In lieu of 40th-anniversary dates anywhere other than North America, these two Blu‑ray/DVD reissues represent Rush in all their live, iconic and influential glory.
Rush In Rio features an open-air show from 2002, the last date of their triumphant Vapor Trails ‘comeback’ tour (following Neil Peart’s self-enforced hiatus from music in 1997) before one of the biggest audiences of their career. Its sheer size, energy and exuberance is captured remarkably well – the roar that greets Tom Sawyer and the voices accompanying Closer To The Heart and YYZ (an instrumental!) are almost as much a feature of the sound and visuals as the band. In contrast, R30 is an indoor show from Frankfurt in 2005 and focuses more on the band, their vivid and impressive stage set and the production design. Both setlists cover the enviable sweep of the band’s career – In Rio runs slightly longer due to songs omitted from R30. Both have some obvious inclusions (Tom Sawyer, Spirit Of Radio and Limelight, for instance), while In Rio has probably the more classic song selection, with the likes of The Trees, Freewill, Natural Science and La Villa Strangiato, along with truncated versions of By-Tor And The Snow Dog and Cygnus X-1. R30 gives us the likes of Force Ten, Subdivisions, Red Barchetta and an (almost full) version of Xanadu. In the extras department, In Rio includes an insightful documentary covering the shows in Brazil, while R30 contains some rare live and interview footage of the band from as early as 1975. The level of musicianship throughout both is undoubtedly stunning, but what these concert films convey that live albums often cannot is the humour, the warmth and the deep friendship that all three members of the band share and communicate so well. Both of these brilliant titles are now available at a wallet-friendly price of around a tenner, so why choose between them? Get both!