November 9th, 2011
A couple weeks ago I headed to the cinema to catch a special screening of Rush: Time Machine – Live in Cleveland. It’s a concert movie of a Rush gig from earlier this year on their Time Machine Tour which featured a full performance of their seminal Moving Pictures album. For a group of guys in their late 50s, they played a helluva show.
Let’s start with the tracklisting:
The Spirit of Radio
Time Stand Still
Stick It Out
Workin’ Them Angels
Leave That Thing Alone
The Camera Eye
Moto Perpetuo (featuring Love for Sale)
Closer to the Heart
2112 Overture/The Temple of Syrinx
La Villa Strangiato
Even without setlists from any other shows on that tour in front of me, I am confident in saying that this is the whole show. While I suppose one could upbraid the band for copping to nostalgia by playing the entirety of Moving Pictures, it did mean that “The Camera Eye” was dusted off. I believe the last time it was performed was back in 1983 on the Signals tour and then it was an abbreviated version. Plus Moving Pictures is a great album that has aged well. But the concert wasn’t simply about wallowing in the past.
To start with, three songs (“Workin’ Them Angels”, “Faithless”, and “Far Cry”) from their last album, Snakes & Arrows were played. (Where’s “We Hold On”?) In addition two new tracks – “BU2B” and “Caravan” – which will be on Rush’s new album to be released next year were given an airing. Overall, the setlist is a pretty good overview of the band’s career.
Some random observations:
1) First is that I felt old when they played “Time Stand Still”. I remember well when Hold Your Fire came out. (How about that goofy video with Alex, Geddy, Neil, and Aimee Mann f;lying around?) While I understood what the lyrics were saying, I didn’t really understand the sentiment behind them because I was too young. In 2011, I understand completely.
2) Both Hold Your Fire and Presto are underrated albums.
3)”Faithless” is a beautiful song and Snakes & Arrows is a great album.
4)Technically, Time Machine is a triumph. They had excellent coverage. There was a camera way up in the nosebleed section at the far end of the stadium, one with a really short lens just behind Neil that gave you a view of the entire stage with Neil’s kit front and center with Alex and Geddy on the sides, and all points in between. Plus the editor(s) was smart and didn’t cut every second. We’re not talking really long takes like they did back in the 1970s but the editing wasn’t headache-inducing either. He/she/they understood that the music should be the focal point of the excitement, not the editing.
Rush: Time Machine – Live in Cleveland will be a BluRay purchase for me.