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4 stars The next in the long list of Rush DVD's released in the past 5 years (not a bad thing at all), Snakes and Arrows Live looks nearly identical to R30, however this really rises above the other release as it contains the full show (plus). It not only contains the entire show of the first run, but also the songs they swapped out for the second leg of the tour.

I do want to say that while some people feel they are milking their history for easy dollars from fans by releasing so many live albums and DVD's, I have to take the opposite tack. I feel that these are fan generated relaeses, giving us the opportunity to complete our collections and retain memories of the shows we've seen. I feel it is something all bands should do on each tour, as they are the best momentos a fan can possess.

The beauty of these live releases of DVD over their soundtrack counterparts is the humor, which is completly left off of the CD's. While they never compromise on their performance, taking the note for note reproduction 100% seriously, seeing the interplay between the band and the charmingly inept videos really ground the band with the fans, almost as if it is a gift they are giving the audience.

The performances and show are top notch, with every song being improved over the originals in terms of energy and pace (the Snakes and Arrows tracks are especially helped by the live setting). Their performances on Far Cry, Main Monkey Business, and Malignant Narcissism are truly dynamic and intense. When I saw the show live on both passes, I clearly remember being blown away during these tracks, suprised that even after being a fan for over twenty five years I could still be saying Damn, these guys really rock! It is also a real treat to see Entre Nous and Circumstances dusted off and brought back to life.

The quality of the picture is equal to R30, in that the colors are vibrant and the dark are crisp. The band is so confident in the technology that Geddy and Alex wear black and yet they still seem crisp and detailed. The lighting is warm and vivid and all the effects are well presented and the sound is top notch. It is a truly complete package and an excellent collection to any rock fan.

Report this review (#192095)
Posted Saturday, December 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This 3 DVD Snakes and Arrows live set is the companion piece to the cd of the same name released earlier in 2008 containing exactly the same set though with the addition of some bonus features. It was filmed in Rotterdam in October 2007 with additional footage on the third disc from Atlanta.

There's been a few raised eyebrows of late over the amount of live material Rush have released over recent years but there's no denying the quality of this DVD set. The picture and filming quality is as good as it gets getting you close to the band from every conceivable angle including some excellent overhead shots of Neil Peart behind his enormous drum kit. The sound is also very good on a set weighing heavily towards their latest studio album, Snakes and Arrows. In fact as much as I enjoyed this album I would have preferred not quite so much material from it being featured on the last tour which would have left room for a more balanced set. Nevertheless, there's still room for some classic oldies. Very welcome are some less obvious old classics like Circumstances, Entre Nous, Witch Hunt and A Passage to Bangkok as well as the more predictable choices of Tom Sawyer, Freewill and The Spirit of Radio, though all excellent versions.

The first 2 discs being taken up by the Rotterdam performance, disc 3 is titled Oh Atlanta, the Authorised Bootleg and actually contains some of my favourite moments of the set in great versions of the 2112 Overture, The Temples of Syrinx and The Trees.

The first disc contains a number of extras in a few alternative versions of tracks focussing more on the live rear screen visuals used by the band, the What's That Smell alternative show intro movie and some pointless outtakes of this and strangely, one track from the R30 tour, Red Sector A.

Having already enjoyed the cd version of this, the DVD is even better and if you haven't already overdosed on live Rush then it's well worth adding to your collection though if you're debating on which of the more recently released Rush DVD's to buy I'd recommend R30 to this one, not least because of the host of extras it contains.

Report this review (#199145)
Posted Thursday, January 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars There are two ways for analyzing this DVD set.

First, the overall quality of it. Musically, visually, tecnically fabulous. Really impossible to ignore how perfeccionist Rush and their crew are, and how successful they are in achieving their pretensions of perfection. Pure enjoyment. The set is dynamic if you put apart some low points, which I will mention later, and musicians appear as accurate and synchronized as always.

But the problems appear in the repertoire. In my opinion Snakes & Arrows (the studio album) is not their best (and probably their worst) effort to date. And the weak points of it are traduced into some features on the live set. The noisy and extremely heavy sound of the album is put on every song of the concert, so some melodies and arrangements of old pieces are guessed more than actually heard. Alex changes his guitars but it seems it´s pointless, sound doesn´t change at all. Add to this some poor songs of the last album, and the fact that Geddy Lee´s voice can no longer face some challenges of their highlights (though, I admit, he puts all of his in Freewill and Natural Science, both the highest points of the shows). Finally, I see a general feeling of raw that doesn´t suit with what I expect from a Rush performance.

Extras on disc 1 do nothing more than a loose sensation, and the impression of a band still enjoying their life on the road. And Atlanta bootlegs could be on the main set to add some points to the performance. Last item: Red Sector A from R 30 tour confirms what Geddy once said about the dificulties of playing live some 80´s stuff like this.

An excellent addition, but not the most important on Rush´s videography. Obligation for fans, very recommended and enjoyable for those who already know them. But a distorting view for beginners, or for those who are curious about what Rush mean as a rock milestone.

Report this review (#199429)
Posted Saturday, January 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I've been a Rush fan for many years now, but had never got round to buying a Rush live DVD. Then I saw this in a liquidation sale and decided to take the plunge. I was not disappointed!

Firstly, having seen a fair few concert DVDs I have to say this has the best picture and sound quality of any I've come across. The camera work is spot on and the whole presentation is nothing short of outstanding.

Filmed in Holland on the Snakes And Arrows tour, the triple disc set is culled heavily from the album of that name. That's not a problem for me as I think Snakes And Arrows is a great album and probably their best since Signals. There is material spread from throughout their career, though 80s onwards does dominate and you have to look to disc 3 to find the really old classics. 2112 anyone?

The band are in great form throughout and appear to have lost none of their zest. Neil could do with smiling occasionally though! There are really too many highlights to mention, although I simply have to namecheck disc 2 opener Far Cry, a great song which is given a truly superb rendition here. Also, Armor and Sword, and The Main Monkey Business are outstanding and even better than the studio versions. For percussion freaks (like me) you simply cannot miss Neil Peart's solo on De Slagwerker. It's really innovative and much different from his solos down the years which have tended not to change much.

I think for some people the choice of material would be off-putting, and whilst I agree the setlist is not faultless (the setlist from Exit Stage Left is perfect) you have to appreciate this is right up- to-date, hence the setlist, and in my view this is a top-notch concert DVD. It's thoroughly recommended for fans of modern Rush especially and as such easily warrants 4 stars. My true rating is nearer 4.25. For a Rush fan it is of course essential.

Report this review (#226786)
Posted Wednesday, July 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This 3 CD package is a great concert experience that I will return to often. Everything works - from the excellent sound quality to the crystal clear picture. The stage itself is massive and there are incredible lighting effects, lasers and fire effects. The 3 split screens at times show each band member, and sometimes a visual effect to enhance the track being played. There are weird Rush-ian gimmicks, namely the 3 huge ovens full of rotating chickens that glow ominous red throughout the night. There is no reference to these except Lee says at the end of CD1 that they are no longer spring chickens so they need to take a break. At one point a weird chef appears to turn the chickens over. Similar in fact to the washing machines with rotating clothes in the 'Live in Rio' show. Other subtler things are on stage such as flanks of flowers around microphones, plastic dinosaurs around Lifeson's stacks and the piece de resistance is the miniature Stonehenge rock on Lee's keyboards - a nod in Spinal Tap's direction for sure. We see crowd shots and Lee takes home movies of them screaming Hello Canada - in fact we see many versions of him doing this from other shows.

Peart is featured with a sizzling drum solo that is well above what normally occurs in solos. He uses gamelon style blocks and sound effect drums to enhance the solo and his kit rotates to add depth. I love when the jazz band kicks in and he plays full blown jazz metrical patterns - there is a standing ovation after this.

There are no lengthy lead solo sections where Lifeson plays by himself but there is a nice acoustic piece following the drum solo. Lifeson effortlessly plays al the songs with precision and finesse. Surely one of the greatest guitarists in the world.

Lee's vocals are excellent and as clear as ever. His bass pounds on every track. I noted its all mostly hard rock on this live show. The band play old favourites that every Rush fan adores such as 'Spirit of Radio' and 'Tom Sawyer' but they focus on 'Snakes and Arrows' album, virtually playing every song. This could have been problematic but I find these live versions even better than the studio versions. I was never a huge fan of S&A but this live concert really brings something special to these tracks. I like the film clips that break up the songs such as South Park's Cartman singing Tom Sawyer and the weird clips of babies in prams and a game of snakes and ladders.

The bonus features are fun, such as watching the clips without the band shots and the making of the clips which show Rush at their kookiest. Some of the extra live tracks are great too so overall this is a must see for any Rush fan. I recommend this as well as 'Live IN Rio' which are completely different experiences. This is not as good as 'Rio' due to the set list, but it is still a fantastic DVD package.

Report this review (#236371)
Posted Tuesday, September 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars I believe that any living person wants to talk (or play) about their latest conquests than on their past victories. Hence the urge of playing tracks of your last album alive and dropping some old stuff (I'm not considering market reasons on purpose). S & A is a good album? Yes. It is a great Rush album? I believe the answer is "no". VT is far more exciting and its tour didn't put so many songs from it on the set list as S & A. Maybe the guys were excited on their triumphant return and really believed in thier last album, but only Far Cry and the instrumental The Main Monkey business (on a lower degree than the onther track) really get me impressed. It's a good album to listen, sure, but why not continue with the R30 experience and throwing some light on old gems long forgotten? I know that Geddy's voice now is a concern that have to be considered when making a set list but I'm really pissed off with their total focus on S & A. This DVD is a good acquisition but unfortunately the album of this tour is presented in an unbalanced way. Rush in Rio's far better even with its exquisite sound, thanks to the Brazilian crowd. R30 is the best of the three even if it doesn't show the full concert. 3 stars.
Report this review (#596424)
Posted Monday, December 26, 2011 | Review Permalink

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