The history of Rush is a page-turner filling a large book. Rightfully so. Their contributions to Rock have been immense. Plus they lavish a bonus in that the 3 long-time band mates are still doing it in the same fashion - BIG - after all of these years.
Peart's drum kit still requires a significant amount of real estate on the stage (it surrounds him) while Lifeson's guitars emit the same explorative notes and Lee's bass and voice are every bit as expressive as they have always been. With Rounder's historical video release of R30, the 'balls-out' recording of part of their 30th Anniversary World Tour played in front of many fans, Rush's legacy extends further.
It is important to note, as a preface to R30, that Rush has not left the arena in any way. Their continuity of recordings still thrill fans and their concerts still fill arenas. With the exception of several, more higher profile, bands, there are few units that got their start in the late 60s/early 70s that can equal or surpass Rush's accomplishments.
The 2DVD/2CD Deluxe Edition release of R30 is an excellent look at the band in their concert setting as well as looking backward at the band's progression in a series of videos and clips. The firdt DVD include a show near the end of their 30th Anniversary Tour (Frankfort, Germany/Sept of '04) while the second DVD offers a flow of video clips that include interview segments, and other classy items. The set also include surprises such as a replica nylon All-Access backstage pass, two autographed picks (Lifeson/Lee), and a picture-filled booklet that includes more credits than you can shake a stick at (my name has to be in there somewhere.) But nothing surpasses the quality of sound and vision that you'll find when you pop that first DVD into your player.
The concert footage begins by automatically allowing you access to your choice of PCM (2.0 Stereo) or 5.1 Surround. After you select, you can opt to choose the song that you want to hear or play the concert all. The set begins by a big screen animation representing past album covers and launches the band with a brief "where are those guys" filmed intro by Jerry Stiller (Ben's pop). Utiizing 14 high-definition cameras that places you just about anywhere on the stage that you need to be, the video becoming as beautiful a showcase as there can be. It is presented in 16:9 Anamorphic display. There is a slight hiccup of a layer change found on "Dreamline." It's quite noticeable but doesn't detract from the overall package at all as it is only momentary.
As have always been, there are likely to be arguments concerning track selections. But with an extensive song catalogue, it is impossible to please fans entirely. It is important to note that bands do try, in large part ( I'm not saying that balls are never dropped where song deletions are concerned), to provide a well-rounded selection of their tunes that dip into 'hits' and 'album classics'. With Rush's vast selections, they do an admirable job. For me, I'm an 'albums' guy. More than likely, I'll prefer a cut from the album that may not have gotten the attention otherwise and, thus, less likely to be played in a concert setting. But that's me. I say this to drive home the fact that not everyone will be pleased with selection, however, the set-list is geared toward early Rush. But you have to absorb the experience as a whole in order to fully immerse yourself in the R30 show provided.
Sound-wise, you'll be absolutely pleased with the clarity that both mixes bring to the set. It should be said here (of course, I'm somewhat of a zealot in this matter) that the Stereo mix is more spiritually satisfying and offers the better of the two mixes.
The second DVD offers 5 interview clips from varying periods of Rush's career. The first clip is from 1979 and prorgesses through periods 1981, 1990, 1994 before landing in 2002 for a Vapor Trails tour interview. The disc is filled out with various clips of songs that include "Fly By Night," " A Farewell to Kings," "Xanadu," "Circumstances," and "Closer To The Heart," the latter being a part of a benefit for Asia. The video is presented in 4:3 fullscreen but the cleanliness of most of the film is good.
The complete Deluxe Edition is wrapped up by including a 2CD package that is the same as the live set found on DVD 1. When you add up all of the material found on this set, it's hard to ignore the value to Rush fans, not only as a document of this point in their career but also the historical treatments offered on DVD2.
Fans cannot go wrong with the addition of R30 to their already extensive library (Rush fans are a rabid and immeasureably loyal bunch). R30 is the way to go. It also receives our high marks for defining concert footage.
This set also comes in a DVDs only package.