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Rush: Time Machine 2011 - Live in Cleveland

Zoe Records – December 20, 2011

by Edwin van Hoof

RushAs a Rush fan I was boggled by the announcement of this live recording. Since 2003 the band recorded a show on every tour they embarked upon for release and alongside released "Replay X3" containing classic performances from the past. All of this topped off by the impeccable "Beyond the Lighted stage" Rush experience, a release that brought us closer to the heart of Rush.

"Time Machine" however brings us even closer to the beating heart of the three Stooges performing. The overal experience of this captivating concert experience is a jaw dropper. You feel close to the stage, even onstage as the interaction between band members Alex, Geddy and Neil is perfectly blended into the editing. You see them having fun, enjoying the action, enjoying themselves performing. It is hidden in plain sight why this band is so appealing to so many. Performing a slice from their huge back-catalogue spanning 40 years in rock, they hardly skip a beat and the pleasure radiated from the stage all the way to the last rows of Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena. Big thumps up to Sam Dunn and Scott McFaddyen for making this DVD/BluRay such a joyride. Their approach of the band's concert is as personal as the fans relive it while viewing it. The duo, also responsible for "Beyond the Lighted Stage", managed to cut "Time Machine" as a roadmovie rather than a concert flick most editors cut nowadays. Instead of focussing on the all so well known drumbreak from Peart, they show fans drumming along to it, when Lee hits his high note, they capture the audience doing the same, making it all part of this live experience. It is nearly perfect, almost impeccable!

Sure we have heard a ton of the songs featured for the millionth time, and for the worst, the band has even played it even so many times. But the fun just doesn't end with this band. Rush revives their classics over and over again, without discarding what it is all about; the vibe. Even though Geddy's voice aged, he simply manages to stand tall moulding the vocal lines within his (slightly) limited range. He saves his voice for the high pitches everyone is eagerly anticipating. It is the reason why songs stay appealing to fans played live, at least... for me. The musicianship is always above all things average. Stunning to see how powerful this trio still lays down a 3 hour plus set, without any rust or signs of aging. They rock hard, play loud and have fun. Lifeson glancing at the front rows firing away his fierce licks and solos, Lee pumps his bass empowering the live vibe, while Peart stays focussed and hammers down his drumfills like a clockwork ticking Swiss. He is perhaps the only drummer in the world looking this stoic, being cherished by so many. The loner at home within a huge crowd. The only drummer as well who is allowed a 10 minute solo spot anticipated and raved upon over and over again.

"Time Machine" celebrates the 25th anniversary of their acclaimed "Moving Pictures" album which is performed in it's entire. Songs we all know and cherish. For me however it is more interesting to see how they built a setlist around it, again discarding "The Trees". They succeed as always upon the slickest stage they have played on. Songs from their early days blend in perfectly with new tracks and more pompous classics from the 80's. "BU2B" easily interacts with "Hold your Fire" and the highlight to me; "Marathon." "Vital Signs" stands tall within the fierce prog powerhouse "Moving Pictures" still is. Songs like "Working them Angels", "Far Cry" and "Caravan" are already accepted as live classics. On top, the Canucks spice things up with funny videos introducing the Time Machine itself and a spin off to themselves named RASH. Slapstick Laurel & Hardy style!

The setting is simply gorgeous with the 'industrial revolution'-etched Time Machine. Integrated in the backline are screens giving us insight in what's happening onstage, and the lightning rig blends in with the stage scenery. It is all jaw dropping beautiful and captured in the highest possible resolution. On big screen it still looks crisp and sparkles when one turns on Ambi Light functions of the tv set. Sound-wise it also has the punch most live renditions lack. Powerful, little echoe from the arena adding up to the overal the experience of "Time Machine."

Added are a few rare performances as bonus which will make die hard Rush addicts more eager to buy. Well worth it as well.

No, this is by far their best concert DVD release, and perhaps the best concert DVD ever recorded. It brings you closer to the action that you can imagine! And if you insist; I did buy the 2CD version and vinyl edition of the release as well. You have to keep your collection complete... you just have to...Edwin van Hoof


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