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RUSH Snakes & Arrows Live 2-CD (Atlantic) (2008)


Canadian prog / hard rock band Rush have always been a top live band. Regardless of whether you like the studio work or not (which has often been equally innovative and highly regarded), the live work has always been out of this world. And this set is no exception.

Having seen Rush live, at the Birmingham date at which 'A Show Of Hands' was recorded, I can also testify that Rush live albums are equally a good snapshot of both the concert performance and where Rush are coming from at that stage in their career. 'Exit Stage Left' and 'All The World's A Stage' were no exceptions, so I was very much excited by the prospect of this set.

'Snakes & Arrows' was released in May 2007 and the subsequent tour took them around the world. October saw the band record this set in Rotterdam, and kicks off with "Limelight". "Digital Man" sees some excellent bass work from Geddy Lee (helped with some excellent mixing and production), some of the arpeggios standing out. "Entre Nous" sees some drum rolls amongst the guitar work.

Mixing material new and old, the band then launch into "Mission" from the underrated 'Hold Your Fire'; you can see where U2 and The Cult got their guitar sound from, done here with finesse and melody.

"Freewill" is one of the rockier numbers with a hint of Yes. Disc 1 then continues with "The Main Monkey Business", "Between The Wheels", "Working Them Angels" and "Amor And Sword", totalling 14 tracks. A mammoth disc already, before we get to disc 2.

"The Way The Wind Blows" keeps up the presence of tracks from 'Snakes & Arrows' and rightly so, alternating heavy riffs and acoustic touches , and a decent guitar solo too it's a superb track.

If any other band tried to do what Rush do it would come over as jangly and samey, but this accomplished trio keep your interest with every track.

Another 13 tracks (you get good value at a Rush concert), which includes the Grammy nominated track "Malignant Narcissism". A couple of older tracks (and classics they are too) in "Distant Early Warning" and "The Spirit Of Radio", both distinctive and melodic. "Tom Sawyer" is another that many will recognise.

Everything comes together here; from musicianship and performance, to set list and playing time, you are not short changed at any level.


Review by Joe Geesin

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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