Album art for Rush In Rio

Album Review: Rush – Rush In Rio (Vinyl)

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Remember the days when a live album cost a few bucks more than studio albums? Even on vinyl?

No longer the case as Rush finally released their Rush In Rio live album (a culmination of the Vapor Trails tour) from 2003 on record, a near behemoth with the jacket, four disks and a price tag of $70 and up depending on where you purchase. It’s the thickest of any Rush vinyl releases and quite impressive.

All the same songs as the original CD release come with it (no previously unreleased tracks), but some new photos (bigger too) and a rather great write-up inside by Ray Wawryzniak. (Neil Peart’s novella “Leaving Vapor Trails Behind” from the original release not included.) In fact, one of the better synopses I’ve read from any of the Rush re-releases thus far. A thoroughly encapsulating piece that offers a little history you may or may not have known. Some features:

  • First time Rush played in South America (OK, we all knew that!)
  • First time “New World Man” released on vinyl
  • First time “By-Tor & The Snow Dog” was performed in 20 years and first release on vinyl since All The World’s a Stage
  • First time “Working Man” was played live since Moving Pictures tour
  • First time “Tom Sawyer” opened the setlist

I found the “Tom Sawyer” tidbit quite interesting, along with the explanation, as I not only remembered and was surprised when they busted out their most popular song at the get-go but had somewhat scoffed a bit at the band playing the song at all in my Vapor Trails tour review for the Orange County Register when Rush stopped at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

So how about the music? My does this album deliver a deliciously raw recording. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. The vinyl pressing exceeds the digital release and might just ruin the listening experience of Rush In Rio on any other format.

I had forgotten just how enthusiastic the fans were in Rio. Something you immediately take notice of after the needle drops. In fact, this record captures the essence of the crowd that night on Nov. 23, 2002 at the Maracanã Stadium more than the digital version. So much so the crowd noise sometimes over powers the band and if you close your eyes for a second you just might find yourself embedded with the 40,000 plus on that seemingly magical night.

This was the concert that band members Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart were taken aback by just how loud the crowd was and of course the audiences’ lyrical contribution to the instrumental “YYZ.” Rush In Rio captures the heart of a Rush concert like the previous live effort Different Stages, offering something more than welcome after the over-produced  A Show of Hands from 1989. Highlights include:

  • Roll The Bones
  • YYZ
  • Bravado
  • The Trees
  • Driven (Miss this song)
  • Resist (Brilliant)
  • By-Tor and the Snow Dog

Obviously, listening to records forces you to get up and turn the record every 15 to 20 minutes and you can’t take it with you. The pitfalls subsequent technology helped bridge over. But if you miss Rush, long for a bit of yesteryear in Rushdom, and want to experience as close to “I was there” live audio performance then get your turntable and lay down the first record (Geddy Lee side up; not the track listing side)  and experience some of the best Rush has to offer.

It does help to play at maximum volume.

And, don’t be surprised if you walk away a little wistful and perhaps a bit heartbroken.

Grade: A

Rush – Rush In Rio Track List:

Side A:
1. TOM SAWYER
2. DISTANT EARLY WARNING
3. NEW WORLD MAN
4. ROLL THE BONES

Side B:
1. EARTHSHINE
2. YYZ
3. THE PASS
4. BRAVADO

Side C:
1. THE BIG MONEY
2. THE TREES
3. FREEWILL
4. CLOSER TO THE HEART

Side D:
1. NATURAL SCIENCE
2. ONE LITTLE VICTORY
3. DRIVEN
4. GHOST

Side E:
1. SECRET TOUCH
2. DREAMLINE
3. RED SECTOR A
4. LEAVE THAT THING ALONE

Side F:
1. O BATERISTA
2. RESIST
3. 2112

Side G:
1. LIMELIGHT
2. LA VILLA STRANGIATO
3. THE SPIRIT OF RADIO

Side H:
1. BY-TOR AND THE SNOW DOG
2. CYGNUS X -1
3. WORKING MAN
4. BETWEEN SUN & MOON
5. VITAL SIGNS

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2 comments

  1. Nice u scored this. Seen it listed her in Canada for over $100. A little to steep for my liking but hopefully it will drop..
    Seen this tour and it was a great show…one of the best..
    Setlist everything was top notch..
    I mean By Tor….brilliant!

    1. Dang, that is steep!. Give it time or grab it used in a few months. And I agree, setlist killed. I’ll never forget Alex and Geddy on acoustic for Resist.

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