RUSH – Snakes & Arrows Live

RUSH - Snakes & Arrows Live
  • 8/10
    RUSH - Snakes & Arrows Live - 8/10


Anthem Records
Release date: July 2, 2008

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Throughout the 70s and 80s Rush followed a set pattern with their live albums. After every 3 or 4 studio albums they would bring a chapter in their musical evolution to a close by releasing a live recording and then they would take a left turn and head off to explore new musical territories.

Lately, Rush have released more live albums than studio if you include those contained within the R30 and Replay DVD sets, in the last 10 years. The release of Snakes & Arrows Live marks their 5th over the last decade and are we complaining? Not on your life!!

Rush are a band who never play the same set list on consecutive tours, making great changes from one tour to the next. The R30 tour was a celebration of their fantastic career in the business stretching back bizarrely enough 30 years at the time of that tour and the set list featured songs from every single Rush album bar Presto, although why Presto was omitted is something of a mystery.

The Snakes & Arrows tour however, was their chance to highlight their latest studio release, which has been universally heralded as their best in many a year. With only 6 songs repeated out of a track listing of 27 songs there really isn’t much duplication between the last two live albums.

When Rush have a new album to promote they never shy away from airing new material and Rush fans expect nothing less than a sizeable chunk of shiny, new songs when the band hit the road. Snakes & Arrows was no exception, with 9 of the albums 13 cuts on show here with the pick of the bunch being the single “A Far Cry”, “Workin’ Them Angels”, both of which have a real sense of vintage, prime time Rush to them and the scintillating instrumental “Main Monkey Business” where the band really let fly with some supreme musicianship. The live versions have a rougher edge and a greater sense of urgency than their studio counterparts and certainly benefit from the extra kick that they receive on stage.

Again, Rush have a great knack of dipping deep into the archives and pulling out a couple of gems on each tour with “Entre Nous”, “Digital Man” and “Circumstances” making a much welcomed first appearances on a live recording in addition to rare outings for “Witch Hunt”, “Natural Science” and “A Passage To Bangkok”, the oldest song performed on the tour from the seminal 2112 opus.

Old stage favourites “Tom Sawyer”, “Spirit of Radio”, “Subdivisions” and “Limelight” are still all present and correct and “YYZ” still kicks like a mule. “Between The Wheels” is one of the few non-regular tracks retained from the previous tour and it’s easy to see why, with its brooding, menacing, hypnotic synthesizer driven riff begging the question as to why it’s remained hidden from their repertoire for so many years.

Previous Rush live albums have had their faults. Rush in Rio was a little on the muddy side while R30 perhaps a little clinical. Snakes & Arrows Live seems to hit the spot just fine with the right balance between sonic clarity and the rough edge that a live performance demands.

No doubt there will be those who will argue that another live album from Rush is rather unnecessary but with 13 of the songs contained within this fine collection previously unreleased in a live format and the strength of the performances on show, Snakes & Arrows Live can go down as one of the best live albums Rush have ever released. Now, let’s hope that we will see a DVD to accompany its release sooner rather than later.


  • 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.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.