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The Wildest Crowd and the Greatest Music - 95%

corviderrant, June 26th, 2005

I only gave this 95 because this was on loan from a co-worker and I didn't get to watch the easter eggs--if I had, then the rating might've been higher. That aside, this is an amazing document of a triumphant performance by the Canadian rock masters in a country they'd never played in before, under frightening and potentially dangerous weather conditions (it was pouring rain at a monsoon level, nearly). And they pulled it off as only they can.

As the title of the review implies, the audience in this is positively insane! They sing along with every word, every note of music, even during the instrumental interludes! The crowd shots show all of them dancing, singing, going absolutely wild in a way rarely seen in America at concerts, at least in such a positive and non-destructive fashion. They show intense appreciation for the band as they perform an involving set of material spanning literally their entire career. Geddy comes right out and says early on they're going to play as much music as possible to make up for their never having been to Brazil in the past, and they deliver the goods as only they can.

The band is in their usual top form, and Alex' soloing in particular is fabulous, equal turns virtuosic, emotional, tender, and raging. He also goes through about a dozen different guitars in the course of the concert, electric and acoustic! What an underrated player he is. He also gets to show an aspect of Rush not known to most--their loopy sense of humor as he introduces the band and incorporates a silly scat-singing bit into the routine to make it much more amusing than usual. "This is jazz...jazz is WEIRD!!" Geddy being introduced as "The Boy From Ipanema" and obligingly playing a snippet of "The Girl From Ipanema" on the bass is very funny!

Neil Peart is up to his customary deity-like standard and his solo spot, "O Baterista", alone is an amazing display of drumming at its most musical and coherent--no mindless pounding here. Most drum solos are just that, frantic and mindless pounding that is ultimately aimless. He ends up playing with an entire big band orchestra thanks to modern technology at the end and it has an effect like no other.

Geddy, well, he is all over the stage when not pinned behind his keyboards and dancing on his bass pedals, and his vocals seem not to have changed at all since the 70s. He is not straining at all, it's still there and perfect. And his bass rings out loud and clear, unlike most concert settings where it is drowned out. They play with the same enthusiasm they had as young men and it is wonderful to see them obviously having as much fun as they are onstage.

The sound of the DVD is flawless, if a little muddy at very first given the weather conditions, but it clears up quickly. The picture is excellent also and the camera angles and work overall are quite creative and well-edited. The music is top-notch and even the songs I wasn't that familiar with I ended up enjoying very much.

These veterans delivered under nightmarish conditions and proved themselves the pros they are in front of a total of roughly 120,000 people in those Brazilian dates. Salute them and buy this DVD for the ultimate rock concert experience!

A damn good live album - 87%

westknife, June 23rd, 2004

Rush is great; I never get tired of listening to them, even though I have only a few of their albums. I got this on a whim, mostly because of the "career retrospective" nature of the tracklist. I only knew a handful of the songs here, but the ones I didn't know were just as enjoyable. It's interesting to hear them play brand new songs, and 30-year-old numbers back to back.

From other reviews I've read, I get the impression the sound quality is the most hated of any Rush live album. It's true, the crowd is constantly noticeable, and it is a stadium crowd. I think this is part of the show though, and it's cool to hear everybody scream at a certain part in a song. The music mix is kind of bass-heavy, so it makes for good blasting, and all the instruments are clear (guitar, bass, drums, voice, synth). You can hear everything that's going on at once, which is a rarity in recordings, especially live ones.

The performances themselves are great! It is amazing that after so many years, the band still has a spark, and still transmits so much energy. The songs I already knew (mainly the real famous ones) are played accurately, but also they are adapted very well from studio to a live setting. The songs all feel like they were meant to be live songs, even the radio hits like "Tom Sawyer" and "Spirit of Radio". The ones I didn't already know (mainly the newer songs, especially from the Vapor Trails album) are interesting, and made the performance seem well rounded. Listening to Rush in Rio makes me want to buy those other studio albums that I don't have!

So basically, I give it 90 for being an excellent live album, although I can't give it a perfect score (due to the nature of live albums, having no new songs). A little more improvisation or creative twists on old songs would have been nice, but why nitpick? Rush is obviously still a great live band, even this far into their career.