Def Leppard’s song “Let’s Go” was the opening track and lead single from the band’s 2015 self-titled Def Leppard album.
Seven long years had passed since the release of Songs from the Sparkle Lounge, but it was crystal clear to listeners that “Let’s Go” harkened back to — and embraced — the days when Def Leppard’s trademark hooks and big productions reigned supreme. This wasn’t a mere coincidence; the band intentionally wanted “Let’s Go” to go down that same tried-and-true path.
Here’s how Joe Elliott described the song:
“It could be a distant cousin of Pour Some Sugar On Me or Rock of Ages. It’s an anthemic rock song. That’s what we do. For years, we’ve been known for that. It’s something we’re proud of. We don’t try to avoid it. If anything, we try to do more of it.” (ABC.com)
As mentioned in the Def Leppard Report song ranking, “Let’s Go” (ranked #4 on the Def Leppard album) has a deliberately slow pace that is used to full effect to help create the song’s larger-than-life, bombastic sound, one that practically screams “We’re back!” to Def Leppard fans hearing it for the first time.
Similar to “Man Enough,” the band released a music video for “Let’s Go” which mixed limited amounts of washed-out performance footage with a science-fiction storyline interspersed throughout, which, yet again, distracts and detracts from the overall video presentation.
Def Leppard: Let’s Go…A Little Faster?
Would a faster tempo have benefited “Let’s Go”? Arguably, it might have added a bit more urgency to the song and energy throughout, while maintaining the anthem’s overall impact.
The band performed “Let’s Go” as their opening number for a period of time, especially during their Def Leppard studio album tour, integrating the song’s “Do you really, really want to do this now?” into the show’s video introduction, with Def Leppard’s logo creeping closer to the screen and ultimately “shattering” it — a great marketing idea, too, as it reinforced and promoted the newly released Def Leppard “shattered glass” album cover.
While the video intro effectively built up audience anticipation for the big reveal — Def Leppard appearing on-stage to begin their show — one must wonder if the band came to the realization at some point that “Let’s Go” and its tempered pace might not have been best suited for their setlist’s opening slot; its slow and steady tempo is magnified when performed live, which isn’t necessarily a good thing as a concert-opener.
Think back to previous Def Leppard tours and songs they’ve opened with — be it “Stagefright,” “Rock! Rock! (Till You Drop),” “Let It Go,” etc. — and you’ll likely come up with an opening number that crackled with energy, and more importantly, was better suited for that particular slot.
A faster tempo could have infused “Let’s Go” with a newfound energy that potentially might have helped it become more opening slot-worthy.
Here’s a video with “Let’s Go” sped up for your amusement:
After watching him perform along with a faster-paced “Let’s Go” — granted, it’s sped-up by the user, not a version of what a faster arrangement would actually, and properly, sound like — a more brisk version of “Let’s Go” doesn’t seem so out of the ordinary.
Def Leppard Knows Best: “Let’s Go” Went Away
Whether one agrees or disagrees about the tempo of “Let’s Go” or its use as an opening number, Def Leppard’s actions speak loudest, so here is one final thought: The band stopped using “Let’s Go” as a concert opener a long while back, and it wouldn’t be surprising if it doesn’t return, at least to open a show, on future tours. (The band did perform the track to begin their encore during their Las Vegas “Sin City” residency’s first show, and then it disappeared again until the residency’s final show, which might have had more to do with the purposes of including it on the band’s DVD/Blu-ray release commemorating the “Sin City” residency.)
Nevertheless, the band has many setlist options to choose from, which is a testament to the incredible depth of Def Leppard’s catalog.
That’s not to say there is anything wrong with “Let’s Go,” but “going” a little faster might have benefited the song and, ultimately, its longevity on Def Leppard’s setlist.