DVD review of Rush’s ‘Time Machine 2011 — Live In Cleveland’

“Time Machine 2011 — Live In Cleveland”
Zoe Records, DVD or Blu-Ray

By Rocky Landsverk

Rush’s fourth live DVD captured its Time Machine Tour, which centered around the 30th anniversary of the “Moving Pictures” album. Not surprisingly, the highlight of the tour and the DVD was that album played in its entirety to start the second set.

Rush Time Machine 2011For many serious rush fans, the cream in the middle was the “Moving Pictures” album’s 11-minute tour de force, “The Camera Eye,” the band’s last 10-minute-plus song and one of its best ever, which hadn’t been played live since the 1983 Signals tour. The song, which contrasts New York (first verse) and London (second verse), has long been a fan favorite and has been the most-requested in pre-tour polling for more than a decade. It met every expectation, with a fabulous video and perfect musical choreography as the three bandmates jumped through their mind-blogging array of musical instruments (with a little help from those friendly click-tracks).

Unfortunately as Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart move into their late 50s, they are starting to show signs of age. Lee’s voice takes several songs to warm up, and combined with a shaky sound mix the first three songs (“The Spirit of Radio,” “Time Stand Still” and “Presto,” also chosen by fan request) fall flat. Then came a series of setlist puzzlers until “Free Will” brings the Cleveland crowd back to life.

Following the “Moving Pictures” album the band introduced its second new song of the setlist, “Caravan,” to be on the upcoming 2012 “Clockwork Angels” album. The encore was long but included only the two contrasting suites, exotic instrumental “La Villa Strangiato” and three-chord powerhouse “Working Man,” the song that started it all when it broke through in Cleveland in 1975.

Bonuses are scant as the band has used most of them up on the previous releases. The “Real History of Rush” videos that introduce the first and second sets, again produced by Geddy’s brother Allan Weinrib, were possibly his best work.

Overall serious Rush fans have already bought “Time Machine” for “Moving Pictures,” and possibly for “The Camera Eye” itself. Casual fans might prefer R30, which features a more-accessible setlist, and all fans should make sure to give an evening of drinks and popcorn to the award-winning “Rush In Rio” DVD, replete with its boisterous imperfections and likely to turn into a purchase. “Time Machine” and the fourth DVD, “Snakes & Arrows Live,” are both in the rental category.

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