
7. Pour Some Sugar On Me
8. Rock Of Ages
9. Let's Get Rocked
11. Bad Actress
12. Undefeated (new, unreleased)
13. Kings of the World (new, unreleased)
14. It's All About Believin' (new, unreleased)
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