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Def Leppard guitarist Phil Collen prepares for Joint ‘Hysteria’

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Get ready to rock.
Chris Bitonti

So, 11 shows in Las Vegas … Absolutely. First time ever we’ve done a residency. First time we’ve ever played an album all the way through, actually. So it should be interesting.

Are all the songs from Hysteria part of the regular Def Leppard repertoire? Some of them we never played live, so we had to dig in and rehearse. Some of it is quite complex—the vocals and the guitar at the same time, it’s sort of like rubbing and patting your head at the same time (laughs). But I’m almost there.

We’re learning about 30 or 40 songs. We’re actually gonna do two sets [a night]. A first half with deep cuts, stuff from the first and second record, stuff that didn’t even make it on albums, a lot of different things. We’ll do all that, go off and come back on and do Hysteria all the way through. It’s gonna be a big night, a big, long night.

The Details

DEF LEPPARD
Through April 13, 8 p.m., $46-$121.
The Joint, 693-5222.

How did you decide to play Hysteria in its entirety all these years later? Me and [singer] Joe Elliott have wanted to do an album all the way through for years. Cheap Trick used to do it, they used to do like, Dream Police, in a theater somewhere. We never really got the opportunity; we were always busy touring or something. And all of a sudden, people started doing these things and they requested us and asked, “Could you play an album all the way through?” And, we were like, “Finally! Someone is asking us to do this!” Obviously, Hysteria being our biggest album and most influential and all that stuff and probably most unique as well, especially when it came out, it just seemed perfect.

How do you feel about staying in one city for this many shows? I think it’s great to take the travel out of it, because it’s quite exhausting, it always takes its toll. Ya know, you catch a cold when you go to the airports and people are sneezing. So it’s kind of cool to just concentrate on the music. And you wake up in the same place every night. It’s very new for us but it sounds quite heavenly.

The only problem being, Vegas itself is slightly unhealthy (laughs). I mean, from all the A/C and with everyone is smoking, even just walking through the casino every day.

It’s pretty dry out here too. Absolutely. I mean, I live in California, I’ve been in the same house for 23 years and occasionally we’ll drive out to Vegas. I saw UFC there a couple of months ago and it’s great.

How much do you guys plan to mix up the shows night to night? It’s going to be different every single night. We’ve got almost 40 songs to pull from, including the 11 on Hysteria. It’s pretty trippy when you think of it that way, trying to do things that we have never done. It’s a lot of rehearsing, too. I think even some of the days that we’re playing we’re going to be soundchecking so we can get an extra song or two into the set that night.

It’s all brand new for us. After 30 years in a band you get jaded, you do the same old thing over and over again. But if you do things very different, it’s very cool. I know for a fact that fans, especially die-hard fans, are just going to freak when they hear some of these songs.

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