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Video Review: A SHOW OF HANDS CONCERT VIDEO
All reviews are (c) Patuto Enterprises and originally appeared at Epinions.Com
A Show of Hands - Another classic Rush concert video.
Pros: Great performances by Rush. Superb camera work, lighting effects and concert 'feel'.
Cons: Limited selection of songs - mostly from 3 albums. But that's not necessarily bad :)
The Bottom Line: Experience Rush live in the only way you can now a days - through a concert video. This one is sure to please...
A Show of Hands is a Rush video concert that reflects highlights from their Hold Your Fire tour of the late 80's. A Show Of Hands - Video coincides with the band's release of the double-live CD of the same name - their third such live offering. And while the video doesn't have quite the span of songs that the double-CD has, it more than makes up for it with the splendid concert footage, exceptional production values, and the incredible ability to watch one of the most underrated bands of our era perform their hearts out.
Seeing Rush live during this tour was simply amazing. No video, no matter how well produced, could ever truly capture the tangible magic that materializes in the very air when Rush takes the stage. You can fell it around you, you can see it in the eyes of your fellow spectators. You can hear it in the unyielding roars of approval. It is a genuine rush and this video comes as close as any to honestly portraying that rush - right in your home.
Like, dislike or just not care about their music, few people would argue the musical genius these three Canadians generate, especially when performing live. A Show Of Hands - Video is an exceptional doorway into this genius that any music fan can appreciate.
And so, let's take a look at the songs highlighted in A Show Of Hands - Video. As with my other Rush-related reviews, please see my specific album reviews to gain a better understanding behind each song. Rather than repeat that information here, I'll be focusing on the performance behind each song as it is more directly related to this video.
A Show Of Hands - Video VHS - 90 minutes. Released: July 1991. Hi-Fi Stereo
1. The Big Money
The video opens up with animated caricatures of the three band members (Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart) flying over the crowd and landing on the stage as they immediate dive into the opening chords of The Big Money which is originally from their 'Power Windows' album. The powerful guitars and bass, coupled with the synthesizers building to a climax really launch this song. Alex and Geddy are clearly enjoying themselves as they move throughout the stage, dancing and playing to their heart's content. The song ends with a little embellishment that drives the crowd wild. This would have been an incredible way to end the show...but this is truly just the beginning of what is yet to come.
Also from 'Power Windows', Marathon is one of those songs that takes on a whole new appearance when performed live. An exceptional song from the studio version, live, Marathon is treated as an event. It starts out slow, almost introducing the crowd to its intricacies, then it begins to build up tempo and momentum. This is perfectly showcased by Geddy's exceptional vocal abilities. As the song nears its end, it all comes together with stunning background vocals and music. Beautifully orchestrated, beautifully performed, and a treat to behold.
3. Turn the Page
Originally from 'Hold Your Fire', Rush slows the pace down just a bit with this first song from their then latest album. Lacking much time changes, but consisting of some intricate playing, Rush does more experimenting than anything else with this track. The crowd is somewhat subdued as they're treated to the first live rendition of this song, but still they're into the entire event.
4. Prime Mover
The second song from 'Hold Your Fire' has Geddy Lee performing wide ranging vocals behind some interesting bass and synth playing. The rapid time changes in this song keeps the crowd on their feet and the lighting effects coupled with the great camera work really make this entire song a treat to watch and experience. Not as powerful as some of their other songs on this video, Prime Mover still works out to be one of my favorites.
5. Manhattan Project
Originally from 'Power Windows', Manhattan Project opens up with military-style percussions which instantly gets the crowd energized. This is a powerful song about a powerful topic, and the backdrop of video images brings the entire performance together. Message-driven music is what Rush is largely about. Marrying that music with imagery during their concerts is something few else can do with such vividness as Rush. This one's a gem.
6. Closer to the Heart
Originally from 'A Farewell to Kings', this is arguably the most popular Rush song of all time, especially when performed live. As soon as the first recognizable classical guitar notes are expertly strummed by Alex, the crowd responds with lighters held high. The best of the Rush sing-a-longs, this is a prime example of how moving Rush music can be to fans and non fans alike. As the song goes along, once again Geddy and Alex improvise and have a great deal of fun playing off each other. Another gem that truly highlights the abilities of this power trio extraordinaire.
7. Red Sector A
Originally from 'Grace Under Pressure', this is another song that immediately captures the crowd's attention and holds on tight. Great lighting effects, tight camera angles and typically solid acoustics, Red Sector A is as tight a performance and reflection on the original as one could ever hope for. Another powerful statement being relayed through Neil Peart's ingenious lyrics are perfectly portrayed in live video form.
8. Force Ten
Another song from 'Hold Your Fire', this one instantly ignites the crowd with its rapid-fire music and powerful vocals. A light-hearted song that, once again, Rush has some fun with, but end up creating a solid rendition of the original. There's dancing in the aisles on this one, and the various cuts between the band and the crowd are a treat to absorb.
Yet another song from 'Hold Your Fire', this is the song that lent its opening lyrics to the name of the album. "Hold your fire. Keep it burning bright...". This song is packed with time changes that are a trademark of Rush music. Few would have thought they'd be able to recreate this song live, but as is often the case, Rush does so with relative ease. This song really highlights the musical abilities of each of the member of Rush - how they seamlessly interact with one another in an effortless showcase of their talents. Great stuff here.
Another fun song from 'Power Windows', this performance once again shows the band enjoying their job as they perform the lightning-fast licks that highlight this song. Great close-ups, good lighting, and nicely done crowd shots once again make this song a treasure to not only listen to, but witness. It's almost like being there live...almost :)
11. The Rhythm Method
Many have said that this track alone is worth the price of the video. Some say that Neil Peart's drum solos are worth the price of admission to a Rush concert. They're both right. Neil Peart, largely considered the finest percussionist in all of the music industry struts his stuff with this imaginative and inhuman drum solo. Close your eyes (or listen to the version on the live CD) and you'll swear that there's a team of people creating those sounds. Open yours eyes in disbelief as one man expertly nails every drum, every symbol, every tom-tom, every note with such precision and force and you'll know why Neil receives the praise that he does. Absolutely awe-inspiring and humbling at the same time, this is Neil at his finest.
12. The Spirit of Radio
What better way to keep the crowd at a high after a drum solo but to launch into one of the band's most popular tunes. The Spirit of Radio, originally from 'Permanent Waves' is just that - a mega hit that really put Rush on the map - to stay. Every aspect of the song, despite being 20 years old, is still fresh and invigorating. That's perhaps why it translate so well to a live venue. This is something to behold and while the video does it justice, there's simply no substitute to witnessing this one live.
13. Tom Sawyer
Opening up with a animated short cartoon, Rush launches into their staple song - Tom Sawyer, originally from 'Moving Pictures'. The crowd goes into a frenzy even though most have heard this song countless times before. And why not? Rush still puts incredible punch behind this song while poking some slight fun at it at the same time. The crowd goes wild and it shows while Rush continue to craft their magic with this song. It's amazing to see how effortlessly they play this song since it's still considered a difficult one to master by others. Amazing doesn't quite to the description justice.
14. 2112 - La Villa Strangiato - In the Mood (Finale)
The video closes as the concert did. With a montage of songs that begin with the opening tracks of 2112, the monstrous hit from the album of the same name. Only treated to the Introduction and The Temples of Syrinx from 2112 the crowd is nonetheless mesmerized by the performance, and the lighting effects perfectly capture the mood. What a joy it is to see Geddy Lee make fun of Alex Lifeson for missing a beat at the beginning of this segment. It just proves that Rush, as serious performers as they are, still have a lot of fun with what they do. Racing directly into their instrumental extraordinaire - La Villa Strangiato, originally from 'Hemispheres'. Some comical warnings are displayed about the vocals being voiced by Alex Lifeson (none of which I've ever uncovered), which then lead into the mega-instrumental. Once again, as is often the case, this video documentary showcases and highlights just how talented these three musicians are. La Villa Strangiato is as complex a music piece as any you'll ever hear. The original is a masterpiece to behold. Witnessing it live is a dream come true. The finale ends with a song from Rush's very first and self-titled album. In the Mood has always been a crowd pleasure with its simplistic and fun lyrics and catchy, if non-Rush like music. An explosion of red-balloons over the crowd certainly highlights this segment as both Rush and fans jam together in harmony. A great way to end a great video concert tour.
And there you have it. Another look at the genius that is Rush. Musically, sonically, we have a lot of material to judge them on. Sadly, only a few concert videos exist today - three in all actually. See what all the fuss is about. If you come across it, buy/rent A Show of Hands - Video. You'll be amazed as well.
Thanks, as always for reading...
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