Monday, March 06, 2006

Rush: R30

by Fumo Verde

In eighth grade, my buddy Chris brought over his Rush tape, Moving Pictures. He wanted me to listen to two songs. One called "Witch Hunt", a dark and spooky number. Since we went to Catholic school and had heard the band was "demonic," we had to listen. The other song was, of course "Tom Sawyer" which immediately turned me on to a sound I had never heard before. I was used to the classics, Hendrix, The Who, Zeppelin, but Rush was a band that took the classic rock sound and energized it, flying off into a different galaxy altogether. Since I first heard that tape, I have been to nine Rush concerts and have more than half of their work on CD, the rest on tape. Rush is the only band that I have seen that many times and will keep seeing, until they decide I won't see them anymore. Hope that never happens.

R30 captures their 30th anniversary tour Rush performed in the summer of 2004, which El Bicho, Captain Petrone, Dr. Smith and myself attended on July 14th, and it was one of the best shows the band has ever done. The first DVD is from their performance at Festhalle in Frankfurt, Germany, on September 24th, but once it started up, I was transported back to Irvine Meadows or what ever the frack it's called now. The chills started up my back and I found it hard to sit without jumping out of my seat and rocking out in my living room.

The show starts out with a little animation that tours you through the images of Rush album covers, from Rush and 2112 to Roll the Bones and beyond. This trip down memory lane is shown on the wide screen monitors above the stage, but this looks even better on a TV or pc screen. After the cartooning is over, the screen fills with a sleeping Jerry Stiller, who wakes up wondering if had missed the show and is annoyed that they never play “Bangkok.”

Then, electricity fills the air...even in my living room. The band's entrance starts out with an instrumental medley of early songs, snippets from “Finding My Way,” “Anthem,” “Bastille Day,” “A Passage to Bangkok,” “Cygnus X-1,” and “Hemispheres”. After this 10-minute Overture, they break into the heart-stirring "Spirit of the Radio" and the magic at your fingers are created by Alex, Geddy and Neil as they pour out all their energy into songs, such as "Force Ten", "Subdivisions", Red Barchetta" and of course, "Tom Sawyer". Speaking of Neil, it wouldn't be a Rush show without one of his amazing percussion demonstrations and as always he delivers the goods.

In the summer of '04, Rush released an EP of covers called Feedback on which they honored their favorite bands and songs. Some of those songs made it into the set as well, such as an acoustic version of The Yardbirds' “Heart Full of Soul,” Eddie Cochrane's “Summertime Blues”, The Who's “The Seeker” and the band who was the blueprint for rock trios, Cream's “Crossroads.”

The concert lightshow that Rush puts on is equally breathtaking, and mixed in with the music one can truly see why the German fans are going crazy. Rush always puts on a great live show, and their artistry, training, and devotion to their work really shine through when they are on stage, and the crowds can tell.

The second DVD contains archival footage from interviews and performances throughout the years. They are interviewed while on tour in 1979, about their 2002 album Vapor Trails, and are inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1994. Video shows them appearing on the TV show “Rock Concert”, two tracks from Seneca College off A Farewell to Kings in 1977, and appearing at Toronto Rocks in 2003. There are a total of 15 features all together to satiate the most die hard of fans. Most of these tracks are from the late 70's and 80's and it's funny to see the guys with all that long hair.

The best track is the "in studio" version of "Closer to the Heart" performed for the Canadian Tsunami Disaster Fund. During concerts, when this song comes up, the Bics come out to light the night air, but this version, gives you an almost personal window into how these men not only work together, but how they enjoy what they do. They might be in a studio, but the sound and their playing still have a concert feel.

There are 2 CDs included in the Deluxe Edition that has the audio from the Frankfurt show, so you can take it with you if you don't have a portable DVD player. There are two signature guitar picks, a 17-page photo pamphlet, and Easter Eggs. (That's if you can find them.....Good Luck)

For me, Rush was the band that inspired me and really got me into the music that I enjoy today. This deluxe edition gives the fan a chance to possibly sit back and watch these guys in action, but as I said before, with Rush, it's truly hard be still. Here is a band whose melodies get you moving and the lyrics get you thinking. Once your body and mind are in motion your spirit will ignite, bringing it closer to the heart, and once that happens, oh babies, what a RUSH.