Rush – “R40 – Live” 3CD / DVD / Bluray (Universal / Concorde)
Celebrating their 40 years together, the legendary trio of Rush have, by all rumors also decided to call it a day on large scale touring. As such last summer’s 35 date North American tour was probably the last time many fans, especially those in Europe, will get to see these Rock Hall of Famers, at least for a while. Thankfully, this hasn’t been lost on Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart, who’ve spared no expense in putting together a gargantuan live spectacle comprising a state-of-the-art stage with a massive multimedia visual backdrop, together producing different theatrical settings – and that’s not including the lasers, lighting rig and what must be one of the best PAs I’ve ever heard! Recorded over two sold-out shows at the Air Canada Centre in the band’s hometown of Toronto, it’s all masterfully captured with 14 cameras to present the band feature-film style. Beyond the extravagance, however, this 11th live release represents a very real journey back through time in the 31 songs here, taken from all eras with all my favorites covered right from ‘Working Man’ to ‘Closer To The Heart’, ‘Xanadu’ (complete with double-necked guitar!), ‘2112’, ‘Tom Sawyer’, ‘The Spirit of Radio’, ‘Subdivisions’ and ‘Roll The Bones’ – guess you can tell I’m a fan of old Rush ha ha! Ok, it’s not a perfect set (like missing ‘A Passage To Bangkok’) and with all the guys in their 60s even Geddy’s voice is showing the wear, but musically the band couldn’t have played it any better with note for note perfection in Lee’s fluid, dexterous bass runs now very much more appreciated in their prominence in the mix as Peart continues to remind the world that even if retirement beckons, he’s still one of the best drummers – ever. But for me, the star had to be Lifeson impressing with his amazing guitar work, from its powerful sound that really drove the material and the return to his long, epic solos no more appreciated than on the long awaited ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ (complete with tubular bells!), really taking me back to my youthful days – superb! This is classic Rush, and with their hometown crowd singing and cheering them on, even if this is the beginning of the end, then they couldn’t have gone out on a higher note.