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.Powered by Sidelines