Rush - Rush In Rio

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Atlantic
Catalog Number: 7567-93672-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 173:26:00

Rush (well, Rush dolls)It doesn't happen that often anymore that Rush sets out on a major tour. But when they do decide to pack in huge crowds, you can bet your socks off they'll do it well. Five years after the lavish 3CD set Different Stages - Live comes the aptly entitled Rush In Rio. Again spread over three discs, this is the recording of the band's visit to one of Brazil's major cities where they performed in front of 40,000 ecstatic fans. To be honest it was never the band's intention to release yet another collection of live recordings so soon after Different Stages, but this time around they found themselves in Rio where the entire concert was being recorded for a future DVD release. Listening to the rough mixes from the concert video, Neil Peart, along with Rush's manager, felt it wouldn't be a bad idea to release a separate audio package of the same concert as well. "After all, not everyone is interested to look at us," said an amusing Peart. To make it even more interesting the band decided to include some additional "official bootleg" material that can't be found on the DVD set. So sit back and enjoy the energy that was a constant factor during that memorable Vapor Trails tour.

Bearing in mind that the third disc in the Different Stages package was a recording from an earlier tour, as recorded in London in 1978, we nevertheless find no fewer than eighteen identical tracks on both packages. Eighteen songs out of a total of thirty one already surfaced on the band's previous live album, yet judging from the crowd's enthusiasm, they really don't mind, as every single Rush concert is a unique experience in itself. Of course such classics as "La Villa Strangiato," "The Spirit Of Radio," "By-Tor And The Snow Dog," "Cygnus X-1" and "Working Man" had to be included in the set. Only one song from Counterparts made it to the playlist next to two compositions from Test For Echo and four from the band's latest studio effort Vapor Trails. So all in all, it's a rather diverse package that really offers an insight into the complete and diverse career of Rush. Needless to say, most of the band's recent output is more guitar oriented, thus omitting the wonderful lush keyboard textures. Nevertheless it remains incredible to hear what a full sound these three individuals can come up with.

Looking at the band's fantastic output, what better song to kick off than the powerful "Tom Sawyer" (pity the Three Stooges theme is not included!) which immediately has the crowd sing along, cheering when the recognizable synth solo fuses with Geddy Lee's incredible low bass sound. During the duration of this album, it's incredible to hear how detailed that bass sound is embedded into the total sound of the band. For the Brazilian people, "Tom Sawyer" has even more of a meaning, as in this massive country that particular song has been used on Brazilian television as the theme song for McGyver! Of course everyone could sing along. So the atmosphere was set, especially as towards the end of the first set Rush had also decided to include "Closer To The Heart." Normally this song was not part of the Vapor Trails tour, but as they had also played Mexico prior to those Brazilian nights, only to find out that "Closer To The Heart" was the absolute number one Rush song in Mexico, the band decided to quickly relearn the song so as to please their Mexican friends. As the tour developed, they then heard that the same song also was a "big" thing in Brazil, so of course they left it in the set.

The Rio concert was the final concert of a string of 66 concerts spread between June and November 2002. Everything was set up to also film that very last performance in order to release it as a DVD. The day before, in Sao Paulo, in front of 60,000 people the band performed in dreadful weather conditions. The rain poured down on all three musicians and their equipment, luckily for them they had wireless microphones and transmitters or they could have been electrocuted and killed on stage! Neil Peart's electronic midi-marimba, which triggers all his keyboard percussion sounds as well as tons of effects, lost its midi-mind due to the weather conditions. It was not certain whether it would work again the next day, the final day, the day of the filming. To make things even worse, the band was unable to do a soundcheck in Rio because all of their equipment arrived rather late. So no run-through for the recording truck, no test for the camera crew, and no soundcheck for the band. Rush dove right in to the deep end, not knowing whether at all they would be able to swim! Judging from this recording, however, they did swim, sharing the Olympic gold medals between them! The crowd went crazy and no doubt this concert has to go down as the most memorable for the band, probably because of the high degree of audience participation. Have you ever heard a crowd who could sing along to an instrumental track? Just listen to the fabulous rendition of "XYZ" and you'll understand that both band and crowd must have lived through an unforgettable experience! Although Rush's music is not your everyday cup of tea, the audience nevertheless knows every single chord, every single break, every single word, which of course makes this recording extra special, as you get the music from Rush augmented with a fourth member: the public! And that public knows the songs so well they show utmost respect during the silent parts, as you'll hear during the acoustic intro for "The Trees." Because Rush has been going strong for thirty years, no doubt from a physical perspective these kind of gigs are very demanding, so it's not a big surprise to see that the band's set is divided in two halves so as to allow the band to have a short break. In order to finish the first part of the concert, what better way to deliver such standards as "Free Will," "Closer To The Heart" and "Natural Science." Geddy has learned the magic word "obrigado," which is Brazilian for "thank you" and finishes this first part of the set with the amusing: "we need to take a short break for some brain surgery, we'll be back."

The second disc immediately kicks off with the second part of the show, as performed that night in Rio de Janeiro. It strikes me how close to vintage Black Sabbath the band comes during "One Little Victory." Another highlight for bass addicts certainly has to be Geddy's solo during "Driven." Mindblowing! A huge reception is reserved for "Red Sector A," which from the very first chord onwards can count on a very enthusiastic and energetic crowd. For sure their cheers will have something to do with the concert visuals as well, so next to this release no doubt we'll have to track down the DVD as well! [Indeed! -ed.] And even more bass highlights during the intro for "Leave That Thing Alone." Chris Squire eat your heart out! This track gives way to a drummer's absolute wet dream in the form of a 8:54 long Neil Peart drum solo where electronics and acoustics are having a ball. The most incredible part comes right at the very end where Neil suddenly unleashes a real swing/jazz big band from his box of tricks. Only one single cosmic synth sound has the entire crowd go beserk as this of course introduces the title track of the band's 2112 album.

Contrary to the Different Stages - Live 3CD set, where the third disc contained material from a completely different concert, disc three in the Rush In Rio set continues the show with what seems to be six of the band's all-time highs. I was so pleased to see that one of my all-time favourites, "La Villa Strangiato" is once again present this time around, augmented by loud cheers from the audience. This composition for sure remains a true diamond in the history of progressive rock. There's so much happening in one single song, it's magnificent! Here the band steers the song towards authentic jazz, which serves as a background for some jokes courtesy of Alex Lifeson. He introduces Geddy Lee as the "guy from Ipanema" before introducing himself as Stan Getz. Humour and Rush: I never thought it was possible! By now everyone in the stadium is 100% "loco" from Rush's music, and it gets even worse when "The Spirit Of Radio" is played. From what you can hear on the album Geddy says one more time "obrigado" before leaving the stage. Then it's time for the first encore of the night by means of even yet older song, "By-Tor And The Snow Dog." It still sounds as fresh today as when it was first recorded way back in 1975. The final songs of this incredible concert come as a package. Indeed the instrumental "Cygnus X-1" has been bundled with "Working Man" in order to finish this experience the way it started over two hours ago: on a high! Don't forget "Working Man" goes back to the band's debut album released in 1974! And with this song the Rio concert comes to a close, whilst our three friends can finally seek comfort in the bar of their hotel. This however doesn't end this 3CD set as two more songs have been added. These "board bootlegs" are exclusive to this 3CD set, as these are not available on the 2-DVD set! The first song, "Between Sun & Moon" was recorded in Phoenix, AZ on 27th September, 2002 and offers a more "direct" sound, of course having been recorded inside as opposed to outside like the Rio set. The result is that you don't get such a "full" sound, as especially Neil's drum sound suffers from a good recording. The final track was recorded on 19th October 2002 in Quebec City. "Vital Signs" sounds again very direct with the keyboards being "panned" to one side of the stereo spectrum. Here the drums sound much better but then again they don't get such a prominent role as the song itself tends to flirt with some reggae riffs in the same way Sting and The Police introduced these influences. Nice as a bonus but nothing more as the real highlight of course concerns every single second from the Rio concert.

I lift my glass of caipirinhas and salute Geddy, Alex and Neil and also James "Jimbo" Barton for delivering this great audio souvenir from one of the most incredible shows in the history of Rush. Now all I have to do is get myself a copy of that DVD and I'll be there myself!

Disc One: Tom Sawyer (5:04) / Distant Early Warning (4:50) / New World Man (4:04) / Roll The Bones (6:15) / Earthshine (5:44) / YYZ (4:56) / The Pass (4:52) / Bravado (6:18) / The Big Money (6:03) / The Trees (5:12) / Freewill (5:48) / Closer To The Heart (3:04) / Natural Science (8:34)

Disc Two: One Little Victory (5:32) / Driven (5:22) / Ghost Rider (5:36) / Secret Touch (7:00) / Dreamline (5:10) / Red Sector A (5:16) / Leave That Thing Alone (4:59) / O Baterista (8:54) / Resist (4:23) / 2112 (6:52)

Disc Three: Limelight (4:29) / La Villa Strangiato (10:05) / The Spirit Of Radio (5:28) / By-Tor & The Snow Dog - Cygnus X-1 - Working Man (13:34) / "Board Bootlegs": Between Sun & Moon (4:51) / Vital Signs (4:58)

Geddy Lee - vocals, basses, keyboards Alex Lifeson - guitars, vocals Neil Peart - drums, percussion

Rush (1974)
Fly By Night (1975)
Caress Of Steel (1975)
2112 (1976)
All The World's A Stage (1976)
A Farewell To Kings (1977)
Hemispheres (1978)
Archives (1978)
Permanent Waves (1980)
Moving Pictures (1981)
Exit ... Stage Left (1981)
Signals (1982)
Grace Under Pressure (1984)
Power Windows (1985)
Hold Your Fire (1987)
A Show Of Hands (1989)
Presto (1989)
Chronicles (1990)
Roll The Bones (1991)
Counterparts (1993)
Test For Echo (1996)
Different Stages (1998)
Vapor Trails (2003)
Rush In Rio (2003)
Feedback (2004)
R30 (2005)
Gold (2006)
Snakes And Arrows (2007)
Snakes And Arrows Live (2008)
Retrospective III (2009)
Working Men (2009)
Grace Under Pressure: 1984 Tour (2009)
Icon (2010)
Time Stand Still: The Collection (2010)
Icon 2 (2011)
Rush ABC 1974: The First American Broadcast (2011)
Sector 1 (2011)
Sector 2 (2011)
Sector 3 (2011)
Moving Pictures: Live 2011 (2011)
Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland (2011)
Clockwork Angels (2012)
The Studio Albums 1989-2007 (2013) (boxset) Clockwork Angels Tour (2013)

Exit-Stage Left (VHS) (1982)
Through The Camera Eye (VHS) (1984)
Grace Under Pressure Tour 1984 (VHS) (1986)
A Show Of Hands (VHS) (1988)
Chronicles (VHS/DVD) (1990/2001)
Rush In Rio (DVD/VID) (2003)
R30 (DVD) (2005)
Music In Review 1974-1981 (2006)
Replay X3 (DVD) (2006)
Snakes And Arrows Live (DVD) (2008)
Working Men (DVD) (2009)
Beyond The Lighted Stage (DVD) (2010)
Classic Albums: 2012 - Moving Pictures (2010)
Time Machine 2011: Live In Cleveland (2011)
Clockwork Angels Tour (2013)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin CA

Added: November 2nd 2003
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

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Hits: 627
Language: english


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