Title: “Snakes And Arrows Live”
Label: Atlantic Records
Release Date: 11/24/2008
Genre: Progressive Rock
Progressive Rock icons Rush no longer seem to wait for a couple of albums to have been toured to release a live concert audio CD and DVD video. That’s fine by many of their fans because this ends up becoming the perfect concert memento in their eyes and since each concert always manages to fill a particular need in the fans desire bank, you will find a scant few who would argue with their practice. The premise continues with the release of “Snakes and Arrows Live”, a DVD that presents the band on tour for their “Snakes And Arrows” CD which was released in 2007 and garnered the band some well-deserved acclaim for its musical content. You might have been one of those readers that caught the band on tour since they did so much of that for the album and if you did then you already know what I am going to say about the gigs. They were not only sensational performances of the Rush classics but the group also decided to play an unprecedented eight numbers from the new album on the tour. Having experienced two regional shows when they came around I was impressed to see how little this bothered the diehard fans and this was probably not only because the album itself was good, but also because a Rush show is about three hours long. They no longer tour with an opening act and no one who buys a ticket for their concerts seems disappointed in that fact. The reason that their decision to do this was interesting to me is because I had also seen the mighty Iron Maiden do a tour where they presented their entire new album from beginning to end and then did three hits as the closer and instead of being applauded they were critically lambasted because of it. Yes, there are different crowds attending such a show but with Rush having a very heavy early catalog there is some overlap in the fans that they attract.
Filmed in Holland in October of 2007, the main concert takes up the first two DVD’s in the package while the third one offers up bonus material from a USA show. They break the DVD’s into set one and set two, and there are a few interesting bonus features on the first DVD that give you a little more of an inside look into the films that the band presents to their audience during a show. The “Snakes and Arrows” tour was a lot of fun and it begins with Rush’s signature sense of humor by offering up a short film and then the band is on the stage delivering their incredible tunes. They kick off the fun with “Moving Pictures’” own “Limelight” and do a few more classics before delving into the new material. There is a number of interesting lead in films during this particular show, and while I will not ruin every single one of them for you I will say that we are paid a visit from Jerry Stiller and those boys from the Great White North. Set one features a little less than a handful of the new tunes and there are clearly a couple of surprises that I was very happy to experience when I attended the show in my area. DVD2 kicks off the second set and I had to admit that I really didn’t enjoy the intro movie for that part of the show. To me it made no sense and was rather stupid, but of course my discussion with friends found some of them really enjoying that one. They really dive into the new CD during this set and do the numbers all in sequence as opposed to breaking them up. At first this bothered me and then I debated at how it was probably better for them to say “hey gang here is a chunk of new stuff” and then let those who still needed to be convinced of the albums relevance to be able to absorb it before they got back to the doling out of the classics.
Like any concert film there are some omissions that the hard core fans might have really wanted to see during this particular tour but the upside is that we do get the full show that went around the world with all of the lead in films and clips that the audience was able to enjoy. As the shows rumbled on around the world they did sometimes swap a number here and there and now as home viewers we are able to see every single one of them thanks to the magic of DVD3.
DVD3: “Oh Atlanta! The Authorized Bootlegs”: Ghost Of A Chance, Red Barchetta, The Trees, 2112/The Temples Of Syrinx
*** For DVD3 we get what the band refers to as “bootlegs” on the packaging but these are not your conventional shaky camera, grainy visuals and inaudible bootlegs but apparently semi-professionally shot clips of some of the other songs that Rush performed on this tour. Unlike the main film which was shot entirely in Holland, these selections come from a show that was done in Atlanta, GA. It’s a really great way to be one up on those who saw a few shows but still might have missed these particular tunes.
The release comes in a four-foldout digipack that features relevant artwork from the bands “Snakes and Arrows” tour and there is also a booklet included that while featuring a number of photos does not do justice upon the stuff you will see inside the film. Viewers can play this either stereo or with the 5.1 mix and it is also available on BluRay DVD for those who have the super high end stuff. While I have not yet seen that particular version I have read that it is extraordinary. If you are a fan of all things Rush, then this is a must have for your collection and if you just like concert films this one will not leave you wanting. The main concert portion of this release is also available as a double disc CD and at the time of this writing I was unaware of any future plans of packaging them together for the public. It is always a possibility of course.
2. Digital Man
3. Entre Nous
6. The Main Monkey Business
7. The Larger Bowl
8. Secret Touch
10. Between The Wheels
12. Far Cry
13. Workin’ Them Angels
14. Armor and Sword
16. The Way The Wind Blows
18. Natural Science
19. Witch Hunt
20. Malignant Narcissism – De Slagwerker
22. Distant Early Warning
23. The Spirit Of Radio
24. Tom Sawyer
25. One Little Victory – encore
26. A Passage To Bangkok – encore
27. YYZ – encore
Official Website: www.rush.com