Monday, May 18, 2009

DVD Review - Rush Snakes and Arrows Live

Spring finally sprung in Portland and this weekend we had weather in the mid 80s with full sun. But sadly, I spent all day Sunday on my back in bed with some kind of stomach bug I caught from my oldest son (thanks, Alex).

The one semi-productive thing I did all day was to crawl out of bed long enough watch the Rush live Snakes and Arrows DVD I got for Christmas but totally forgot about.

I have been going over the numerous Rush bootlegs I pulled off the Web. I mostly opted for pre-1980 tours, where they were in screaming good form, but still very raw. You know, the tours where they would still do all of 2112 and Hemispheres in the same gig.

So watching this Snakes and Arrows DVD with all of those old bootlegs in the back of my head, I have to say the band has for sure returned to the power of their early years. The new songs are so riff-heavy, and even older stuff like Digital Man and yeah even Mission, are far heavier than their originals.

But it's a rawness with the precision that only comes with being as good as Rush and playing for 30 years. The whole first set, Lifeson plays every song on a Les Paul. It's so refreshing to hear how pummeling a song like Limelight can be when its played on a Gibson instead of the various Fenders, PRS' etc that he's used. The dude is a total master.

Geddy's voice sounds great, and aside from the newer stuff, there seems to be far fewer pre-programmed sound bites humming along in the background. The DVD is also filmed from a musician's standpoint. Many, many closeups of fret work and drum fills shot from above the drum kit. Need I say that Neil is flipping sick on those drums?

There are also some hilarious bonus features - little "You-Tube worthy" skits featuring Geddy Lee as the Scottish "Harry Satchel" driving a delivery truck looking for chicken, when Alex Lifeson as a gut-bustingly ODD Mountie pulls him over.

I don't care if you already have the 3 DVD re-release of the 80s live videos, Rush in Rio and R30 - If you are a fan, get this DVD.

Oh and if you haven't seen this yet, dig this 1979 performance of La Villa Strangiato. This is the kind of stuff I am digging up in my quest for bootlegs:

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