Even for diehard Rush fans this is something of a monolith. A whopping
three DVDs of live material that weighs in at three and a half hours, and
that's before you even consider the bonus CD of the Grace Under Pressure
Being a collection of three separately released live videos, however,
this was never meant to be viewed at one sitting... At least not unless you take
sadistic pleasure from subjecting your neighbours to long bouts of
progressive rock! Nor are you likely to want to see three versions of
Closer To The Heart in proximity.
But that's where most gripes end, as it should be pointed out that
Universal have done a fantastic job on packaging and pricing, the outlay
being only slightly more than for a single disc.
For Rush completists there is the temptation of several tracks that appearing on the format for the first time, and the discs
are drawn at sufficiently different periods in the band's phenomenal career
to reward even the curious viewer.
First up is ExitÉ Stage Left, filmed in Montreal in 1981. As with almost
all Rush live performances, the band's energy and cohesion propel the music to a
higher plane. The musical chemistry between Geddy Lee and Alex
Lifeson is clear to see as they trade double fret motifs on Freewill,
ending with a mighty suite that climaxes in the 2112 finale.
Grace Under Pressure is also a home fixture, this time from Toronto in
1984, and finds the band updated with 1980s synthesiser equipment, a big
screen backdrop and impressive lighting. Lee briefly pokes his head above a
vast array of keyboards to supply the vocals for The Weapon, one of the
exclusive tracks that make a considerable mark and a clear product of their
electronic direction with fans donning their 3-D glasses to witness the
Here, as elsewhere, Neil Peart's drumming is a highlight (the
closing fills to Witch Hunt in particular), and he often seems to be trying
to drum his way out of captivity in this concert, surrounded entirely by
toms and snares.
This gig, unlikely as it may seem, is precursory to
the set-up of Muse, focussing on the stunning musicianship between
the three as they head into the formidable trio of YYZ, Temples Of Syrinx and Tom
Finally A Show of Hands, which is potentially the biggest draw since it is filled out on
disc with six more songs. Taken from the 1988 Birmingham NEC concert, it features Peart
giving an impressive intro for In The Mood, while the 2112 overture hangs
by a thread with some amusing banter as Lee and Lifeson almost mess each
otherÕs parts up.
ItÕs an expensive hobby, being a Rush fan. However, even before considering
the music this is a desirable package for the extensive liner notes and
artwork, with each member of the band contributing. Cross referencing these with
the music is increasingly rewarding as each show progresses, making this a suitable
document of one of the finest live rock acts of the past three decades.