Monday, January 23, 2012

Rush - Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland

Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland
Anthem Film & Television Productions Inc./Eagle Vision/Eagle Rock Entertainment

Few acts have embraced D.V.D. technology quite like Canadian progressive/hard rock trio Rush, with no less than three full-length concert D.V.D.’s (Excluding re-releases) emerging from the band in less than a decade. In celebration of their most recent ‘Time Machine’ tour (Which saw the band out on the road from 2010 and the early part of 2011), Rush (Who comprise of vocalist/bassist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, and drummer Neil Peart) have returned with something new for fans.
Filmed on April 15th 2011 at the Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena, ‘Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland’ is conclusive proof that Rush still have what it takes to keep audiences coming back time and time again.
With each and every one of the band’s D.V.D.’s seeming to up the ante in terms of perfectly capturing the essence of a Rush concert, there were a lot of expectations from fans towards this latest release. And not surprisingly, with directors Sam Dunn and Scot McFadyen calling the shots (The same team that presented fans with the phenomenal documentary ‘Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage’ back in 2010), ‘Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland’ is another stunning visual feast from the legendary trio.
So what separates the D.V.D. from the countless others Rush have released in their time? Well, not a real lot in truth. I mean there’s only so much you can do onstage different from tour to tour. But what you can do is present it in a different way. And that’s where both Rush and the directors have excelled over 2008’s ‘Snakes & Arrows Live’. Everything from the lavish stage set-up (Which is an absolute feast for the eyes to say the least), right through to the captured footage of the band in action is unlike anything presented on a Rush D.V.D. The directors have beautifully shot all the members of the band at just the right moments, with plenty of up-close shots (Including plenty of Peart) to emphasise the dominant and key part of any given song (Whether it be a particular riff, a drum fill or a bass run). The editing is has been quite tastefully executed, and compliments the performance from the band perfectly. There are also plenty of visuals on the huge backdrop, and not to mention lights all over the place, and when you combine those with great live shots, awesome sound and plenty of interactive shots of the crowd, flaws are near next to none.
In terms of the set list, Rush have wisely chosen to get their selections a bit of a shuffle, with the first half of the show boasting some classics cuts (‘The Spirit Of Radio’, the under-rated ‘Marathon’, ‘Freewill’ and ‘Subdivisions’), some recent favourites (‘Workin’ Them Angels’, ‘Leave That Thing Alone’ and ‘Faithless’) and some revisited gems (‘Presto’ and ‘Stick It Out’). While Lee’s vocals show a bit of wear and tear in places (Especially on ‘Time Stand Still’, which really stands out on the Roadrunner Records soundtrack of the show), the band still has plenty in the tank – which is evident in their newer track ‘BU2B’ (which is otherwise known as ‘Brought Up To Believe’).
Of course, the real highlight of the show is the band’s performance of their classic 1981 album ‘Moving Pictures’ in its entirety. Of course, classics from the album have been performed countless times in the past, and featured on the band’s more recent D.V.D. efforts. But the magic in seeing the album performed in its entirety from start to finish, which is nothing short of stunning. In terms of highlights, ‘The Camera Eye’ and ‘Vital Signs’ are real stand outs.
Finishing up the D.V.D. is the third part of the concert, which sees the band throw in another new effort in ‘Caravan’ (Which, alongside ‘BU2B’, will appear on their next studio effort ‘Clockwork Angels’), as well as highlights such as ‘O’Malley’s Break’ (Lifeson’s acoustic introductory piece to ‘Closer To The Heart’), Peart’s drum solo (‘Moto Perpetuo’/‘Love For Sale’), ‘La Villa Strangiato’ (Which is given a polka intro) and the reggae introduced ‘Working Man’ (With reggae intro).
In terms of extras, ‘Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland’ doesn’t have as much to offer as some of Rush’s more recent offerings, but it does have some great comedy sketches from the trio, which are as hilarious and offbeat as those seen on the ‘Snakes & Arrows Live’ D.V.D. The intro video ‘The ‘Real’ History Of Rush: Episode No. 2 ‘Don’t Be Rash’’) is absolutely hilarious, with Lifeson stealing the show. He’s a great guitarist, but as a comedian, he’s a genius!
Elsewhere, the band reprises their comedy routine on the intermission piece ‘The ‘Real’ History Of Rush: Episode No. 17 ‘...And Rock And Roll Is My Name’’, while Lou Pomanti’s various re-workings ‘The Spirit Of Radio’ and ‘Closer To The Heart’ (Which is featured at the end credits) are a whole lot of fun.
Additionally, there’s eight minutes of outtakes from the band’s comedy sketches (Geddy’s joke about the lead vocalist’s nose is great!), along with a 1974 performance of ‘Need Some Love’ from Laura Second Secondary School (Featuring original drummer John Rutsey) and ‘Anthem’ from Passaic, New Jersey in 1976. Both seem a little out of place here as extras, but are great nonetheless.
Overall, whether you’re a diehard fan or a newcomer, Rush’s ‘Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland’ is a worthy addition to anyone’s collection.

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© Justin Donnelly