on May 12, 2006
Of all the major bands of my teens, only Rush and U2 have never done a "comeback" or a "reunion." This, of course, is because they've never been gone.
There is something almost eerie about that. Twenty years ago, my friends and I were playing furious air guitar with pool sticks in my parents' basement, while a vinyl copy of "2112" did its best to exceed the limits of a hand-me-down stereo.
Today, I'm a husband and father, working very hard to keep the gut away. Yet somehow, Alex, Geddy and Neil are still here, just like they always were - and like me they've gotten older and (except for Geddy) a bit wider around the middle. Which makes it even cooler that they still ABSOLUTELY ROCK!
During the Overture on this R30 DVD, they seamlessly present themes from 2112, Fly By Night, Rush, Hemispheres and more. If you close your eyes, and just listen, you expect to open them and see young, skinny, long-haired Rush straining vintage 1970's equipment in some kind of Rock and Roll time warp. You expect to suddenly hear Geddy go high and start singing those searing notes that he used to hit.
When you open your eyes, you see older, wider, short-haired (except for Geddy) Rush straining modern equipment, changed physically by time but obviously still the exact same band that inspired me, for example, to take my speakers off my wall in college and lay down between them so that I could catch every last nuance of the entire "Farewell to Kings" album on one of the first CD's I ever bought.
As the years went by, I moved on to other bands, and my complete Rush CD collection began to scatter into the piles with the hundreds of others. I thought that I had moved on.
In watching this concert with the headphones cranked up, I got that same sense of awe and excitement I had in college. I found myself sitting upright, not just listening but mentally cheering for my onetime heroes, who were suddenly heroes all over again.
I haven't seen the "Rio" DVD, but in R30 Rush will remind every true fan of why we're all so happy that they have never gone away. I have a huge DVD music collection, and some of it is buried way in the back. R30 is one to keep on the front row.
on November 18, 2005
Rush - R30 is released on DVD in two different packs. The 2-DVD Package includes the Frankfurt concert on disc one with a second DVD of rare vintage performance footage and interviews culled from the last three decades. The Deluxe Edition contains both of the aforementioned DVDs, but also includes the Frankfurt concert on two bonus CDs which are not available separately. The Deluxe Edition also includes two limited edition Rush guitar picks and a souvenir backstage pass.
Forget the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. It is vastly inferior to the PCM stereo track offered as an alternative. The surround mix has a tendency to sound booming with echoing vocals, no great definition to the instruments or sharpness to the tight drum sounds. It is slightly warmer and less clinical than the stereo track however, it has to be said. The audience noise - such a major and controversial element on the mixing of Rush In Rio, is kept well down in the mix here, only faintly audible on the rear speakers between tracks. Despite the controversy, I enjoyed this enveloping mix on Rush In Rio - but it certainly didn't please everyone.
The PCM track then is the only way to listen to R30. I mean, seriously. The difference is incredible - deep, sharp and reverberating, with fineness of detail and clarity of tone. A little clinical in places perhaps, but that's what we want, isn't it? Well, obviously, not everyone...
Despite the use of hi-definition video, the picture quality is inevitably going to find it difficult to cope with stage lighting and unfortunately there are the usual issues with chroma noise, pixilation, dot crawl and combing. Few of the problems can be easily detected in normal playback, but you will get the impression of a slight blurring in movement from the combing and a jaggedness or kind of crystallisation around brightly-lit objects caused by some nasty pixilation. An example of this can be seen in the screencapture below. Overall though, the transfer is well up to handling the variety of colour schemes in the concert lighting. There are no complaints about the filming style. The show uses less cameras than Rush In Rio, but they are well placed and unobtrusive, avoiding too many quick cuts and they have no effects applied other than the occasional dissolve, picking up the right angles and focus for each song.
The second disc of the set includes an hour and a half of fascinating rare archive performances, both mimed studio and live performances and a number of television interviews. Beware of some very dodgy haircuts and fashions.
Interview with at Hamilton Ivor Wynne Stadium (1979) (9:52). On the A Farewell to Kings Tour, Geddy Lee talks about the growing success of the band and their approach - moving away from conceptual albums - to their new album, the then unrecorded and untitled Permanent Waves.
Studio interview at Le Studio, Montreal (1980) (12:59). All three members of the band discuss their new approach to writing and recording, and their enjoyment of live performance. Neil and Geddy do most of the talking, Alex goofs around - as usual.
1980sArtist of the Decade (1990) (15:32). A fabulous interview with all the members of the band interviewed separately, reflecting on the highs and lows of their career and illustrating the indomitable spirit of Rush.
CBC Television: Juno Awards show (1994) (17:33). An awards ceremony to celebrate Rush's induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, this features interview and performance clips, including a tribute from Mike Myers and other celebrity fans. Again, the band's sense of humour comes through here.
Interview for release of Vapor Trails (2002) (12:51). Alex and Geddy talk about the apprehension of going back to the studio and how the band spirit and music came together again after a long separation. There's some reflection on the hard work that made them successful, like the recording of 1974's Fly By Night in 4 days in between the 250 gigs they played that year.
The Anthem Vault
Fly By Night (3:25) is a mimed performance in a studio from 1975 - one of the Church Session Videos.
Finding My Way (4:22) and In The Mood (3:20) are of very rough quality, shown in small, window-boxed format because of the low and fuzzy quality of the video. Nevertheless they feature furious and energetic live performances of these early tracks and are well worth inclusion regardless of the picture quality.
Circumstances (3:43) is a live in the studio performance which overuses the starburst filter on the camera.
La Villa Strangiato (10:12), is a full straight run-through of the song live in 1978 - a virtuoso display from Alex Lifeson demonstrating his ability to get an incredible range of sounds from one guitar.
A Farewell to Kings (5:52) and Xanadu (11:10) feature the band in flowing capes during their madrigal period. These are mimed to studio performances on a stage setting.
The Spirit of Radio (1:02) is a brief soundcheck at the Hamilton Ivor Wynne Stadium in 1979.
Freewill (5:34) is a recording from the Toronto Rocks / Rolling Stones Concert, 2003, and by God, Geddy Lee can still hit those high notes!
Closer to the Heart (3:25) sees the band with a couple of guests performing in a recording studio for the Canadian Tsunami Disaster Fund charity telethon on CBC television in 2005. This is a lovely little performance.
Well, this definitely captures the same show I saw in Glasgow during the UK leg of the R30 tour, with the band still showing no sign of aging, slowing down or mellowing out. It has however better sound than the booming acoustics of the SEC, and you get a better view of the band than I had stuck at the front of the second block centre. I can't claim to be objective in this review or even speak for all Rush fans, but from a personal perspective, this is a great recording and wonderful souvenir from that tour, fully living up to any expectation I could have from the band in concert. There are still a few technical issues with this release, but with a stunning PCM Stereo track it is unlikely to be as controversial as the mix on Rush In Rio. In terms of extra features this is a little gold-mine for long-time fans, with an amazing selection of archive material from many periods of the band's career. We all now eagerly await another album and tour from a band who still seem to be on top form, not yet ready to rest on their laurels, but always capable of progressing their musical ability.
on December 12, 2006
THE SET: (2005) There are two versions of this "R30" DVD release. The 2-disc version (DVD's only), and the deluxe 4-disc version (2 DVD's and 2 CD's). For some reason, as of December 2006, the 2-disc set is more expensive than the 4-disc set here on Amazon. Disc-1 gives you the 130 minute concert from Frankfurt, Germany (Sept 2004) filmed in 5.1 Surround. Disc-2 gives you five interviews and 10 videos (some live, some staged) from the archives. Disc-3 and Disc-4 are CD's of the same Frankfurt concert from Disc-1... both music discs run just over 61 minutes. The deluxe set comes with 2 guitar picks (with Lee's and Lifeson's stamped autograph); and a nice 22-page booklet containing numerous band photos over the last 3 decades, DVD written contents, and a list of those that labored with the band (tour crews, editors, mgmt, etc). Label - Anthem.
COMMENTS: This is a must own for any Rush fan. As of this release, Rush has 28 studio/live/compilation releases... a massive career beginning with their 1974 debut. Simply a ton of great music. Disc-1 opens with a very cool 2-minute animated intro - incorporating all the artwork from each of their albums; followed by a short intro (not sure what else to call it) from comedian Jerry Stiller. Rush's Frankfurt concert itself is shot beautifully and the camera speed it moves from shot to shot is not too fast (as many music DVD's are). The track list is great - though with such a large catalog of songs to choose from, there was going to be some glaring omissions of some classic songs (i.e. - "Fly By Night", "Freewill", "New World Man", "One Little Victory", "The Trees", "Closer To The Heart", "Distant Early Warning", etc). The band sounds absolutely awesome. As much as Lifeson's guitar solos are highlights, Peart's drum solo ("Der Trommler") is mesmerizing. Geddy Lee's bass is a constant, and his voice can still hit the high notes (well, most of the time). The interviews on disc-2 (about 55 minutes in total) are a nice insight to the band. From Geddy Lee's interview in 1979 outside Ivor Wynne Stadium (in Hamilton) through their 2002 Vapor Trails band interview... discussing a wide range of topics - from their albums, concepts/ideas, successes, failures & hard times, image, touring, audience reactions, influences, unique sound, anger, memories, balance and staying power. My favorite of these interviews was the Juno Hall Of Fame induction - with many famous faces contributing (Tom Cochran, Mike Myers, Sebastian Bach, Tragically Hip, Kim Mitchell, Primus, Soundgarden, Joe Carter & Paul Molitor from the Toronto Blue Jays, and more). The videos on disc-2 were neat for the nostalgia buffs - great songs being played (or lip-synced), complete with corny sets, dated clothes, bad haircuts/perms, terrible sound and a much smaller drum kit for Neil Peart. The highlights are probably "A Farewell To Kings" and the more recent in-studio "Closer To The Heart". The compact discs are a bonus to listen to on the home stereo or cranked in the car. A truly awesome package all the way around (5 stars).
on December 8, 2009
This is a beautiful looking Blu-ray and the sound is amazing. This is a must have even if you have the dvd version. This is only the concert but it is the entire concert. No extras. R30 on Blu-Ray features, for the first time ever, Rush's entire sold out concert in Frankfurt, Germany from their 2004 - 30th Anniversary Tour. With the entire concert being on this Blu-Ray, this means that 8 tracks that were not on the original DVD, are here for you to enjoy. This concert was shot in High Definition, 16:9 Widescreen, PCM Stereo, and Dolby Digital 5.1. BONUS TRACKS THAT WERE NOT ON THE ORIGINAL DVD:
4.One Little Victory
6.Red Sector A
7.La Villa Strangiato
8.By-Tor and the Snow Dog
on November 23, 2005
I bought the Deluxe set last night. I bought this set primarily for the CDs and DVDs. The other extra content (the guitar picks, etc) didn't add much value for me.
I threw the CDs into my car stereo, started to listen, and found some initial joy. The sound quality is great. The crowd noise is much more muted and doesn't get in the way of the music. (Personally, the crowd noise from the Rio set didn't bother me much, and it actually added something to the recording, but that's a matter of taste). The "updated" synth sounds on "A Show of Hands" are out - 80s tracks like Subdivisions go back to their synth roots while retaining a fresh sound.
Also, when I played the DVDs at home, the production is very clean (no comment on the 1 sec layer-switching pause). The music is VERY clean. I haven't checked yet to see if they utilized the multiple camera angle feature (like being able to watch Neil play the entire concert) - that would be cool. I would have preferred a little less jumping around from camera to camera, but everyone to his own on that.
With all that said, I have a bigger overall complaint about the content. In the end, R30 left me wanting more varied content. If you already own Rush in Rio, there's some substantial repetition here. Also, of the tracks not on the Rio set, only Between the Wheels (perhaps because it's "new") and the intro medley truly stand out.
Note to Rush: Please - I want more of the "B sides" (i.e. Between the Wheels) and less of the hits (i.e. Tom Sawyer). Don't get me wrong - Red Sector A, YYZ, Tom Sawyer, and Mystic Rhythms are among my favorite Rush tracks (I'm a HUGE 80's era Rush fan), but I want something new in your live records. I mean, I now own 3 live recordings of Tom Sawyer - but none of Vital Signs or The Camera Eye. I have live 2 recordings of Subdivisions and Red Sector A, but none of Losing It or Afterimage. Bring us more of tracks like "Between the Wheels"!
If you guys did a mostly B Sides (rarely if ever played on tour) show, and then released that content on DVD/CD, I'd pay a fortune to be there and own the recordings! Until then, we'll have to wade through more recordings of Closer to the Heart.
Bottom line - if you own Rush in Rio and you like the crowd mix and energy (definitely try before you buy), R30 will leave you a little flat, despite the inclusion of new tracks. Stick with Rio and maybe buy the separate downloads that are missing if/when they're available. If you hated the muddy sound and you want a cleaner recording, get this set. Buying both is a little overkill, even though they serve different purposes. If I HAD to choose, I'd take the Rio set by a nose because of the crowd energy...
on October 12, 2005
I was disappointed on behalf of Rush when I learned, from Rod Stiffington's review (below) of the R30 DVD, that the product is of poor quality. I had been really looking forward to this release considering the 14 HD cameras, 16:9 format, 5.1 Surround, superior lighting, performance, historical context, liner notes, interviews, photographs, packaging, unseen studio footage from the 70s, etc. Oh wait - Rod Stiffington has not actually seen or heard the DVD. He gives it one star not because of the performance, sound or video quality, but because the band decided only 22 of 30 songs were performed well enough or were appropriate enough (i.e. non-redundant) for inclusion. I feel robbed and under-appreciated. Maybe Rush had good reasons to eliminate a few tunes (ya think?). Thank heavens they dropped One Little Victory, Secret Touch, By-Tor, and Red Sector A, neither of which made much sense to repeat only one year after the VT tour and its accompanying DVD (on the other hand, I could have tolerated YYZ and Bravado yet again). I'll give R30 five stars in advance to counter Stiffington's less-than-enlightening assessment.
on November 16, 2011
As far as content goes...as far as finding a Rush concert on Blu-Ray that provides awesome bang for the buck...you can't go wrong with this one. Way better than the videotaped "Rush In Rio" and their 80's live releases (compiled in "Rush Replay X3"), on a par with the later-released "Snakes & Arrows Live", if you must own only one Rush Blu-Ray, this is the one I would go for. The song selection is excellent (and contains many more songs left off the original DVD release), the performances are incredible, the DTS soundtrack blows you away, and the filming is top-notch.
However...if you previously bought this on DVD and are looking to upgrade, don't toss out that old version just yet. This one-disc version does NOT include any of the bonus features included on disc 2 of the DVD version, which consisted of many rarely-seen videos/promo films/assorted rarities from the 70's (which served as sort of a "Chronicles Vol. 2", for anyone who got that excellent collection). So if you value those bonus features, this is merely going to upgrade disc 1 of your existing set and not replace the package entirely. For most people, this may not matter, but for me...I know I'll still be holding on to my old "R30" DVD.
on November 18, 2012
In my eyes, this is the finest live document of one of rock's greatest bands.
Yes, the band is older and a bit paunchier. Yes, Geddy has trouble hitting all of those spine-tingling, high falsetto wails of decades past. But as far as musical prowess is concerned, I don't think the band has been captured in better form than they have on this dvd release.
I am admittedly a rabid fan of Rush, having seen them roughly 60 times over the years, so you may consider me biased. But after witnessing that many tours dating back to the late 70s, I feel I have some right to fairly critique the band. Not every show has been perfect, but I can honestly say that even on an off night these guys are technically more proficient than many of rock's contemporaries.
There is always disappointment with Rush's live setlist as their canon of recorded music is far too vast to touch on every album, but by and large the band does an admirable job delivering a cross-section of their history here.
I should point out that there are several different versions of this DVD available. I own the standard resolution, deluxe DVD version with the 2nd bonus disc, as well as the blu-ray version. For the most part, this review will pertain to the blu-ray version. However, readers should be aware that while the blu-ray release has 10 tracks that were not on the standard def release, the bonus material available on the standard version is NOT available on the blu-ray release. Hence my owning both formats. It is unfortunate that the extra stuff was not made available on the blu-ray because it is definitely worth owning, particularly for a true fan. You get some cool interviews as well as some archival live performances, some going way back to 1979. More than likely that footage would not have benefitted much from a high def transfer, but at least people would not feel as ill-used having to purchase both formats to own it.
In any case, the band has matured greatly over the years and this shows in their playing. They are tighter than ever. Gone are the silly capes and blouses that the band wore in the beginning. These have been replaced by jeans and tee shirts. The double-neck guitars and that Rickenbacker bass that Geddy used to play make only brief appearances these days. While there are considerable visual enhancements to the live show; lasers, fire, high-tech projected backdrop and amusing filmed vignettes featuring such celebrities as Jerry Stiller, the emphasis remains on the music. If you are reading this you will probably not dispute that these three gentleman are among the greatest musicians in the business. From Geddy Lee's astounding multi-tasking, playing bass and keys while simultaneously singing, to Alex Lifeson's criminally underrated guitar playing and Neil Peart's legendary timekeeping, these guys are great fun to watch. Particularly if you are a musician yourself. Camerawork is tastefully done, never lingering for too long, nor jumping around to the point of distraction, as is sometimes the case in concert films. 1080 picture is beautifully clear and sound is lovely as well. Neil's custom made DW drumset is gorgeous with it's red shells and gold hardware, and the man uses every single piece of it. Just amazing.
Highlights for me are the excerpts from "Hemispheres" and "Xanadu" included in the two medleys on the disc. I normally am not a fan of the medley as I would rather hear a song in it's entirety, but again, I understand the time constraints given the amount of music to cull from. Besides, the opening medley takes an interesting instrumental approach to what would normally be vocal songs. Nice touch boys. The musical interplay between the 3 guys in the first few minutes of "Xanadu" are absolutely goosebump inducing.
"Red Barchetta" may be the best version I've heard, with Geddy's extended soloing towards the end. So good. Great to hear them break out "Between The Wheels" from the Grace Under Pressure record. A song that hadn't been part of their live set for many years, this one gives Alex a chance to stretch out a bit.
And of course, there's Neil's drum solo. There are only a handful of drummers whose solos don't bore me to tears. This man is one of them. The Buddy Rich inspired jazz portion is just spectacular. I'd listen to Neil play only a snare drum and hi-hat and be content, but we all know that's not his way. The man is a MONSTER.
And, the stellar version of "La Villa Strangiato", with Alex's goofy jazz rant is outstanding.
I have read some criticisms here, and apart from the packaging issues regarding content, I don't know how this DVD could have been made more appealing. The Rush Replay X 3 set is out there for those that prefer the more "vintage" experience, but I really think the band is all around better here. Plus the resolution and sound is so much better on R30. No vocalist sounds the same forever and I sometimes miss Geddy's youger pipes, but I think these guys have aged gracefully. I further think that this release offers a better, more diverse and more inspired performance. Snakes and Arrows Live is very good, but lacks alot of the older stuff I favor. Time Machine 2011 contains Moving Pictures performed in it's entirety, but I don't think Geddy's voice was in peak form that evening, so this is the one to buy in my opinion. Perhaps my one criticism pertaining to all Rush concert DVDs is the inclusion of certain songs on virtually every release. If I had to leave a few tracks off the discs due to time, I'd probably choose some of the stuff that has been included numerous times before, such as "Tom Sawyer" or "Limelight". Don't get me wrong, it's not that they aren't great songs, it's just that we have so many recorded versions already, it would be nice to hear some of the lesser played material instead.
on December 2, 2005
I finally received Rush's R30 DVD today (Nov. 28) - and I say finally, because I had been counting the days for a couple of months - eagerly anticipating the moment. Like most of the Rush-Brotherhood that here voice their opinions, I've not been let down by our Canadian heroes with this release.
The overall sound of R30 is absolutely wonderful; clearly superior to several of Rush's studio releases. Every instrument is exactly where it needs to be in the mix and Alex's guitars have never sounded better live. The sound delivered during his solos is simply perfect.
Highlights of the concert: Between the Wheels, Red Barchetta and the R30 Overture. (Red Barchetta's R30 version easily rivals the Exit... Stage Left version; it's that good!).
Also really exciting: Xanadu, Subdivisions, Grand Finale (2112), Heart Full of Soul (acoustic). The R30 Xanadu version is great but not as atmospheric/evocative and thrilling as their Exit... Stage Left release. The R30 version of Subdivisions is perfect; heads above their ASOH release.
Still don't own R30? Go GED it!!
Now allow me for some criticism... (Blasphemy, in know!):
- Animate's tempo - established by Neil - was too slow. The song dragged.
- Rush live performances could benefit from more volume-variety (crescendos and decrescendos). Many of the songs have them compositionally "built-in" by design as recorded in their studio versions. IMO Animate is a good example of a song that needs the volume nuances. The pizzicatos (right-hand mutting) and softer playing by the "rhythm section" is needed so that when the chorus arrives again "Polarize me..., etc" it can be played in full volume to contrast and excite.
- Geddy has been experiencing serious intonation problems with Limelight for years. The song is great; the lyrical content/message perfectly suited to end their R30 show and the solo by Lerxst is masterful/classic, even "wrist-cutting material" but Geddy fails to be able to convincingly sing its melody.
- Too much material from their Feedback EP, although that is hardly surprising being their last studio effort and much easier to perform than Rush's own notoriously difficult music.
- The drum solo seems formulaic by now. New fans of Rush will find it a real treat though.
- Too bad Rush decided to drop Bytor and the Snow Dog from the R30 release but suspect the RiR version simply couldn't be outperformed.
How does R30 compare with Rush in Rio?
The sound quality of R30 is fantastic (not the case in RiR), however, the band's performance in Rio is even better. Now doubt Rush was motivated with the incredible audience in Rio (our german friends where missing-in-action) and perhaps also fueled by everything that preceeded the Vapor Trails tour. Also, Geddy's voice was in better form (more controlled, lyrical and tuned) in Rio than in R30. But, sound quality is too important a factor. Besides, the inclusion of Between the Wheels, Red Barchetta, Xanadu and the exciting R30 medley makes the R30 DVD a must buy - even for those who own RiR.
The 2nd disc full of rarities is really cool. I hope we will see more vault material in the subsequent Rush-DVD releases.
Song Wish-List for the next tour (others have done it here!):
- Freeze or Ceiling Unlimited
- Middletown Dreams or Analog Kid
- Ghost of a Chance or Alien Shore
- Presto (acoustic version instead of Resist, perhaps?)
- Finally, please don't drop Between the Wheels from the setlist!
on January 9, 2006
A review below gives the audio quality of the CD poor reviews. I can't comment on that as I only have the DVD. However, the DVD sound is amazing.
The DVD gives you the option to select either PCM Stereo or Surround Sound 5.1. I only have 2 speakers hooked up to my system, but they have great sound. This is one of the best recorded/mixed sound for DVD I have ever heard. Top notch! I own 8 concert DVDs and this is at the top of the list for sound.
The direction is excellent. I recently bought Peter Gabriel's Live and Unwrapped DVD concert. The editing is so bad- quick cut after quick cut after crazy angle. It's horrible. This RUSH DVD is edited so well. It's all substance. It hold shots on each player during solos and great drum fills and great bass fills. You get to watch all of Neil Peart's drum fills at just the right time and this video isn't afraid to hold a shot for 5 or 10 seconds.
Conclusion: This video evokes raw emotion from the viewer. The sound is great, it really is. I am a big critic of audio on a concert DVD and this exceeded my expectations. The disc with interviews and old performances "from the vault" are a joy to watch.
This DVD can be summed up in one word: "WOW!" If you have to choose between RUSH IN RIO or this, choose THIS!