RUSH

"Clockwork Angels" (Roadrunner; 2012)

Reviewed by Snidermann

A new Rush release is reason to celebrate and an excuse to listen to one of the greatest rock'n'roll bands of all time. The excitement is like a gift given to you to by your slightly famous cousin and when the CD is dropped, you know you are about to listen to something special. "Clockwork Angels" is such a recording.

I know I should be getting into the whys and what-fors of this recording, but at this time I am just grooving to this great album. I have been listening to Rush since 1976 when I was at a party my cousin was having and he put on "2112." Two minutes later, I was hooked for life. Throughout the years Rush was always a constant focal point in my life. Now, as an adult, the trio from Canada is still on the A-list rotation on my iPod.

Rush has almost thirty releases and a worldwide audience with approximately 40 million recordings sold and a concert schedule that never really stops. They are that good and that popular.

"Clockwork Angels" is a high-quality rock'n'roll record, just like everything Rush has ever recorded. This album, however, however, seems to have a stronger essence to it. It isn't worse for that attitude ... it just seems a little different. Regardless, it's Rush, and it still kicks solid ass.

Rush: Geddy Lee; Alex Lifeson; Neil Peart.

For more information, check out http://www.rush.com

 

"Snakes & Arrows Live" DVD (Atlantic; 2008)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Having never had the opportunity to see the legendary Rush perform live, I jumped at the chance to review this DVD of the band's "Snakes & Arrows" tour. I can tell you this: After watching this disc, seeing Rush live has jumped a couple of notches on my "must do" list.

The first two discs of this mammoth, three-disc set includes performances filmed during two concerts in Rotterdam, Holland in October 2007. It’s nothing short of amazing to watch this band live in action; their showmanship is almost equal to their unmatched musicianship. You can’t take your eyes off the performance. The set list is what you’d expect it to be: lots of stuff from the new CD, plus lots of classic material as well. DVD extras include tour outtakes, bonus performances and alternate cuts (featuring different angles and perspectives).

Disc 3 (Authorized Bootlegs) includes four songs the band added for their American tour, including the first time "Ghost of a Chance" was filmed live.

As you might expect, the sound quality and picture quality are nothing short of incredible and I understand that the Blu-Ray version simply must be seen to be believed.

"Snakes & Arrows Live" is more evidence that, not only are Rush far from fading away, they may in fact be at the peak of their game!

Rush: Geddy Lee; Alex Lifeson; Neil Peart.

For more information, check out http://www.rush.com

"Snakes & Arrows Live" (Atlantic; 2008)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

What can you say about a live Rush album that hasn't already been said? Well, I guess you can say that, unlike previous live Rush albums, this one contains songs from the band's 2007 studio album "Snakes & Arrows." But I guess you could have garnered that from the title.

"Snakes & Arrows Live" is two full discs and 27 tracks of Rush captured live during their "Snakes & Arrows" tour. As you might expect, there are plenty of Rush classics (i.e., "Freewill," "The Spirit of Radio," "Tom Sawyer") and plenty of new songs, too ("Armor and Sword," "Workin' Them Angels" and several other songs from the band's latest album). And, also as you might expect, the band sounds great, delivering amazing instrumental and vocal performances that are all the more stunning considering the band's complex music.

Do you need another live Rush album? That's entirely up to you. Is this another good live Rush album? It's got my vote.

For more information, check out http://www.rush.com

"Snakes & Arrows" (Atlantic; 2007)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Eighteen full-length studio releases and still going strong ... that can be only one band: Rush!

The legendary band from Canada, who have spearheaded the progressive rock genre, has once again graced us with their latest studio release, "Snakes & Arrows." I listened to this CD for a few days before writing this review, wanting to get a firm grasp on what this CD was all about. I was not disappointed.

Rush’s rock'n'roll has always been thought-provoking and the lyrics are as deep as any novel. "Snakes & Arrows" is no different. The band seems to have brought everything they've learned in their nearly four decades together to the thirteen tracks on this CD (including three intensely complicated instrumentals) and each member seems to have reached new heights of musical performance and ability. The songwriting throughout is more mature and confident and the overall listening experience a solidly satisfying one.

Of course, any time Rush releases a new CD, it is something to behold and it always sounds a little bit better because you know they will hit the road soon in support of the release.  

Rush was one of the bands that introduced me to the wonders of metal music (the others being Aerosmith, Kiss, Alice Cooper just name a few). Rush is thinking person's rock that delivers both a deep meaningful message and a torrent of great guitar riffs. 

For the past thirty-nine years (the band was formed in 1968), Rush has been a leader in progressive rock technology. You can go back to their very early releases and the analog sound they came up with at the time is just as good or better than the digital sound of today.  

With "Snakes & Arrows," Rush has once again put a quality stamp on some killer music.

For more information, check out http://www.rush.com

"Replay X3" DVD (Anthem / Warner; 2006)

Reviewed by Edwin Van Hoof

RUSH! RUSH! RUSH! Need I say more?! The Canuck prog rockers celebrate their 30th anniversary, not only with their highly acclaimed world tour and the sublime capture of their Frankfurt performance (“R30”); now there’s another treat for fans out there: “Replay X3”. This remarkable package features the long awaited DVD issue of the band’s previous concert recordings “Exit …Stage Left”, “Grace Under Pressure” and the critically acclaimed “A Show of Hands.” Needless to say, all are in perfect restored sound and vision and feature some awesome extras. 

Many fans worldwide have gathered various DVD releases from foreign territories such as Mexico and Japan over the years past. These discs offered the gigs we so eagerly wanted on DVD, but without extras, nor did they come with the outrageous 5.1 mix this package offers. “Exit …Stage Left” showcases the band during the early eighties with a razor sharp performance. Having released some of modern rock’s most highly acclaimed milestones in the period prior to this elusive live capture, the band steps up to deliver the goods in a blistering live performance. The views are exceptional after all these years, and the sound is crisp and energetic. “Limelight,” Free Will,” “Xanadu,” ... you name ‘em; they’re there!

One of my personal favorites was the shape shifting years in which the band transformed their hard rocking overall sound into a more direct and keyboard pumped melodic rock sound. With influences from all over the musical horizons, the band still managed to blend their typical riffs and hooks, Geddy’s high pitched signature vocals, and the amazing drums-and percussion works from the human computer named Peart, with all the new sounds and emotions out there. The Toronto “Grace Under Pressure” concert film is by far one of rock’s most perfectly performed live experiences ever. It is polished, yet it kept the energy and exceptional vibes of the home playing team. When Dracula calls in to announce “The Weapon,” shivers run down my spine! All of the band’s long lasting live classics and some surprises in the vein of “Witch Hunt” and an inspired version of “Vital Signs” come by interlaced by the ‘new’ band sound as performed in “Red Sector A,” “New World Man,” or the amazing “The Enemy Within.” It is Rush during their high tech days playing the high tech game they can relate to so easily… sigh.

As a bonus, the band also threw in a first time (one off) CD version of this remarkable experience featuring nearly all tracks from the DVD version.

Only four years separated “Grace Under Pressure” and "A Show of Hands." “Show of Hands” made one thing clear: the high tech Canadian sound was slowly vanishing again to be taken over by a more forward rocking approach (still with tons of keys), without going over the top or back to their very roots. No, “Show of Hands” was a milestone (again) of the power trio performing in front of a raving English crowd! The music was bombastic, and the guitars came back upfront, pleasing not only Mr. Lifeson! From the elusive, world politics criticizing “Power Windows” album, the band performs a handful of instant classic songs, as well as from their “Hold your Fire” CD. “Marathon” and “Manhattan Project” are simply outrageous, as are the amazing “Turn the Page” and “Prime Mover.” And all are exploding with sheer enthusiasm and with an ongoing stream of passion, enthusiasm and energy. Never skipping a beat, nor messing up at all. How frustrating for fellow musicians!

And, oh yeah! Do the guys make buying this record worthwhile or not?! With the added bonus disc of their “Grace Under Pressure” performance, they already do. On top of that, they also added pocket size editions of the tour books from the performances featured, and the package comes in a nice and perfectly packed digi edition. The sound is a 5.1 mix, and the image is presented in widescreen! All boosted and edited onto the highest new standards! 

Man, why don’t all bands decide to do the same! If only Iron Maiden would be so wise to take an example of how to treat your buyers and long time fans! Instead of simply releasing all the oldies over and over again, with little extras added, Rush shows the rest of them how to do it!

Rush: Geddy Lee - bass guitar, vocals; Alex Lifeson - guitars (electric, acoustic, mandola); Neil Peart - drums, cymbals.

For more information, check out http://www.rush.com

"R30" DVD (Rounder/Anthem; 2005)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I’ve tended to view Rush’s proliferation of live albums and now DVDs to be gifts for the fans – but it is practically endless, isn’t it? “R30” is yet another document of Rush’s long-standing tradition of releasing concert albums/videos. The band’s consistency in this matter is admirable – and it speaks volumes about fans of the band and their dedication.

I’m not one for medleys, but the opening “R30 Overture” seems necessary given the band’s extensive catalog and representative of the band’s overarching theme to celebrate thirty plus years in the music biz.

A few selections from the band’s tribute EP to some of their founding influences cuts into traditional selections that normally make it into the band’s songlist, but it is a nice change of pace.

A second significant medley in the form of “2112,” “Xanadu,” and “Working Man” allows Rush to touch on three classic gems to tease the fans ears.

A full-range of entertainment is one of Rush’s hallmarks – Rush were one of the first bands to use video screens to enhance the concert experience and they’ve continued this aspect of their live shows throughout their history. While the concert footage barely shows a tenth of the video footage anyone watching this DVD will at least have a flavor for what was shown – some of it is pretty stock for the band, yet some of it appears to be new footage just for this concert/tour. Finally, I hate to mention it, but the washer/dryer and vending machine combo behind Geddy Lee drove me nuts – I know the band likes to express their humor, but was this really necessary?

It’s a testament to Lee, Lifeson, and Peart that they’ve stuck together as long as they have – there’ve been no splits, no replacement members, no new members added, or nothing else to destroy the masterful trio. “R30,” although one of many in long line of live documents, is a celebration of Rush’s glorious tenure as musical giants. Lee, Lifeson, and Peart are in fine form – as veterans they know how to keep it tight without seeming rote.

Super high production values make “R30” great to watch and listen. I don’t know how many cameras were used to capture the footage of the R30 concert, but it must be a lot. The between song delays, instrument switches, etc. seem to have been edited and reduced to a minimum as the playing and transitions between songs is crisp.

Disc Two contains a number of enlightening interviews, various alternate performances, sound checks, and videos. I found the interviews to be particularly enlightening if only because I tend to avoid most details about my favorite bands to keep the mystery alive. The odds ‘n’ sods collection of various alternate performances, sound checks, and videos features disparate production quality across the board. The best is “?” while the others pale a bit in comparison in both their visual and sonic aspects. 

Rush: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart.

For more information visit http://www.rush.com

"Feedback" (Atlantic; 2004)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

I'll admit it right here and now: When I first heard Rush was going to do an album of cover tunes, I thought 'What the hell are they thinking? Their sound is far too unique to translate anything other than original Rush tunes.' Then, I caught their version of "Summertime Blues" on the radio and I realized maybe they could pull it off after all.

They've done more than just pull it off. "Feedback," featuring covers of songs from the mid- to late-60s, is that rare collection of cover tunes that not only do the original songs justice but add a little something more in the translation. 

A lot of this probably has to do with the fact that the songs covered herein are songs all loved and respected by Rush. According to the liner notes by Neil Peart, the songs chosen for "Feedback" are songs the members actually covered in their pre-Rush bands. These are the songs that inspired and influenced them to become the musicians they are today. The band treats each song with loving respect. Some might call these "note for note" cover tunes and there may be some truth in that. But what's most surprising is that each song sounds so much like the original version ... and yet so much like Rush.

Of course, it also has to be recognized that the musicians in Rush are some of the best rock'n'roll musicians in the world. Mixing that outstanding musicianship with classic songs is bound to generate positive results and "Feedback" is proof of that as well.

Finally, Peart eloquently states in his liner notes, "The music celebrates a good time in our lives, and we had a good time celebrating it." "Feedback" is also a good time for its listeners, whether you're a Rush fan or not.

Rush: Geddy Lee - bass guitar, vocals; Alex Lifeson - guitars (electric, acoustic, mandola); Neil Peart - drums, cymbals.

For more information, check out http://www.rush.com

"The Spirit Of Radio: Greatest Hits 1974-1987" (Mercury; 2003)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Since 1974, Rush has been making albums and rock'n'roll music much to the delight of millions of fans worldwide. As I listen to "The Spirit Of Radio Greatest Hits 1974 – 1987," I realized I had forgotten what outstanding musicians the members of this band really are. 

Geddy Lee continues to belt out tune after tune in his haunting and now familiar vocal style. Alex Lifeson provides brilliant guitar work and last, but certainly not least, Neil Peart bangs away on the drums.

FM radio continues to play the hell out of many Rush tunes, but this greatest hits collection showcases the band's outstanding and unique songwriting ability. The tunes are written so well and produced so exquisitely, that even after almost thirty years, these songs sound totally awesome and fresh. 

With 18 songs and almost 80 minutes of classic Rush, this is one tight and one amazing compilation. It may not be the first compilation of Rush hits, but it may be the best. And, there's an added treat packaged with the first run of this CD: a sampler DVD with five songs from "Rush Chronicles: The DVD Collection." And these five songs make you want to go right out and buy the entire DVD. 

Rush is simply one of the best bands around. Year after year they continue to blaze the way of good, solid rock'n'roll. 

Geddy Lee on bass and vocals, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart drums (John Rutsey was on the drums for the first release).

For more information, check out http://www.rush.com

"Vapor Trails" (Atlantic, 2002)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

After “Test For Echo” was released in 1996 it took five years for “Vapor Trials” to hit the stores. I’ll admit I lost contact with Rush during that time; sure, some “best of” and “greatest hits” packages were offered up but rumors werer flying that the band was splitting up (although fans were somewhat appeased when Geddy Lee released his first solo album, entitled “My Favorite Headache,” in 2000).

If you started with the first Rush CD released in 1974 and listened to all their studio albums non-stop up to “Vapor Trails,” you would have 11 hours 59 minutes and 1 second of music to enjoy. As you listened, you would hear Geddy Lee’s voice mature from the shriek it was on their earlier releases to a more comfortable listening experience. You would hear the same incredible timing from Neil Peart; even Alex Lifeson’s fretwork seems to hold the same command album to album.

One thing you would never hear is a mellowing of Rush’s musical talent. Rush put the power back on with "Vapor Trails" and from the get go they sound like there are rested and ready to go again. From the starting track, “One Little Victory,” you will definitely be doing a double take at the greatness captured herein.

Since Peart is the chief songwriter, he does put himself out there. “Ghost Rider” can only be about his emotional healing, based on the poignant lyrics. 9/11 and other tough subjects are also tackled here.

The band didn't strive for the hits that would have radio stations playing this disc during drive time but then they never do. The lack of "radio hits" doesn't take away anything from this solid release. Most of songs here are of the same caliber that you would expect from Rush on virtually every release.

Rush: Geddy Lee – bass, vocals; Alex Lifeson – guitars, mandola; Neil Peart – drums.

For more information, check out http://www.rush.com

"Different Stages" (Polygram; 1998)rush.jpg (7156 bytes)

Reviewed by Lou Moreau

This three CD set is a collection of live material from Rush's "Test For Echo" and "Counterpart" tours. The first two CDs are from the band's "Counterpart" tour. Most of the music therein comes from the show in Chicago 1997. However, other towns are represented here as well, such as Dallas, Miami and Toronto. These first two CDs contain both older and newer Rush tunes. The only unnecessary songs on these first two CDs being "Spirit of Radio" and "Tom Sawyer." I realize these are two of the band's biggest hits but, come on, haven't we heard them often enough live already?

The third CD, called a "bonus" CD, is a live performance by the band during their "Test for Echo" tour recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon in London on February 20, 1978. What makes this CD unique is the appearance here - for the first time on a live RUSH CD - of "Farewell to the King."

As always, the band's technical musicianship is nothing short of outstanding. The band is tight and impressive - if there are any overdubs herein, it's impossible to hear them. However, the CDs have a strange, bass-heavy mix that makes the twanging sound of bass guitar a little more noticeable than it should be. Another annoying factor is that the band has chosen to leave audience noise at a level that you would expect from most boot CDs. In fact, in one portion during a bass solo, you can actually hear a fan scream out "Go for it, Geddy!" in the middle of the solo. Which pretty much yanks you out of the music with a hook.

The packaging is impressive and contains a unique chronological photo collage that traces the band's history via images. In addition, the first CD is enhanced to contain a sample of the work of "electronic sculptor" Hisash Hoda.

Despite its minor flaws, "Different Stages" stands up with the previous live Rush albums as a strong representation of the band's work in their respective eras.

For more information, check out http://www.rush.com

"Roll the Bones" (Atlantic; 1991)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Rush's 1991 release, "Roll The Bones" is a very good, if not great, release with production value as good as anything released by Pink Floyd or Alan Parsons. As usual, the songwriting here is catchy, thought-provoking and complex all at once. Drummer Neil Peart wrote all the lyrics for this release; interesting because I don't know many drummers that write lyrics!) 

Like all of Rush's CDs, the music herein is very tight, concise and blended to perfection. Of course, any real Rush fan already knew that. Geddy Lee's vocals are as valiant and powerful as ever and he makes it sound so effortless. Alex Lifeson provides the guitar work and shares the musical writing along with Lee. 

There's a virtual cornucopia of Rush music out there and this is just part of that history. But it's an important part by any measure.

For more information, check out http://www.rush.com

"A Show of Hands" (Mercury, 1989)

Reviewed by Snidermann

I have been a big Rush fan since 1976 when "2112" was released and ever since then I have just loved anything they've done.

I've seen Rush live about six times (twice in three days one time) and at each performance a different aspect of the band emerges. Strangely enough, I never got a chance to listen to "A Show Of Hands" but I jumped at this chance to review it. 

For those Rush fans who have not seen the band live, I would strongly suggest you pick up any of their live releases. Every live Rush CD will put you back in touch with this truly awesome and time honored band. 

This particular CD, "A Show of Hands," is a totally bitchin' release. The only negative thing I found while listening to this recording (as well as the band's live shows), is that there are so many great songs in the band's repertoire, they may not play the ones I wanted most to hear. 

That being said, this live recording is technically perfect. It made me remember how great this band is in concert. Each song sounds just like it did on the studio recording, only better, and that is a rare treat indeed.

Rush: Neil Peart - drums; Alex Lifeson - guitar; Geddy Lee - bass and vocals. 

For more information, check out http://www.rush.com

"Moving Pictures" (Mercury; 1981)

Reviewed by Snidermann

To say that the music of Rush is timeless is an completely unnecessary statement for anyone reading this review. As I look back over my Rush collection, I found a gaping hole: I did not have "Moving Pictures."

This 1981 recording is a pinnacle of what makes Rush ... well, Rush. Killer music; tight, concise arrangements and a shitload of attitude.  

It is simply amazing that even after 26 years, some cuts from this release are still being played regularly on classic rock stations across the country: "Tom Sawyer," "Red Barchetta" and "Limelight" getting the most airplay.

Geddy Lee, Neil Peart and Alex Lifeson are still a thriving force in rock'n'roll and they have proven it with their 20+ recordings and countless live concerts. Rush is as alive and as vibrant as they were in the 70s. It is so much fun to speculate as to where Rush will be in another twenty years. I can just about bet they will still be making quality music.  

Rush: Alex Lifeson - guitars; Neil Peart - percussion; Geddy Lee - bass and vocals.  

For more information, check out http://www.rush.com

"2112" (Mercury; 1976)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Rush's landmark 1976 release, "2112," is, in my opinion, one of the very best concept albums ever released.  The CD deals with life after man's technology finally destroys the earth and the few that survive and develop a totalitarian government.  I have always recognized the similarities with this album and Ayn Rand's futuristic novel "Anthem." However, until I bought the CD version, I did not know that Neil Peart gives credit to Ayn Rand for inspiration in writing "2112." 

There has never been a more perfect combination of literature and music. I have owned a copy of this recording for about 25 years. I've gone through a lot of different media - a couple of cassettes, 8-track tapes (readers who don't know what that is, just ask your parents) and finally in CD, which really bring out the musical perfection of the original work. (Especially the newly remastered version). Rush's "2112" sounds as though it were written and recorded for CD and it only took 27 years for it to sound the way it was meant to be heard. 

"2112" exposed the world to a totally different way to experience hard music: that there was more than catchy words and rock solid music; there could also be a message worth listening to. A truly landmark recording.

Rush: Alex Lifeson - guitars; Neil Peart - percussion; Geddy Lee - bass and vocals.  

For more information, check out http://www.rush.com

"Fly By Night" (Mercury; 1975)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Originally released in 1975, Rush's "Fly By Night" again showcases the band's phenomenal presentational ability as a band and also as storytellers.  You can't go more than two hours on any classic rock station and not hear a Rush tune and there's a reason for that - the band has left an indelible mark on rock'n'roll.

Excellent production value once again is a highlight with "Fly By Night" and it is apparent from the first track that this band had it as together in 1975 as they do today. This CD contains the classic title track, "Fly By Night" (A-list material on any classic rock station), as well as an ultra hip story song called "By-Thor & The Snow Dog." There is also a song based on J.R.R. Tolkein's "Lord Of The Rings" trilogy called "Rivendell."

Rush: Alex Lifeson - guitars; Neil Peart - percussion; Geddy Lee - bass and vocals.  

For more information, check out http://www.rush.com.

"Rush" (Moon Records; 1974)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

It often occurs to me as I stroll the pages of reviews here at Rough Edge (yes, I read the page I write for) that sometimes a debut disc gets missed. A massive discography like that of Rush is still no excuse, so without further blather: Here's a review of the album that started it all for Rush.

You can tell by listening to this disc that their influences were Led Zeppelin and Cream -- a few of the riffs and solos Jimmy Page would nod his head to. Clapton would love the bluesy rhythm as well. I wasn't into Rush when this disc came out. Of course, I was six then but I'm glad that I got to hear "Working Man" later on in my youth when it got played on the radio. That's the song that most people remember Rush releasing because it was the one that lit up the phones per the request lines. I had a friend who had this disc on vinyl and he would always play "Working Man."  I swear we wore a groove in that LP!

A little history on this disc: It was the first and last to feature drummer John Rutsey. Sadly, he could not tour due to having diabetes so Neil Peart was hired to drum in his place. The album cover was supposed to have the band's name in red but a coloring error made it turn out more pink than anything.

Rush: Geddy Lee – lead vocals, bass guitar; Alex Lifeson – guitar; John Rutsey – drums, percussion.

For more information, check out http://www.rush.com.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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