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Rush - Grace Under Pressure Tour (DVD) CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.00 | 118 ratings

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Symphonic Team
3 stars "Be sure to put on you 3D-glasses and listen to those synthesisers"

Like the Exit... Stage Left video (originally released on VHS in 1981), the Grace Under Pressure Tour 1984 video (originally released on VHS in 1985) was also re-released on DVD in the new millennium. This first happened as part of a three DVD collection called Replay x 3 featuring Exit... Stage Left, Grace Under Pressure Tour 1984 and A Show Of Hands all re-mastered and transferred to DVD. Then a bit later these three DVDs were also released individually. The ones that I have are all of the individually re-released DVD versions, but (as far as I know) the contents of all three DVDs are exactly the same as on the VHS releases regardless of whether you buy them individually or in the Replay x 3 collection. The only extra you get from buying the latter is a bonus CD version of the Grace Under Pressure Tour 1984 (that unlike Exit... Stage Left and A Show Of Hands were never released as an LP/CD at the time of the video release). This CD has since also been released as an individual release. Confused yet?

The Rush of the Grace Under Pressure tour is quite different from the Rush of Exit... Stage Left, but the difference is actually much smaller live than it was in the studio. As I pointed out in my review of the Grace Under Pressure studio album, radical changes were made in the sound and approach from Signals onward. Indeed, Grace Under Pressure was pretty much Signals part 2. Rush was obviously adapting to the musical climate of the 80's with these post-Moving Pictures albums and while this is not a bad thing in itself it meant that they left behind progressive Rock in favour of a more New Wave and Synth Pop/Rock kind of approach. Still, in the live environment they remained a band to be counted with. This live video is clear evidence that while their studio output was declining rapidly at the time, they were still a very good live band.

Transferring the material from Signals and Grace Under Pressure to the stage meant that they could make them a bit rockier and give them more punch. Songs like The Enemy Within and The Weapon are indeed very enjoyable here despite the very cheesy and silly pre-recorded video introduction to the latter. Witch Hunt is, of course, excellent and the highlight of the whole concert for me. Despite the fact that these three tracks originally appeared on three different studio albums, they are all parts of a trilogy entitled Fear. Somewhat strangely, part I (The Enemy Within) appeared on 1984's Grace Under Pressure, part II (The Weapon) on 1982's Signals and part III (Witch Hunt) on 1981's Moving Pictures. Here they are played in their numerical order to great effect.

Another benefit from performing live is that they could avoid some of the weaker tracks from the studio albums (and yes, there were such tracks on the two most recent albums at the time). However, they still felt they had to include the feeble New World Man for some reason. Among the classics we find Closer To The Heart and a medley of YYZ, Temples Of Syrinx (from 2112) and Tom Sawyer and another medley of Vital Signs (not a good version!), Finding My Way and In the Mood, but overall there is a heavy focus on the early 80's material. Overall, I think that this live video is better than the Grace Under Pressure studio album and highly enjoyable in its own right despite some evident flaws and cheesy moments. At one point, for example, the audience is told to put on their 3D-glasses (apparently handed out at the doors!) through a pre-recorded video featuring Dracula. Need I say more! The cheese-factor is high indeed.

Still, a recommended companion to the Exit... Stage Left video.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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