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Country: North America, US, United States

City: 78218 San Antonio, Texas

  • John S. Harris "The Voice of Reason" - Big in scope yet still intimate

    Saw this concert film in its theatrical release on October 26, 2011.

    For guys pushing 60, the boys in Rush have the enthusiasm and stage energy of guys half their age. Their enthusiasm is infectious, with the band and the audience feeding off each other.

    This is a remarkably high-energy show, and the numerous cuts to the crowd show fans of all ages obviously having a wonderful time (as evidenced by the near-constant smiles on their faces). For such a large arena show, it feels surprisingly intimate.

    The band mines the depths of their extensive catalog with the setlist, including the title track from the album "Presto", and pull a suprising amount of energy out of "Marathon" from the album "Power Windows". I don't think they did any songs from "Grace Under Pressure", but IIRC they may have hit almost every album from "2112" forward, plus "Working Man" as the final encore.

    In both the concept videos and the live show the band plays around with the arrangements of a few of their best-known songs: listen up for brief polka, disco, and country arrangements of "The Spirit of Radio", among other treats.

    The lighting rig above the stage resembled spider legs at times. It looked expensive and elaborate, but for all its mobility I didn't notice a marked visual impact on the stage or show itself.

    The cameras capture the three performers having a great time playing jovially alongside each other, and even a few instances where they appear to engage individual members of the audience for a moment and a laugh. I can't recall ever seeing another band enjoy their time onstage together as much as Rush does, and they've been at it for nearly 40 years (current line-up).

    Neil's drum solo occurs about midway through the second half of the show, and despite some slight inconsistency in the rhythm of his hi-hats (an observation, not a criticism) he delivers on the promise of his reputation as one of rock's finest drummers. He once again ends with a nod to the Big Band era.

    Geddy's bass work still impresses: his improvisational "fills" sound intricate and effortless at the same time. Too bad his vocals get a little buried in the sound mix (unless that was due to limitations of the movie theater's sound system).

    With the concept videos, the concert runs darn close to 3 hours -- but never drags for even a moment. The DVD and Blu-ray feature some additional concept video footage and some archival concert footage from the 1970's.

    Highly recommended viewing, even if you can't watch it on a 30 foot-high screen like I did.

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