Saturday, 10 December 2016

Rush - Time Stand Still



It's as though you don't choose Rush as your band, they choose you. For all my music collection and love of all different bands, my connection with Rush is unbreakable and I suspect most fans feel the same way, It's not a cult following, the audience is bigger and for most cult bands, you cannot understand why everyone doesn't like them, you know why everyone doesn't get Rush.

There's Geddy Lee's voice, the side long Prog epics that continually get mentioned, when they accounted for just 6 years of a 40 odd year career. It may also be that Rush fans don't do air guitar solos, they do air drum solos, such is Neil Peart's domination of the band.

So this commercial release of the Rush R40 Farewell Tour is a fan thing. It isn't a history, the 2010 documentary, Beyond The Lighted Stage does that and is acknowledged as one of the finest documentaries in the genre. It's about the band's relationship with the fans. There are some tour tales, particularly about supporting Kiss in the 70's, but this is largely about and for the fans.




It isn't faultless, some sections over do the fawning and although Geddy Lee acknowledges that Rush would not have been able to keep to their beliefs without the fan support, this hasn't always rung true commercially. They ignored the UK for a good while as they chased the buck and my biggest horror was when they started to do VIP Packages.

VIP Packages are everything that irritates me about live touring. They are akin to paying more at Theme Parks to jump the ride queue. Meeting the fans shouldn't be based on who pays the most. But the band have never compromised musically. They remain a progressive group who can write choruses and the quality, album wise, is exceptional.

The 80's, sound wise, are dated by Geddy Lee buying six new keyboards for every album, Lifeson wanting to be Andy Summers for too long and Neal Peart's Electronic Drum fascination, but the songs from those times remain stellar.




There haven't been too many turkeys either. Presto divides fans, but for me, the only album that I can't abide is Test For Echo, the one album that is Rush by numbers. With Neil Peart's personal tragedy after that album, I hoped it wouldn't end with that, fortunately it didn't.

So the touring has ended and there's no indication that the band will continue to record. But what is left is a fine body of work and the admiration of all Rush fans. The Rush albums take pride of place in my collection, vinyl and CD and although it can be heresy to criticise them, I reckon I've paid my dues and am qualified enough to put across a point of view.

This release won't garner any new fans, but it's just the ticket for those who have been on the journey and it'll make those fans cry, it certainly reduced me to tears, an emotion I'm unused to.




Others have looked to take on the Rush mantle, few have achieved this. Dream Theater wanted to show how technically proficient they were, if you can play, you don't need to demonstrate this, Coheed And Cambria are too comic book, Mew too twee. Perhaps the nearest were Porcupine Tree.

We won't see their like again because bands are not nurtured by record companies as they were in the 70's and album sales are killed by piracy and streaming. But I'm thankful that I was born at at a time to appreciate what a band can bring to your life.


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