Def Leppard just this past Friday (March 20th) has released a box set titled The Early Years 79-81 featuring a ton and I mean a ton of music.
64 Songs spread out over 4.5 hours of music. That’s a lot of Leppard Rock Folks.
Now I know John Snow in the next few days is going to do a very detailed review of The Early Years so I’m just going to focus on one section of this massive box and that is the Live Show included from 1980.
When The Walls Came Tumbling Down – Live In Oxford 26/04/1980
‘When the Walls Came Tumbling Down’
‘It Could Be You’
‘Answer to the Master’
‘When the Rain Falls’
‘Sorrow Is a Woman’
‘Good Morning Freedom’
‘Don’t Matter to Me’
‘Ride into The Sun’
I can tell you all right here right now that this show from Oxford is just mindblowing good. The audio and mix of this show is excellent. I can’t believe Leppard sat on this album for 40 years!
Leppard 1980 was one lean mean rocking machine. For one thing, check out that setlist. The whole debut album On Through The Night is played as they were plugging the just-released debut.
When The Walls Came Tumbling Down sets the pace of the show. I love how Leppard uses the actual studio recording and then hit the stage on auto blast when Joe Elliot is about to hit the first verse of the song.
Leppard does not fuck around here even at there young age at the time. These songs are taken to a whole other level which is a mindblower.
Drummer Rick Allen leads the charge and keeps the band in check to let Steve Clark and Pete Willis do their thing on the guitars. Speaking of Clark if you recall in my other Leppard reviews I always say when Clark passed away in January 1991 Steve took the riffs with him to heaven.
Actually, you can also make the case for Pete Willis who had a huge hand in crafting these songs for the first two Leppard albums (On Through The Night and High N Dry) as well as co-writing a slew of tracks on Pyromania before Pete got the boot.
it’s a shame the guitar duo of Clark/Willis never really get there due when the talk of guitar duos come up. Perhaps this release will begin some chat about that. Steve and Pete mix youth and exuberance at times as well as sounding seasoned.
Rock Brigade and Satellite and many of the tunes are at a quicker tempo and Elliot keeps the chat between the tunes down to a bare minimum as well as Joe’s voice sounds excellent live.
At times you can hear the influences trickle thorough like on Overture when you can hear Rush (at the beginning of the tune) and Thin Lizzy (in the dual leads) as well Rick Savage plays some tasty Bass Lines (did I just type that?) and he’s also right up there in the mix as well.
What else is a real score is the addition of two tunes I had never heard before, kinda.
By that I mean Medicine Man is the title of the tune but the music is Rock Rock Til You Drop which later appeared on 83’s Pyromania.
When The Rain Falls is another song played live but come a year later in 1981 the lyrics were all changed around but the music pretty stayed the same and was retitled Let It Go from the High N Dry album.
Speaking of High N Dry even Lady Strange was belted out that night in Oxford. Leppard was on a creative binge back than folks.
Leppard as we all know as the 80s went along became mega and of course, the sound changed, While some later albums were kinda so so (Adrenalize) and some were really good (Slang) you can’t forget this early incarnation of a band that was going for the throat.