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Rush In Rio

Tom Sawyer
Distant Early Warning
New World Man
Roll The Bones
The Pass
The Big Money
Closer To The Heart
Natural Science
One Little Victory
Ghost Rider
Secret Touch
Red Sector 'A'
Leave That Thing Alone
O Baterista
La Villa Strangiato
The Spirit Of Radio
By-Tor & The Snow Dog/
Cygnus X-1
Working Man

Rush In Rio CD
RUSH IN RIO, three-CD live album,
available in UK from East West Records,
includes 2 extra tracks.
December 2003 SITE MAP   SEARCH

Rush In Rio
featuring: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart

director: Daniel E. Catullo III

171 minutes (E) 2003
widescreen ratio 16:9
Sanctuary DVD Region 0 retail

RATING: 10/10
reviewed by Tony Lee
Remember the bad old days of music on VHS, when most filmed concerts ran for a standard TV length of 45 minutes? If you were lucky, a premier band released an hour of footage - or, in rare cases, 75 minutes worth. Canadian trio Rush have always provided far better value for money than most. Their previous live video, the remarkable A Show Of Hands (1988) - filmed over two nights at the NEC in Birmingham, clocked in at 90 minutes.

This is the first DVD from Rush and, despite various production difficulties including the band's lack of prep time for a soundcheck, it's an amazing film. Shot with 22 cameras in Rio de Janeiro's Maracanä Stadium (previously the venue for mega-shows by the likes of Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, and even Frank Sinatra) this concert sees Rush playing to a 40,000-strong audience on 23 November 2002, the final event of their recent tour (after a five-year break) to promote their 17th studio album Vapour Trails.

Opening with Tom Sawyer, the band recycles other 1980s' tracks like New World Man, before launching into new material with Earthshine. Unlike many progressive rock bands Rush play artfully composed instrumentals - such as their momentous YYZ without danger of appearing self-indulgent, because such works maintain their commitment to creativity and musicianship. The Pass is introduced as one of the band's own favourites (which, by happy coincidence, is one of mine too), and this is followed by the likes of Big Money and The Trees, with lyrics that comment on capitalism and politics. Closer To The Heart was a late addition to the tour's set-list especially for the Brazilian audiences, because Rush discovered it was the most popular of their songs, down south. The often-neglected Natural Science precedes a brief intermission, but the band return to the stage in spectacular fashion with a cartoon dragon on the main projection screen, perfectly synchronised to physical fire effects to mark the beginning of One Little Victory.

RUSH (L - R): Geddy Lee, Neil Peart, Alex Lifeson
The second half of the show continues with more songs from the latest album, and their live versions of Ghost Rider and Secret Touch are even more energetic than the studio tracks. Dreamline and the brooding Red Sector 'A' segue into the main instrumental section of the show, which includes Neil Peart's awesome solo O Baterista, an impressive piece that aims to present a narrative of drumming and drums. Rush have always pointedly ignored the rock stars' vogue for fashionable 'unplugged' versions of their songs, but here we find Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson sitting down with acoustic guitars for a folksy arrangement of Resist, which does at least give Peart a break from the circular array of his revolving drum kit.

It's mostly older material from then on, with the powerhouse 'Overture' from 2112, a livewire rendition of The Spirit Of Radio (still, I think, Rush's most successful 45-rpm single), a medley of By-Tor And The Snowdog/ Cygnus X-1 (only the intro, though), in an encore that closes with Working Man - a rarely performed track from their very first album.

At nearly three hours, Rush In Rio is magnificent entertainment, complete with Peart's frankly staggering variety of percussive beats, Lifeson's hilarious warbling rant about jazz, and well - there's also Lee's unusual stage-d�cor of washing machines! If your musical tastes include anything by Led Zeppelin, Rush may be regarded as the 'next generation' of innovative hard rock acts. Diehard fans will not be disappointed.

The second disc features Andrew MacNaughton's excellent documentary The Boys In Brazil (54 minutes), which details the planning and execution of Rush's first ever visit to Brazil for the tour's last three dates (all stadium shows) with the 60,000 crowd in San Paulo being the largest audience Rush have ever played to as a headline act. Other features are: MX multi-angle option (picture-in-picture) versions of the show's main three instrumental tracks with separate views focusing on each of the band. Plus hidden Easter egg extras: By-Tor cartoon and promo film of Rush's Anthem (from 1975).

This DVD coincides with the release of a three-CD live album (also titled Rush In Rio) available in UK from East West Records. It features two tracks (recorded at other venues on the tour) not included on the DVD. Between Sun And Moon is followed by an extraordinary rendition of Vital Signs.

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