Rush back pages...
It's now 36 years since Rush formed in Toronto, Ontario in the autumn of 1968, by Alexander Zivojinovich (Alex Lifeson), Gary Lee Weinrib (Geddy Lee) and John Rutsey. Influenced by the likes of Cream, they issued their debut single in 1973 (a rendition of Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away", sadly not captured on video), followed by their debut album in 1974, still represented live, by the classic "Working Man". Drummer Rutsey then departed to be replaced by Neil Peart, and the golden period of Rush rapidly ensued.
Unbelievably, by today's standards, Rush released two classic albums in 1975, "Fly by Night" and "Caress of Steel"! 1976 saw the arrival of their breakthrough album, "2112", the first platinum album of their career, side 1 of which was a futuristic concept based on the writings of Ayn Rand. The Top 40 UK and US album "A Farewell to Kings" followed in 1977, and that is where our video history begins with "Closer To The Heart", also their first hit single.
The early videos are very much of their time, either studio or live with a few dodgy seventies special effects thrown in, but the music is flawless, as we head through "The Trees", "Limelight", "Tom Sawyer" and "Red Barchetta". Then the eighties kick in, the music changes, the budgets increase and the shoulder pads arrive.
To begin with, the musical development was interesting and sometimes dynamic. "Subdivisions", "Distant Early Warning" and "Red Sector A" still managed to be vital while moving the Rush sound on. The videos were very much of their time, utilising nascent computer graphics. Unfortunately, as time moved on, Rush became more of a Police tribute band, and by the time they were releasing "The Big Money", they were just another band.
The nineties saw a resurgence with "Roll the Bones" and "Counterparts", but that period is outwith the scope of this reissue of Mercury's 1990 video compilation.
The DVD issue has got remastered Dolby 2-channel stereo, the in-studio performance of "Tom Sawyer" is newly released, with the video release coming from the "Exit, Stage Left" concert video), and there are two hidden bonus videos of "The Enemy Within" and "Afterimage". The claim is that they are 'previously unreleased', but they're nothing of the sort. They were both on the 1985 compilation "Through the Camera Eye". For those as DVD unsavvy as me, they're accessible by selecting the 'Rush Chronicles' logo on the 'Play Videos' menu.
The "Tom Sawyer" clip means that completists will have to have it, and although there is little new here, the remastered sound and the fact that it's being released at mid-price, makes this worthwhile for both Rush fanatics and the curious passer by.
Region 2 DVD (Europe, Japan, South Africa and the Middle East including Egypt).
Review by Zeitgeist