Release Date: Nov 8, 2011
Record label: Roadrunner Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Prog-Rock
A year after the documentary Beyond the Lighted Stage made them more popular and beloved than ever, how do Rush choose to celebrate? How else but a concert album subtitled Live in Cleveland? Sampling the Canadian trio's career – from the prog ("La Villa Strangiato") to the pop ("The Spirit of Radio") and back to the prog ("2112 Overture/The Temples of Syrinx") – it complements their simultaneously released live remake of Moving Pictures, their biggest LP. It's no slight to Geddy Lee's vocal steez that the highlight of both packages is "YYZ," Rush's instrumental tribute to their hometown of Toronto – perhaps the only city that could have spawned this most quintessentially Canadian of bands. Listen to "YYZ": Related• Video: Rush Perform 'Tom Sawyer' on New DVD• Video: Rush Rocks Madison Square Garden with 'Moving Pictures' .
Rush's career reached an important milestone in 2011 -- the 30th anniversary of the release of the band's masterpiece, Moving Pictures. Its U.S. sales of more than four million copies shows that this is the album that even casual fans like. (Even those who don't "like" Rush tend to like "Tom Sawyer.") The Canadian trio celebrated the 1981 best-seller with the Time Machine tour, featuring a performance of the album in its entirety.
Rush has not suffered the indignities visited upon many of its contemporaries: The Canadian trio has not resorted to performing an evening of greatest hits with a local symphony orchestra, has not partnered with a younger, hipper, but completely inappropriate act with the hope of regaining some of its former glory, and the classic version of the band, the one forged in 1974, remains intact. Moreover, Rush keeps getting better. The 2010-11 Time Machine tour, which saw the trio perform the classic 1981 album Moving Pictures in its entirety, remains one of Rush’s best.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that an African American who names his band The Negro Problem would title a song “Black Men Ski” but Stew (Mark Stewart) has never done things the easy way. On this, his ninth release, he and ex-partner Heidi Rodewald trade vocals on a sprawling 50 minute concept album loosely about their own (now broken) relationship that shifts from discordant horn oriented jazz, to 60s styled torchy ballads, acoustic folk pop, slinky funk, soul and indie rock. It takes a few spins to absorb it all, but this artistic and genre pushing music demands your attention and rewards listeners with layered, lyrically challenging tunes that seldom go where you think they will.