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CromeDome (4395)

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Hello, I'm MrCromeDome from Perl Monks. [] See my account there or my home page for more info.

Journal of CromeDome (4395)

Wednesday October 22, 2003
09:57 AM

Musical Goodness

[ #15322 ]

This is a duplicate of my post from LiveJournal. While not proably entirely appropriate for Use Perl, I'm very moved by the subject matter and felt obligated to post about it here as well. Deal with it :)

Rush in Rio kicks ass!

That being said, you're probably wondering the how and the why, and all the details in between. I will try to control the flow of thoughts and feelings so that this comes out somewhat comprehendable.

Did I mention Rush in Rio kicks ass?

Rush has had a tradition of releasing a new live album after every 4 studio albums (which is why the release of Rio is extra special - the only studio album since Different Stages was 2002's Vapor Trails). The last live album, 1998's Different Stages, met with what can perhaps be best described as a lukewarm reception. Many die-hard fans were not impressed with the selection of songs for the album, and had been asking for an entire show to be released on CD and/or DVD. It was a beautiful sounding CD, don't get me wrong, I just don't think a lot of fans took to it as well as the band would have liked.

I'm going to take a quick detour here. I collect concert bootlegs from Rush (yes, I am not afraid to admit that!). Over the years I've collected somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 concerts that span their entire career. Some are good, some are bad, but I treasure each one of them. A bootleg (audience recorded or soundboard recorded) gives you a good, raw, real representation of the show: the sound of the band, the variations and improvisations of the night, any mistakes that were made, and the emotion of the crowd. The latter I find to be a big perk of a bootleg - a good crowd can add so much to a show. Exit. . . Stage Left (Rush's second live album) pretty much filtered out the crowd, and the show ended up sounding sterile. Different Stages had a great crowd feel to it, and the music sounded great, but with 70+ shows recorded to pull material from, it in some ways felt like a studio album recorded in a live setting.

Rush in Rio seems to address all of those issues, and if you read the liner notes from the DVD or watch the documentary, you'll understand why: the recording setup was primitive (by their standards), there was no soundcheck that night, and the crowd was wild. I don't think they could overdub mistakes, etc. for this because of the unique combination of factors; it would seem to me that to base a CD and DVD off of this show that this would be the only show you could pull material from.

The setlist of the 3 CDs and DVDs is composed of the entire setlist from the Vapor Trails tour - 29 songs in all, spanning their entire career. Things I never thought I would hear live in my lifetime. . . Working Man, By-tor and the Snow Dog, La Villa Strangiato, made even more magical by the fact that Geddy, Alex, and Neil are so much better musicians than they were when they originally recorded those songs. While the DVD contains only the tracks that appeared in the Rio show, the CD adds in two of the three tracks they rotated into the setlist throughout the tour (Between Sun and Mood, and Vital Signs). Why they didn't include Ceiling Unlimited I'll never know, but I won't complain too loudly.

The crowd was insane. The night before the Rio show, Rush played to a crowd of 60,000 - the largest audience of their career. While the Rio show had only 40,000 in attendance, they were utterly rabid. I have never seen an entire crowd sing to an instrumental number! Completely nuts! They were so loud that there was only so much Alex could do in production to limit the amount of audience noise, which (to me anyhow) is quite alright. It makes this recording feel more like a bootleg.

For all you can say about the quality of the recording rig at the show, the band more than made up for it with their performance. They completely nailed it. In two hours and 55 minutes of music (when was the last time you can say your favorite band played that long?), I picked up one minor mistake made by the band. I think leaving that mistake in is a testament to the honesty of this recording. In all actuality I don't know that most casual listeners could have picked up the error either (I just listen to Rush bootlegs so much that I know the ins and outs of so many of their performances - I should try to become their producer! ;)

In addition to the Rio concert in it's entirety, the DVD ships with an hour long documentary about the band and the trip to Brazil, multi-camera versions of three of the songs from the show (pick the angle you like best!), and a couple of easter eggs: the full, uncut cartoon from By-tor and the Snow Dog, and a video of their song Anthem from 1975. Talk about a throwback!

You definately get some good value with this purchase. At Best Buy anyhow, I was able to pick up the DVD set and the CD set together for $35. Individually priced, it would have amounted to $45, which is still a hell of a deal for what you get. It pleases me to see that unlike so many other bands that Rush is devoted to their fans and not the almighty dollar. Certainly they could have produced a lesser work, or charged more for it, but neither is in their nature.

I could continue to drone on and on about this release, so I think I'll try to wind it up here. Rush in Rio is a must have for any Rush fan, a very worthwhile addition to the music collection of any rock fan, and well worth a listen even if you're new to Rush. It very accurately captures the feeling and emotion of a Rush concert, and is a true testament to the musical talent these three have developed over their 30 year career. After a 5-year hiatus filled with personal tragedy, it's great to see Rush back and at the top of their game.

Did I mention Rush in Rio kicks ass? ;)

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