Static and safe, Viva Hysteria is purely an concert Blu-ray better suited to VH1 or BBC4 of a weekend than the cinema, the band’s brand of bombastic rock needs a stadium to give it room to breathe, the more intimate setting of the Hard Rock (which is still a barn…) hemming them in, constricting them. There’s a workmanlike feel to the film as the boys rattle through their seminal album in front of an arena of middle aged, balding men, suicide blonde MILFs and their curvy daughters, all rocking out and throwing Devil’s horns at the cameras prowling the crowd.
If you’re a fan of the album (and I am) you’ll love this film. But if you’re not, you won’t even see it. Why would you? Which is a shame; Leppard’s story is fascinating, the quintessential rock’n’roll fable of highs and lows, triumph and tragedy. When drummer Rick Allen lost an arm in a horrific crash, the band stuck by him, giving him the time and space to recover and to learn to play with his feet and a specially adapted kit. When guitarist Steve Clark, the wild heart of the band, succumbed to his addictions, they soldiered on.
Viva Hysteria was shot while guitarist Vivian Campbell received chemotherapy for the cancer he’s battling. There’s a great documentary waiting to be made about the band; fortunately this isn’t it, though until it comes along we have the Spinal Tap potential of the reality TV show they purportedly shot in Vegas to look forward to. Viva Hysteria won’t win Def Leppard a new audience but it’s a lean, tight mosh down memory lane fans will love.
As far as picture quality, there are some compression artefacts and colour banding here and there. The DTS-HD sound quality is also somewhat lacklustre and devoid of true “oomph” when they are needed.
Alas, there are so much potential to this blu-ray and even as a huge fan of the album, I feel somewhat disappointed.
Review Equipment List
Oppo BDP-103D Darbee Edition blu-ray disc player
Panasonic PT-AE7000U projector
Pioneer Elite SC-75 THX receiver
PSB Century 300i speakers
PSB Image C5 centre speaker
PSB SubSeries 300
QED Qunex HDMI cables
Torus Power AVR2-20 toroidal power conditioner
Vermouth Audio Black Curse speaker wires (fronts)
Ultralink Ambiance mkII speaker wires (rears)
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