Rush by the sounds of it are calling it a day! Over 40 years of playing as a power trio(countless albums,tours and praises from everyone all over). Let’s face it if this indeed the end I’m ok with it! Reason being these dudes as in Geddy Lee(vocals/bass) Alex Lifeson(all things guitar) and (The Professor ) on drums Neil Peart have set the bar of musical supremacy so high that they would rather pack it in than flog their craft for an easy payday if their chops were to lag….
There is no lagging of musical chops on R40 as Rush play at an intensity so high that it’s kinda sad they may just not do it anymore! Geddy,Neil and Alex just 3 years ago released Clockwork Angels (my number 2 album of 2012 over at Ladanos year-end best list)which many viewed as there best piece of rock in decades so there was no signs of a dip in creativity whatsoever.
R40 was recorded over two nights in the boys hometown of Toronto which in turn may ring true that it’s the end of the road as it began for Rush in Toronto and could well be with this live dvd/ audio representation. Hope not! But with these guys pushing into their 60s it could and can Ya blame them?
So what we got is the full meal Prog deal offered by Rush! 29 Songs over 160 minutes of pure genius in musical gold!
My good pal Metal Todds favourite band Tool whose producer David Bottril did the audio producing of this and does a fantastic job keeping the crunch of Lifesons guitars intact,the smooth almost dry like sound of Pearts drums with an added crystal clear mix of his cymbals and with Lee, Bottril keeps the bass cranked and the keys never overpower Alex’s guitars!
So what we’re doing here is this review is gonna be broken up into 3 reviews a first here at Arena Rock for one album! So basically I’m gonna go track by track about 10 songs or so that will end each part as if I were to yammer on about it all in one shot I would lose my mind! Well what’s left of it!
This as you read along in my blog is the ultimate set list of Rush tunes and hey Greatest Hits Guru’s (Rockin Roberts and BMellis)buy this and Prog out!
Also one more thing, Rush works their way back through the set from there latest studio album(Clockwork Angels/2012)all the way back to their debut (Rush/1974)
Wowzers! Enough get to it DeKEs….
THE ANARCHIST-Working Them Angels from the Snakes and Arrows studio album ushers Rush in and the Rush party begins with Pearts drums and Lifeson joins in while Geddys bass jives and we’re off! The Anarchist rocks and what a great opener not one you would think would kick things off but it works!
HEADLONG FLIGHT-Bass man tons of Bass leads off track 2 and Headlong Flight sounds like the beginning of Bastille Day played at 78 rpms! Hey folks if you’re gonna borrow music borrow from yourself! The song drives at a rapid clip and of course with all things Rush theres dips and doodles of musical super chops tossed in and a quick little Peart drum solo tossed in that makes you wanna air drum! Ha!
FAR CRY-Another rocker out of the gate! Rush lift off and man can you not dig those time changes! This is Rush rocking the pre chorus with Geddy shifting all over the bass neck and he sings it real good as well.
THE MAIN MONKEY BUSINESS-Straight up musical to rest Geddys vocals and to show Rush’s jam like musical muscle(like they need one). Cool use of Neil’s percussion throughout the dudes a machine and Alex tosses down one of many lightening bolts of solos as well…
HOW IT IS-Geddy tells the Toronto faithful that it’s time to play a tune that fell through the cracks from Vapor Trials and that’s How It Is. A great song and Geddys right folks this is a forgotten one but Rush makes amends and play this mid tempo song and deliver it with a possible message of hope and don’t stop giving it as that how it is! Nice little solo from Alex and for Neil he just takes it chill on those drums……
ANIMATE-Neil rocks the drums out of the gates with a solid opening and who better to lead the charge! I do love the keys and Geddys bass locked in along with Alex’s guitars as well on Animate. This song has some real crunch and well it should as it was the opening number on 1993s Counterparts album! This is Rush hanging with the Seattle Sound at the height of GrungerMania! Rush responded with a heavy guitar rock sound at the time and all of us Rushians loved it! Animate is just a plain all out no holds barred Rock track!
ROLL THE BONES-As per protocol here at Arena Rock I preordered R40 off of iTunes and with the preorder came Roll The Bones! Watch the video as during the rap you can see a few fellows that you may know from TV and the Movies! Hint how about some Game Of Thrones with a little Rage and Trailer Park thrown in with a little Love Ya Man https://superdekes.wordpress.com/2015/09/26/rushroll-the-boneslive-r40-tour/
BETWEEN THE WHEELS-Holy Hell I love this tune! “You know how that Rabbit feels going under your speeding wheels. Bright images passing by like windshields towards a fly!” Great lyrics by Neil and this song starts with big Lifeson crunch riffs and Geddy adding sharp little jagged edges of keyboard hits until the pre chorus when Rush like so many times breaks down to there little hard rocking 3 piece unit and blast off! This song flat-out cooks!
LOSING IT-Geddy tells the crowd that there going to play a song they have never played live before and hopefully they won’t screw it up(haha??) with a special guest and that would be Ben Mink who played the electric violin on Signals from which Losing It appeared! Rush slow the speed dial right down and no it’s not a ballad its a slow progger but I tell you all it kicks into gear towards the end and Mink razzles and dazzles the violin strings and hey how many cats can say they joined Rush on stage to jam it as a 4 piece? None to my recollection!
SUBDIVISIONS-“Conform Or Be Cast Ooooout Subdivisons!” Preaches Geddy and guess what 33 years later this song resonated with me as i was never the cool kid in high school just a squirt who dug hard rock played at loud volumes! So even though in 1982 i never picked up on it but actually Geddy was singing Neil’s lyrics to me and many others! Ha ….only took me 33 years to figure this out! Hahaha! Subdivisons man i will say it’s one of my fav Rush tracks. Love Neil’s robotic like drumming and Geddy synthing like there’s no tomorow until the chorus when the synth is kicked to the curb and Geddys bass grumbles with ferocity and we’re off with Neil and Alex. Also of note what another top-notch guitar solo from Alex. The dude is one of the best on the six strings! No doubt ….Watch the video posted from R40! Crank it….
TOM SAWYER-Even if you’re not a Rushian fan(shame on you!) Tom Sawyer you know whether you like it or not! Myself, Loooove it! Love the infectious power chords of Prog Rock galore and big sonic booms of Lifeson,Lee and Peart who we all have at various points of our lives have air banded too! Lifeson is funny as hell, so watch the video when he acts like he’s smoking dope! The solo section for me is one of my personal points of interest of this tune and for what it’s worth every one talks about Neil and Geddys chops individualy but how about together! When they lock up during Lifesons off the rail solo it is so good with Neil slammimg those drums and Geddys fingers running wild on his bass they are so ahead of everyone musically it’s sick! Of course Neil does his drum rolls which you never get tired of hearing!
YYZ-Rush tosses out another musical only tune from Moving Pictures and once again flex their Musical Muscle complete with over the top bass riffing,swell guitaring, hard drum bashing added with a sprinkle of some keys and boom this song clicks at a rapid pace!
Cruise back here on Friday for R40 Part 2……..more songs …70s Rush straight ahead!