Watch Def Leppard play 3 gigs on 3 continents in 24 hours to set a world record

(Image credit: Mick Hutson/Redferns)

On October 23, 1995, Def Leppard released their first ‘greatest hits’ album, Vault, and decided to mark the occasion by playing three acoustic shows on three different continents on the same day, as a special ‘Vaulting The World’ publicity event.

“It was the band’s idea to do something weird and wacky,” said Joe Elliott as the band boarded a plane at London’s Gatwick Airport ahead of the 2 hour 45 minute flight to Tangiers for their first gig of the whirlwind tour at Hercules Cave. “We haven’t actually had the chance to nail this person’s head to a coffee table yet who actually came up with this three gigs in one day lark. But, I mean, it is a challenge and we do like a bit of a challenge.”

The quintet’s second gig took place at the Bottom Line club in west London, with Leppard playing covers by Jimi Hendrix (Little Wing), David Bowie (Ziggy Stardust) and The Rolling Stones (You Can’t Always Get What You Want) alongside originals such as Animal, Two Steps Behind and Pour Some Sugar On Me.

The same three covers, plus a set-closing run through T. Rex’s Bang A Gong (Get It On), featured in the band’s final show of the day at the Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver, Canada. With that show starting at 10:45pm local time Leppard technically played their three shows in 30 hours, but as the time difference meant it was 6:45am in London the record was allowed to stand.

“The [Canadian] audience was stunning,” Joe Elliott later recalled. “It was like Beatle-mania, with people moshing - moshing! - during our acoustic set.”

“Would we do it all again?” the singer asked rhetorically, with the record in the bag. “Yes. Would I do it all again next week? No fucking way.”

On November 17, 1995, ITV’s late night hard rock show Noisy Mothers broadcast a special segment on the Sheffield quintet’s record-breaking feat, which you can see below.

And here’s what Leppard think of Vault, 25 years on…

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.