I am part of that faction of rock fans who think that Canadian power-trio Rush is something great. I loved last years documentary about the group, Living on the Lighted Stage. One of the best of the genre. While mostly affectionate, that doc did acknowledge criticism of singer Geddy Lee – and how his high-pitched vocals are not for everyone.
While that voice may keep Rush out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, it has not kept them from earning massive respect of other musicians and legions of fans. Their anthemic songs have helped them sell more records than almost any artist touring today.
As a fan I was hopeful that the mostly sympathetic portrait present in Living on the Lighted Stage of three humble and nice guys (isn’t that the Canadian way?) might make the case for reconsidering them for the Cleveland based hall. No such luck. Nominations and inductions are out and they aren’t there again. Alice Cooper over Rush? Seriously?
Now comes another opportunity for reconsideration by way of the always excellent Eagle Vision Classic Albums series. In what might be a first, this episode (available on Blu Ray) is double one – examining not one but twoRush albums, 2112 and Moving Pictures. This might just be too much of a good thing.
Rush’s mega success came by way of the runway created by Permant Waves‘ two great songs Spirit of Radioand Freewill. Both became FM radio staples. By the time the needle hit the vinyl for Moving Pictures, the public was hungry for what were to become “the most requested songs from our catalogue” – Tom Sawyer, Limelight, Red Barchetta. Waves also debuted and one of the greatest displays of monster music chops in rock music, the instrumental YYZ.
All these classic tracks are dissected in typical Classic Albums’ informative way with producer Terry Brown and members of Rush having a seat at the recording board isolating various tracks while providing anecdotes about the album. For any fan of the band or the album, this is essential stuff – you won’t want to miss it. Hard to believe that YYZ started as a jam between drummer Neil Peart and bassist Geddy Lee. Quite a jam session!
The 2112 section not as enjoyable. I am not sure I understand why this album, rather than say Signals orPermanent Waves were examined. They seem like better candidates for Classic albums than 2112. 2112 is weird album – one song takes up a whole side – and while it helped them “solidify their sound as a band” I am not sure there is much pent up demand for this deeper dive into that particular record. Much back-story is presented that was better covered in Living on the Lighted Stage. I suppose if you haven’t seen that documentary, this might be more interesting to you than it was too me.
As with the entire Classic Albums series these are minor criticisms. It is still the only must have series in music video – every edition, even the less-than-great ones, are eye and ear candy to serious music fans. The band Rush truly deserved a treatment and the Moving Pictures section of this DVD is as good as any in the series.
In crystal clear Blu-Ray from Eagle Vision.