R40 Live (2015)


Disc One
1. The Anarchist
2. Headlong Flight
3. Far Cry
4. The Main Monkey Business
5. How It Is
6. Animate
7. Roll the Bones
8. Between the Wheels
9. Losing It
10.Subdivisions

Disc Two
1. Tom Sawyer
2. YYZ
3. The Spirit of Radio
4. Natural Science
5. Jacob's Ladder
6. Hemispheres:Prelude
7. Cygnus X-1/The Story So Far
8. Closer to the Heart
9. Xanadu
10.2112

Disc Three
1. Lakeside Park/Anthem
2. What You're Doing/Working Man
3. One Little Victory
4. Distant Early Warning
5. Red Barchetta
6. Clockwork Angels
7. The Wreckers
8. The Camera Eye
9. Losing It

 

In the 2012 documentary on the band Rush titled “Beyond The Lighted Stage”, Geddy Lee described the band as being “the biggest cult band in the world”. Ironically, it was this same documentary that seemed to finally elevate the status of Rush from “cult” to “mainstream”. All of the sudden, everyone, everywhere seemed to discover Rush. They finally made it into the Hall of Fame, partially because of their new found popularity, and then proceeded to put out one of their best albums ever (2012’s Clockwork Angels).

So three years later, when they decided on “one more tour” before they “retired”, it wasn’t surprising that it was one of the hottest, most sought after tickets in the music world. Celebrating 40 years together, the trio named the tour “R40” (they did an “R30” ten years ago, so the title seemed apt) and, of course, a live CD and DVD followed – as had been the custom for the last fourteen years.

As always, they made the tour fresh with new surprises. For this tour, they played the show in reverse chronological order – starting with the new stuff and ending with a couple of cuts from their very first album. They even changed up the stage during the show – beginning with a high tech replica of their last tour, to finally having the stage representing a gymnasium with a mirrored ball and a couple of beat up amps sitting on school chairs.

Fans loved it mainly because the guys played tons of old, deep cuts. In the past, Rush was never a band that dwelled too much on their past – preferring to always look forward. Therefore, the older songs were mainly done out of obligation to the diehards (as they should be). This time, however, more than half the show features the band’s first seven years in existence, so everyone was very happy.

What cannot be ignored, however, is that Geddy Lee’s voice has sadly deteriorated over 40 years. Although his high pitched yelp has never been a favorite by many critics, the fan base was never bothered as it added a distinct personality to the band’s sound. By 2015, though, he just can’t really cut some of the earlier songs, so he has to modify his delivery to where he is actually yodeling through the older numbers. As nice as it was to hear the encore with songs from 1974-1975, it’s almost a bit too painful to listen. It’s a bit sad as the production of this album is quite strong in most places.

Still, though, things of this nature cannot be helped, so it was still a wise decision to tour, and everyone was thrilled to see their favorite Canadian trio hit the road just one more time. Watching the DVD is a bit better since, as always, the visuals to any Rush fan are stellar, and they do distract one from the lead vocals in places.

Even though this would probably be the last tour “of this magnitude”, fans are not giving up the hope of maybe another album in the future. And, who knows, maybe the guys will get tired of retirement and surprise us just one more time. If not, that’s really o.k. These guys deserve to do whatever they want.

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