RUSH – R30: 30th Anniversary World Tour

RUSH - R30: 30th Anniversary World Tour


Sanctuary Records
Release date: November 28, 2005

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Many Rush fans had given up all hope of the Canadian rockers ever making or performing music again following the tragic events that embroiled drummer Neal Peart towards the end of the millennium.

Rush had been inactive after Test For Echo in 1996, with only a few compilations and a live album to salve the appetite of the fans. Then, in 2002, the unthinkable happened, Vapor Trails, the new Rush album, hit the streets showing that they were indeed alive and kicking. Rush played their first live concerts in years in the U.S.A., and the tour culminated in a number of shows for the first time ever in Brazil, which were recorded for posterity on the award winning Rush in Rio DVD and CD release.

With their 30th anniversary in 2005, came the news of a full blown tour to mark this momentous occasion, and Rush even brought their show over to Europe for the first time in 12 years and were welcomed back with open arms.

Rush played a mammoth 3-hour set, divided into two sections, covering material from every single album except Presto. The tour was a huge success, with Rush playing to sold out arenas throughout North America and Europe. It was on the European leg in Frankfurt that R30 was recorded.

R30 comes in two formats: firstly, a straightforward 2-DVD package, or, if you prefer, splash into a sumptuous deluxe version with 2 DVD’s and 2CD’s containing the soundtrack to the concert, which will not be available separately. Also included are a couple of special R30 guitar picks, a backstage pass, together with a rather smart photo book. All of this is housed in an impressive fold out digi-pack box with artwork by long-time collaborator, Hugh Syme, who is surely as synonymous with Rush as Storm Thogerson is with Pink Floyd.

That’s enough of the packaging, what about the content?

The concert was filmed with 14 hi-definition cameras and the music mixed in Dolby digital 5.1 surround sound. The camera work is impeccable, with plenty of close ups and sweeping panoramic stage shots, ensuring that the full splendor of the show is captured to maximum effect. There is thankfully none of the confusing rapid fire arty shots that some DVD’s seem to utilize, which often leaves the viewer punch drunk as cameras switch from one shot to another without giving the viewer the chance to appreciate the scene.

The music featured concert includes the whole range of the Rush back catalogue. The set opener is the inspired R30 Symphony, featuring a 10-minute instrumental medley of some of Rush’s finest riffs, including “Anthem,” “Bastille Day,” and “A Passage To Bangkok,” amongst a host of other gold plated classics. This really sets the scene for what is to come, as Rush roar through the set opener proper to “The Spirit of Radio” with a renewed vigor.

Set highlights include an inspired “Subdivisions,” a bombastic rendition of “Between The Wheels,” a forgotten nugget from Grace Under Pressure, and the set closing medley of “2112”/”Xanadu” (complete with Alex on his Gibson twin neck)/”Working Man.” Unfortunately, songs such as “By-Tor” and “The Snow Dog,” which was a show stopper on the tour, have been omitted due to the sheer length of the set and the time constraints of the DVD format. However, it would have been welcomed if the remaining songs had been tagged onto the second disc, but this is a minor gripe bearing in mind the scale of the package provided.

Neal Peart again shows why he is regarded as the best drummer around with an astonishing performance on “Der Trommler.” Now, anyone who has been to a gig knows that the drum solo is usually the point where you sit down/go to the loo/go for a pint, but at a Rush gig it is the time where you get to marvel at the skills of a master craftsman. After all, how many drum solos get the adulation that Peart gets after he strikes the final cymbal?

Rush have been accused of being overly serious, however, the interplay between Lee and Lifeson shows a lighter side to their character, as do the amusing video projections such as the “Darn That Dragon” sketch … and don’t forget to notice the battling pirates during “2112!”

The sound quality on the previous DVD, Rush in Rio, was criticised in some quarters as being muddy and the crowd too loud. R30 suffers no such problems, and Lifeson has done a cracking job with the mix.

Disc 2 features a host of bonus extras, including interviews dating back to 1979 with a youthful Geddy Lee, a full band interview in 1980 with Geddy Lee sporting a pair of rather large spectacles, a chat during the 2002 Vapor Trails tour, as well as footage of their induction into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Possibly the cherry on the cake for Rush fans is the vintage clips contained in “The Anthem Vault.” This includes such nuggets as a video performance of “Fly By Night” in 1975; rough and ready live clips of “Finding My Way” and “In The Mood;” and a few live in the studio performances of “Circumstances” and La Villa Strangiato.” Additionally, the video for “A Farewell to the Kings,” with an earnest looking Lifeson playing his acoustic intro through a swathe of trees and against a backdrop of a medieval castle along with “Xanadu” features the band in their full silk kimono mode … classic Rush in full flow!!

The package is rounded off by sound check footage of “The Spirit of Radio,” “Freewill” from the 2003 SARS Benefit Concert in Toronto, and an in-studio rendition of “Closer to the Heart” for the Tsunami Disaster Fund charity telethon performance, complete with a guest appearance by a Bare Naked Lady (the band that is … steady on!!!), and Bubbles from the Trailer Park Boys.

In R30, Rush have raised the bar in Rock DVD’s to a new standard in terms of sound and picture quality, as well as the content. If you are thinking about buying this, splash the cash and obtain the Deluxe version for the bonus extras, it’s well worth it and will give you almost 6 hours of viewing and listening pleasure.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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