By Steven Wright
Live albums are primarily just for the most hardcore of fans. Best of live albums on the other hand, could be seen as both hardcore fan material and an introduction for new listeners. I went into this review with a narrow mind as I had only heard the classic rock masterpiece (read: overplayed) ‘The Spirit Of The Radio’, and thanks to Rockband, ‘Tom Sawyer’. So consider my listening of this album an education in Rush.
The production and sound quality of the album is top-notch, especially surprising for a live album. Some of the tracks do sound like they could be straight off a studio album. Is this a good thing? I am not sure. The album is twelve tracks long and very well paced, with the two big hitters around the start and end of the album, and a few surprisingly good tracks in between. The one memorable track was ‘One Little Victory’ which apparently is an unreleased track. I say apparently, because according to the inside cover all the tracks are from other Rush Live albums/DVD’s.
Three tracks from ‘Rush In Rio’, five tracks from DVD ‘R30’, and four tracks from the DVD ‘Snakes and Arrows Live’. This bothers me. A large percentage of sales will be from big Rush fans who surely will own all, or at least the majority of the live albums. It just seems a bit cheap to release an album full of previously released tracks. I suppose some could say that a live best of album could be exactly what they are missing from their collection, or even a great buy for a casual listener, but I am still not convinced.
I think I will listen to the album again but it will be exactly that, casually. The album has failed to convert me as a fan but it has opened my eyes up to Rush. I had no idea of their musicianship and I am now an admirer of their experimental nature. I’m not enough of a fan to buy their back catalogue though.
To summarise – a great album for fans if they, unlike me, can see past the obvious money grabbing tactics. I also think it could be a good album for newcomers but surely you would be better off buying their non-live ‘Best Of’?
# Audio CD (November 17, 2009)
# Original Release Date: November 17, 2009
# Number of Discs: 1
# Format: Live
# Label: Atlantic
# ASIN: B002P4VUMG