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DVD Review – Rush R:30

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When a band has stood the test of time for 30 years, you have to tip your cap and salute that kind of effort; even if you aren’t the biggest fan of that band. There is almost no way to argue that Rush are, and continue to be, one of the greatest bands of our lifetime. What has always made them a unique act is that their entire catalog, be it hits like “Tom Sawyer” or the most obscure tracks like “Middletown Dreams” from Power Windows, finds a band that never changed what they did in an effort to be more radio friendly or popular. This Canadian trio has long built their following on the strength of consistent albums, incredible shows, and a unique ability to make music that speaks to their core audience. While this is hardly the first or the best live effort the band has done, R30 clearly showcases the fact that Rush are still as strong as ever.

While many bands claim to be giving their fans a “gift” at career milestones, it seems obvious that Rush went the extra mile on this release to genuinely give their fans more than they were paying for. This collection has it all – a DVD from the incredible 30 Years tour of last year, another disc of interviews from various points in their career, and finally a collection they call “The Anthem Vault”, which is an impressive feature all by itself. Additionally, you get CDs of the concert featured on DVD1, as well as a cool booklet and some collectable guitar picks from Lifeson and Geddy Lee. All of this for under $35. Now that’s a worthy collection!

As far as the concert DVD goes, this is just a great show. Filmed on their last tour, Rush weren’t perfect in these shows, but they were their standard above par. Vocalist Geddy Lee starts out a bit warbly on “The Spirit Of Radio”, but quickly comes around for an excellent performance. He and the band cover most all the classics on this on – “Spirit Of Radio”, “Tom Sawyer”, “Working Man”, etc. The only truly glaring song missing is the anthemic, overplayed-on-Classic-Rock-Radio hit “Closer To The Heart.” While that song may be missing, there are several surprises here that were more than likely put into this set strictly for the core fanbase (a Rush tradition, by the way). Songs like “Animate” and “Force Ten” come off as fresh and bubbling with energy. Regardless of if you know the tune or not, each song oozes the power that this band has become known for over the years. Guitarist Alex Lifeson shines throughout as he brings his signature sound to gems like “Subdivisions” or “Red Barchetta”. He’s an excellent player who brings it live time and time again. While he’s a respected player, it’s always a mystery why this guy stayed somewhat anonymous while guys of lesser talent, like The Edge from U2, are so heralded. Clearly, no one in Rush is more heralded than drummer Neil Peart. And just as clearly, no one deserves it more. From his huge drumkit, Peart continues to be one of the most active drummers in the history of rock music. He’s solid here. By the time you get to “Limelight”, you’ve experienced 28 pieces of Rush history, and you can’t help but feel that you’ve seen something special.

As for the second DVD, the “Anthem” Vault was very cool. Featuring some great songs recorded at various points of their career, this is yet another cool tidbit for the hardcore guys and gals. While it’s doubtful that the average fan would appreciate rare versions of “A Farewell To Kings”, there’s no denying that the most ardent fans will quickly find the material here to be some of their favorite ever. As far as the interviews piece goes, it’s interesting to see them interviewed at various points of their career I guess. Ultimately though, the music talks. With R:30, it speaks loudly…just as it always as for this band.

RATING – 9/10 – After 30 years, you’d be hard pressed to find any band that can bring it as well as Rush does. Time and time again they excel in both the live and recorded setting. R:30 celebrates a band that is stronger now than they were in their selling prime. That, all by itself, says all you need to know.

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About richwithhatred

  • http://home.comcast.net/~proy1/ Paul Roy

    Nice job Chris. This is one incredible DVD. The minor audio problems that plagued the Rush in Rio DVD are nowhere to be found here, as this is one of the best produced concert DVD’s ever. My only complaint is that they didn’t include the entire show – at least 5 or 6 key songs such as YYZ and La Villa Strangiato were not included. See my live concert review from last year. But, who are we to complain, you still get over two hours worth of the show, which is more than most concert DVDs.

  • BG

    Good Lord, something else to buy! Thanks for the review. I was wondering how this would turn out. I thought “Rush In Rio” was one of the very best concert docs ever produced. What a glorious, ear-filling sound this band makes.

  • http://www.rock-is-life.com George Dionne

    I just finished watching the first disc and it was great. I’m not really a Rush fan, but I can’t deny their talent. The special edition is packed with so much stuff, it’s going to take forever to get to it.

  • Mozzer

    As a subscriber of RealRhapsody, I was only able to hear the audio version of R-30 and to be honest, thought the performances were really bad. I am a Rush fan, but damn, can’t anyone else hear what I’m hearing? These guys have written some great music throughout the years, but they are out of shape. Geddy’s voice sounds whiny and howling and Neil is not tight AT ALL throughout the concert. Maybe the video adds something to the illusion that these guys can still play, but after hearing the drum solo, I couldn’t believe that this was the same fluid and precise Neil Peart that we are all used to. I started to hear him slip during the Rush in Rio DVD, but now, I know I’m not hearing things. I’m not nit picking here, but if people can’t hear the horrible imperfections in Der Trommler and the rest of the CD for that matter, I might be persuaded to believe that Rush’s fans are becoming brainwashed. Sorry for the negative review, but dudes, Neil and his boys DO NOT have it anymore.

  • http://fri23mar heehee

    please find me some positive and negative things about rush!!!!!!