One of the most influential and respected bands in the business, and also one of the most successful, Rush are a band that seems to have been around forever and with every release it’s as if age is no barrier to their ability. Even though the members of the band are getting older, the music isn’t, and as the years slide by the band stands its ground as a pioneering juggernaut. Not many other bands will equal or surpass the influence the band has had; neither will many other bands reach the echelons of respect.
This release is something of a collector’s item. It’s a double CD, which makes it even more alluring for the die-hards. As with every Rush release, it doesn’t disappoint, and the live setting only enhances the effect on the listener. For those of you out there who haven’t had the opportunity to see the band live, then this is a must-buy.
Particular stand-out tracks are:
‘Presto’ – Geddy Lee (vocalist) shows his class by seeming so at ease with the crowd, who can be heard behind the backdrop of the acoustic guitar and drums. You’re probably thinking, he should be at ease, he’s been doing this longer than I’ve been alive! But, he seems as if he’s having a really good time and this is important on a live recording. The solo/s of Alex Lifeson are also as strong as on studio recordings, and as the song dies out you hear Lee interact with the crowd, something that he does like a true performer.
‘Tom Sawyer’, which is a favourite with Rush fans anyway, is possibly the strongest track that they played. The incredible guitar playing, both 4-string and 6, and the drumming has to be heard to be believed. It’s imaginable that many fans at the gig were left open-mouthed watching this song being played, as when it’s listened to on CD it leaves you realising why the band is so popular and renowned for their musical ability. It’s a track that makes you want to see them live.
‘Caravan’, with its ominous opening, is just as eerie and intriguing live as on studio recordings, probably more so. Lee, again, shows his pedigree and lets his bass rove around as if it’s lost. Interestingly though, the crowd don’t seem as loud during this song. Whether that’s to do with sound issues or simply because their voices had drained, we will never know. What we do know, however, is that this is another stellar song to what must have been an incredible Rush experience.
Not to be forgotten amongst the guitars, drummer Neil Peart has a whole song to himself with ‘Moto Perpetuo’. At over 8 minutes long, it could be one of the least engaging tracks here, but his brilliant drum skills don’t let that happen and it’s a huge, classy drum solo that underlines why he’s so highly regarded.
This live CD isn’t where a Rush virgin should start. If you’re one of these unfortunate people, work your way through their back catalogue. However, if you’re a Rush fan, this is an essential purchase and is an album that is simply too good (not to mention long) to review all the way through. So, get a beer, sit back, turn the volume up, shut your eyes and imagine you were at this gig. It may be the closest you’ll get without experiencing the real thing.
Written by Rhys Milsom