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Rush: Snakes and Arrows Live(2007)
The band's performance at the Netherlands' Ahoy Rotterdam arena is captured with 21 High Definition cameras over 2 nights in October 2007.
For more about Rush: Snakes and Arrows Live and the Rush: Snakes and Arrows Live Blu-ray release, see Rush: Snakes and Arrows Live Blu-ray Review published by Sir Terrence on January 8, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 5.0 out of 5.
Directors: Francois Lamoureux, Pierre Lamoureux
» See full cast & crew
Rush: Snakes and Arrows Live Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Sir Terrence, January 8, 2009
I have always said that talent is great, but talent and experience is better. Rush is a perfect example of that. Formed in 1968 in the Willowdale neighborhood of Toronto Canada, Rush consists of bassist, keyboardist, and lead vocalist Geddy Lee, lead guitarist Alex Lifeson and drummer and song writer Neil Peart. Ladies and gents, these guys are not in their twenties or thirties, these three ultra talented men are in their mid fifty's, but they have the energy of guys many years younger than this. I do not know many rock bands with younger members who do three hour plus concerts, but these guys routinely do so, and they do so seemingly with ease. Back in the eighties when I was coming out of my teens and into my twenties, I was really into Rush big time, as their music seemed so alive and full of power to me. Back then they where really into electronics, incorporated both the synth, and electric drums in their instrumental toolbox. To this day I still have copies of "Grace Under Pressure", "Power Windows", "Signals", "Hold Your Fire", and "Presto" albums in vinyl, and I just cannot seem to part with them even though I no longer own a turntable to play them on. All of these albums relied heavily on electronic keyboards and percussion to create their signature sound of that period. Over the years Rush has incorporated many styles of music in their long list of original tunes. I guess it could be best broken down in this fashion. 1977-1981 is considered their progressive rock years. During that period their music they added new wave and reggae flavor to their music, continually morphing and honing in their sound throughout that period. 1982-1989 is best known as their synthesizer period, moving synthesizers and electronic drums from the background to the foreground elements within their music. 1989-1997 Rush returned to their roots shedding the electronic sound for a more tradition bass, lead guitar and drum sound, and although synth was used, it no longer dominated their sound retreating to a more background instrument with each album during that period. 1997-2005 began as a very tragic time for Rush, with the 1997 death of Neil Peart's daughter, and 1998 death of his wife; the former dying in a car accident early in 1997, and the latter dying of cancer in June of 1998. This began a five year hiatus for the band, while Peart took the time to travel around North America on a BMW motorcycle to morn and reflect. He announced during his daughters funeral that he was officially "retired", and would no longer be performing. In 2001 after marrying his current wife, he announced to the group he was ready to return, and the band began immediately working on the CD "Vapor Trails". They chose to go in an entirely different direction for this album, which resulted in a painstakingly long 14 months to complete. The album also hailed their return to touring, and allowed them to perform in front of the largest crowds the band has ever performed for. 2006-present represent their Snakes and Arrow period, taking just five weeks to lay the tracks for the album. In 2007 they announced the Snakes and Arrow tour, which brings us to the special nights of October 16 and 17, 2007, the nights this terrific Bluray was recorded.
Once again we return the Ahoy Arena, the site of my previous review of Within Temptations terrific Bluray, The Black Symphony. On these two nights, we are treated with one of the most integrated musical concerts this reviewer has ever laid his eyes on. Featuring a state of the art multimedia presentation that provided the visual support for the band, these three guys operate more instruments simultaneously than any group I have seen in years. Using midi controllers and digital samplers, these gentlemen create non traditional instruments, accompaniments, vocal harmonies, and other sound effects in real time to create a fat, texture rich sound that makes them sound exactly like their studio albums do. They do this with no additional backup singers or musicians. Their multimedia presentation provided the visual accompaniment to their playing perfectly, supporting the music, and provided in between set comedic entertainment with the likes of Ben Stiller, the South Park kids, and Great White North's Bob and Doug McKenzie. The lighting design was state of the art, providing a wide color palette that featured most of the primary and secondary colors and a few hues to boot. Two highlight moments for me were Peart's drum solo, and "Between the Wheels" which featured three lighting trusses filled with colored LED gobals, washes, and LED light bars, giving us a light show reminiscent of the alien ships from Close Encounters. That gave me goose bumps. We are treated with one of the most extensive laser and light shows I have ever experienced, with the lighting show bathing the entire arena with moving lights which worked in concert with the visual multimedia projection system behind the band. The opening film sequence is genius, and featured a pretty aggressive sound mix. There were many hilarious moments on this disc, but "What's That Smell" short in the bonus features section was absolutely funny as hell to me, as were the outtakes. During the final credits, Neil Peart appears as a swami's head on a pillow, and is attacked by a bunch of dolls. I just could not stop laughing at this, as this group as a whole shows a lot of humor on this Bluray disc. I could go on forever, but safe to say, this is one damn good concert video, sitting right next to Within Temptation's Black Symphony as one of the best music video I have reviewed so far.
"Limelight" - 4:47
"Digital Man" - 6:56
"Entre Nous" - 5:18
"Mission" - 5:39
"Freewill" - 6:01
"The Main Monkey Business" (From Snakes & Arrows) - 6:06
"The Larger Bowl" (From Snakes & Arrows) - 4:21
"Secret Touch" - 7:45
"Circumstances" - 3:46
"Between The Wheels" - 6:01
"Dreamline" - 5:15
"Far Cry" (From Snakes & Arrows) - 5:20
"Workin' Them Angels" (From Snakes & Arrows) - 4:48
"Armor and Sword" (From Snakes & Arrows) - 6:57
"Spindrift" (From Snakes & Arrows) - 5:46
"The Way the Wind Blows" (From Snakes & Arrows) - 6:24
"Subdivisions" - 5:43
"Natural Science" - 8:34
"Witch Hunt" - 4:49
"Malignant Narcissism" (From Snakes & Arrows) - "De Slagwerker (Drum Solo)" - 10:41
"Hope" (From Snakes & Arrows) - 2:21
"Distant Early Warning" - 4:53
"The Spirit of Radio" - 5:03
"Tom Sawyer" - 5:48
"One Little Victory" - 5:26
"A Passage to Bangkok" - 3:57
"YYZ" - 5:17
Rush: Snakes and Arrows Live Blu-ray, Video Quality
Rush's Snakes and Arrows powers onto the Bluray format with a reference quality 1080i/AVC encode, framed at a 1:78:1 aspect ratio. Filmed with 21 HD cameras, this disc is a showpiece of visual quality. The source is pristine, with absolutely no digital artifacts to be found. Black levels are inky deep, and contrast is perfect, as this combination give images superb dynamic range. Detail and fine detail is exemplary as every hair, wrinkle, types of fabric, the chickens in the giant rotisserie ovens, clothing, the settings on Geddy's keyboards, even down to the notes on his pedal board are easily discernable. Every detail on the drum kit, guitars, speakers, and even down to the mobile robo cam is clearly visible as well. Colors exhibit an extremely wide palette, are well saturated, and lack smearing and chroma noise. All of the primaries and secondaries are well represented, and the colored beams of light from the lighting and lasers contrasted next to the absence of light were visually stunning. I have no problem giving the picture quality a perfect score, it deserves nothing less. I couldn't find anything wrong with it even when I was actively looking for it.
Rush: Snakes and Arrows Live Blu-ray, Audio Quality
As with other concert videos, the sound is the king. Granted an excellent 5.1 Dts-HD master audio mix encoded at 24/48 kHz bit and sample rate, the audio is as good as the picture quality with just one problem that seems to dog every rock and roll music video release I have reviewed. The sound field is huge, stretching across the entire width of my room, from floor to ceiling, and from the just in front my speakers to the front wall of my home theater. Instead of trying to capture the natural ambience of the arena, the music is nicely folded from the fronts to the rear, giving a nice spaciousness to the overall mix, without sounding overly reverberant. No detail is lost, as the instrumental clarity factor is first rate. The bass emanating from the LFE is tight, extremely well defined, and very clean. Geddy uses chords on the bass guitar, and it is very difficult to record without sounding muddy (I learned that the hard way). Here it is crystal clear, highly textured, and well balanced. I heard of complaints of bass levels being too low on this release, but on my system that just wasn't the case. The kick drum was also well captured, is tight as a rubber band, and comes across very balanced. The entire drum kit is well captured, and does not suffer from the 12ft wide imaging I have heard from other music video releases. Lifeson's lead guitar is also well defined, but can get buried on occasion. The upper frequencies sound a little pushed, and that is evident when the volume it turned up. It however gives the overall mix tremendous clarity, without sounding overly harsh or strident. Keyboards are captured in a far off way, giving them an ethereal kind of feel when accompanying the other instruments. My only peeve with this mix lies in the prioritizing of the vocals in the mix. They are quite frankly buried when the other instruments kick in, and Geddy's diction is not exactly the best I have heard. For me, that is not enough to keep the audio from getting a perfect score, as so much is right, it far outweighs the negatives.
Rush: Snakes and Arrows Live Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
I enjoyed the bonus content on this disc as much as I enjoyed the concert itself, and there is enough of it to keep you busy for a few minutes.
What's that Smell Vignette and Outtakes is a hilarious skit used to introduce the second set. It is truly funny to me, and worthy of view more than one time.
2007 Tour Outtakes features behind the scenes footage from the earliest part of the Snakes and Arrow tour.
Far Cry and The Way the Wind Blows Alternate Cuts
Red Sector A is a cut from the R-30 Tour.
Oh Atlanta: The Authorized Bootlegs feature the songs "Ghost of a Chance", "Red Barchetta", "The Trees" and "2112 Overture/The Temples of Syrinx" recorded in Atlanta.
Rush: Snakes and Arrows Live Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
I have bragged about this release long enough. Snakes and Arrows live is simply first rate across the board. This is reference material that is an excellent musical source to show off your home theater to your friends and family. Aside from the few quibbles I had on the audio, this is as good as it gets in terms of quality performance, quality visuals, and quality sound. Based on the few user review we already have on Bluray.com, some folks have already discovered what a gem this release is. The rest of you need to get up off your collective butts, and hit the Amazon link from this website and get this disc toot sweet. It renewed my love for this group, and love that extends back to the eighties. These guys have not lost a beat, and quite frankly there are next to no groups who have been together for anywhere close to the 35 years this group has, and that is a testament to both their talent and their ability to change and stay fresh over time. Highly recommended!!!
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