Anthem, 2005


REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


Rush has been and will always be one of my favorite bands. I have been a disciple of drummer Neil Peart for many years and consider the band's concert I attended to be the best concert I've ever seen.

This release shows no signs of a rusty Rush. It is is a two CD/two DVD celebration of the band's 30 years together- - DVD 1 is a concert with an extensive set list that pulls from 30 years of material, while DVD 2 is bonus material with vintage performances and interviews. The discs are the audio version of the concert on the first DVD.

Rush have defined and refined their style after 30 years of playing together. When the opening riff of "Finding My Way" begins the "R30 Overture" -- an instrumental medley that includes "Anthem," "Bastille Day," A Passage to Bangkok," "Cygnus X-1," and "Hemispheres" -- it's like a breath of fresh air. Bassist Geddy Lee still knows his way around his instrument and his legendary status is immediately justified.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Then, guitarist Alex Lifeson launches the band into "The Spirit of Radio" with confidence, while drummer Neil Peart executes his drum parts with precision. He doesn't smile much, making Lee and Lifeson to balance his seriousness with some moments that show the band as human. For example, the sound check for "The Spirit Of Radio" in 1979 on the DVD shows Lee playing and sounding quite off-time, resulting in Lifeson looking at the camera in disbelief. It gives these progressive rock icons a human aspect.

There are other priceless moments, like the live-in-the-studio recording of "Closer To The Heart" and "Freewill" from the 2003 Toronto Rocks concert. But while I enjoy the band's music and the idea of being able to see Rush whenever I want, I was somewhat disappointed with the concert DVD. I don't understand the reason the camera shows the entire arena during a guitar solo but then zooms in on Peart's drum solo. On this particular solo, Peart plays along to Count Basie's "One O'Clock Jump" as part of his solo. At the very least, the screen should have split in half to show the entire stage and also a closeup of Peart playing, but his solo is cheated by the way it is presented on the DVD. While showing Peart's feet during his double bass parts slightly makes up for it, it comes across as amateurish to take the camera through the crowd and to have hands in the air obscuring Peart.

While recent songs like "One Little Victory" and "Driven" are missing, I can understand why. The band includes covers of "Summertime Blues," "Crossroads," "Heart Full of Soul," and "The Seeker." These covers take the place of vintage instrumental cuts like "La Villa Strangiato" or "YYZ." It seems my personal favorite, "Nobody's Hero," didn't make the list either.

What to include, what to exclude, what eras to accent, what eras to dismiss -- I wouldn't envy that task whatsoever. The "2112 / Xanadu / Working Man" medley as the transition from the acoustic "Heart Full of Soul" is excellent and balances out the omissions I mentioned.

Rush has been playing together for 30 years and this release celebrates that fact. I hope that the band is around to release a 40th anniversary celebration. This is an amazing release even with the shoddy camera work during the concert DVD.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2006 Paul Hanson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Anthem, and is used for informational purposes only.