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Def Leppard run begins at Hard Rock Hotel; drummer Rick Allen’s art, miracle story

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Jae C. Hong / AP

Members of rock group Def Leppard pose for photographers as they arrive for VH1 Rock Honors concert in Las Vegas on Thursday, May 25, 2006.

Updated Friday, March 22, 2013 | 12:47 a.m.

Def Leppard Memorabilia at Hard Rock Hotel

Def Leppard memorabilia is unveiled at The Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas on Thursday, March 21, 2013. Launch slideshow »
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A multimedia work by Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen will be featured in his debut collection at Martin Lawrence Galleries in The Forum Shops of Caesars Palace from March 22 to April 10, 2013.

Britain’s premiere arena rock band Def Leppard will be welcomed to The Hard Rock Hotel today for the start of their “Viva Hysteria” residency at The Joint through April 13. Any future dates will be announced later, and the elaborate set design has been created only for their Las Vegas run.

Def Leppard legends Joe Elliott, Vivian Campbell, Rick Savage, Phil Collen and drummer Rick Allen will join Hard Rock Vice President Paul Davis and AEG Live’s Las Vegas booking Vice President Bobby Reynolds today for a memorabilia unveiling.

They will showcase four memorabilia display cases of Def Leppard items and take part in a Q+A. The exhibit at the hotel’s main entrance near valet will feature the original drum kit that Rick used after a nearly fatal car accident. He custom designed it so that he could continue to play drums with the group after the loss of his arm. The other cases include guitars, gold records and costumes.

While at The Joint, the band will perform their iconic album “Hysteria” in full, plus, a selection of their greatest hits. During a 30-year concert career, Def Leppard has produced and sold more than 100 million records. “Hysteria,” released in 1987, has sold more than 20 million copies and was named by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

During his Las Vegas visit, Rick will debut his art exhibit at the 26,000-square-foot Martin Lawrence Galleries in The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace on Friday. It’s the one and only tour stop for the artwork. He’ll host two Q+A sessions at the gallery March 28 and April 4. With one arm, Rick has named his prolific and distinctive art exhibit “Electric Hand: Rhythm + Change.”

The exhibition will be staged alongside Andy Warhol’s Mick Jagger suite. On display for three weeks, all pieces will be available for purchase at the gallery. Rick also will unveil and sign a limited-edition exhibition art print. He says he turns sound into light by translating rhythm into a visual art medium through an extensive process involving drumbeat, light, photography and graphic design.

It results in a collection of abstract imagery built directly from his skills. He’s pioneering a new art medium in which he uses lighted drumsticks of different colors, measurements and temperatures to perform. Then, through time-lapse photography, the light and color are placed on canvas.

“Up until recently, I didn’t even know presenting sound into light existed,” he said in a news release. “We know what rhythm and drum beats sound like, but what do they look like? This is a new way to define the drumbeat and the rhythm as visual. It opens another dimension up, something that the eye doesn’t see until it is bottled up -- a rhythmic performance -- exposed in a single image.”

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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