DVD Review: Rush - Live in Cleveland, The Time Machine Tour 2011.

HAVING been to one of the gigs on this tour, I was really looking forward to reliving the show.

The opening ‘shorts’ of the ‘real’ history of Rush, which preceded both halves of the show, and indeed ended it, are included; showing the band’s humour and it must be said, not inconsiderable acting skills.

Of course, Alex Lifeson does appear in the occasional movie, but Geddy Lee does a passable English accent, and Neil Peart is quite convincing as an Irish-descended cop.

But, the main event is the concert itself.

Almost three hours of Rush live is always something to be savoured, and generally this film of their Cleveland lives up to all our expectations.

Let me just get my couple of little gripes out of the way though.

Firstly, a Rush show is enhanced by the use of backdrop films and animations; in this film – whilst the concert is faithfully represented, we don’t see much of these mini-masterpieces, and I feel this is to the overall detriment of the DVD.

For instance, on the Rush in Rio DVD, the animated dragons were featured and were very effective, but here, the animations do tend to take a back-seat, thus depriving us of the in-jokes such as the three removal men from the Moving Pictures album being shown when the band were performing that particular album.

Also, the sound mix I found to be quite audience-heavy.

At first I thought that this may be the way with all the Rush DVD’s, but having checked them all I have to admit that the sound of the audience sometimes drowns out the music, and I have been to a number of Rush gigs over the years and no matter how loud the crowd is – you can always hear all the music.

Even Neil Peart’s drum solo was affected; the screen is showing him hitting his kit, but you can’t hear all of it.

Gripes over – on with the show.

This was a landmark tour, as the band were celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Moving Pictures album and the second half of the show featured this album played in it’s entirety, a real treat as for many that was one of the band’s finest albums.

The first half opens up with The Spirit of Radio, and then is dominated by ‘newer’ songs like Workin’ Them Angels, Faithless and Stick It Out.

The band also used the tour to showcase a couple of tracks from their latest album Clockwork Angels, which has just been released.

BU2B was the first of the new songs and was followed by a trio of old favourites in Free Will, Marathon and Subdivisions, bringing the first half to a close.

The second half is dedicated to Moving Pictures, with as previously mentioned, the whole album being played, followed by the second of the new tracks, Caravan.

Peart’s obligatory drum solo is next, which in turn is followed by a short acoustic guitar piece by Alex Lifeson which morphs into the classic Closer to the Heart.

A segments of the concept 2112 and Far Cry seemingly brings proceedings to an end, but the band return for the instrumental La Villa Strangiato and Working Man – a track from their very first album.

Musically, the whole show is a monster. Each member of the band plays the way we have come to expect, ie flawlessly, and what’s more, despite the fact that these guys have been performing for almost 40 years, they seem to be having a ball.

There are a couple of extras worth mentioning. Firstly, black and white footage of the band performing Anthem in New Jersey in the mid-seventies.

And there’s a real collector’s item with colour footage of the band playing at a High School.

The track played is Need Some Love, again from their first album, but the historical significance of this piece of film is that it features Rush’s original drummer John Rutsey.

Always good value for money, Rush are unbeatable at putting on a show and the evidence is here to see.

Despite it’s one or two flaws, this is an excellent souvenir of a fantastic tour.

Eagle Rock. EREDV896

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