It’s been a banner year for the award-winning Classic Albums series. The most recent editions explore ground-breaking releases by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Black Sabbath. The latest edition tackles not one, but TWO epic albums from progressive rock powerhouse Rush. Rush: 2112 & Moving Pictures Classic Albums will be simultaneously released on DVD and Blu-ray via Eagle Rock Entertainment’s Eagle Vision subsidiary on September 28. These legendary albums mark pivotal points in Rush’s career. 2112, released in 1976, broke the band into major music chart domination, going #1 in their native Canada and in the Top 75 in the USA, where it was certified triple platinum. Moving Pictures added fuel to their rising stardom, opening them up to a mass audience with heavy-hitting hits like “Tom Sawyer.” Going #1 and quadruple platinum in Canada, as well as hitting #3 in the USA and the UK, this 1981 release remains their biggest selling album to date. Rush is currently performing this album in it’s entirely on their “Time Machine” tour. Rush: 2112 & Moving Pictures Classic Albums is a perfect encapsulation of what made these albums successful, and why they are revered to this day.
Continuing the tradition of this celebrated series, 2112 & Moving Pictures Classic Albums carries us through the creation of these musical masterpieces via brand new interviews, demonstrations, archive videos, and use of the original multi-track tapes. The titan trio of bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, and drummer Neil Peart, joined by original producer Terry Brown, weigh in on the mammoth melodies, resounding riffs, and dynamic drum fills behind these immense aural soundscapes. Many others contribute to the commentary, such as Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins and acclaimed Rolling Stone journalist David Fricke. 112 minutes in total, this DVD digs even deeper with 50 minutes of bonus material not included in the upcoming VH1 Classic broadcast (airing September 8 at 9:30pm and September 9 at 8:30am and 12:30pm).
There was a time when Rush was a band I knew of only from Futurama. Then as that same time began to go on through the years, the band cropped up into more and more TV shows and films that I watched on a regular basis. First it was Chuck’s first season (I believe, anyway—it’s been awhile). I enjoyed the music while they were played in the short clips on the shows, but never enough to track down the requisite “Best Of” album that would finally award me the copy of Tom Sawyer that I was hearing most of the time. Then I saw the movie I Love You, Man and then I decided to hell with it, I was just going to go out and get that damn CD because I’m tired of them showing up in everything I watch.
Truth be told I’m not sure why it took me so long. I’m generally not a fan of music that’s pre-90s (but that’s when I grew up, so what do you expect?), so that was one reason but the strange thing was I did enjoy what I was hearing…I just didn’t ever make an effort to go out and get it though. But with that situation remedied, I was jamming to old Rush classics like the aforementioned “Tom Sawyer” as well as “Working Man” and “The Spirit of Radio.” It’s admittedly very nerdy music at times, mainly just in how methodically it’s composed. Not just the music but the lyrics as well—there’s some stuff in there that just makes you wonder if someone with a PhD wrote it.
And it’s those kinds of curiosities that make this Blu-ray a great disc to watch. Covering both the “2112” and “Moving Pictures” albums, this Rush Classic Albums documentary goes in-depth and behind the scenes of the history of these CDs. Of course the requisite concert footage and other old oddities is included, but new (well, at the time of this making anyway—not sure how old this documentary is now at this point) interviews with the band members help make this is an invaluable documentary to old and new Rush fans alike. There is also the additional input from those that Rush inspired, so it’s not just limited to what Rush or critics thought of the album, but those that grew up with it and eventually went onto join or form bands that went onto their own forms of success.
Overall it’s a really solid documentary and one that’s definitely Recommended for fans.
Eagle Rock Entertainment brings Rush to Blu-ray in a standard Elite Blu-ray case. Sadly there is no booklet inside, but the menu system for the disc lays out everything in a nice and tidy fashion. There are even a few extras to check out as well.
Blu-ray is an odd format to even bother putting something like this out on—the documentary is made up of a lot of archival footage that looks pretty dated and very VCR-like in most cases (and is likely presented in a cropped state, since it’s all in 16×9) so why they even bothered with a 1080i bump I don’t know. The AVC encoded piece still looks good for the talking head portions and the audio, a simple LPCM mix, was actually probably a highlight, as it presented a lot of the old footage (as well as the new stuff) with really nice clarity—I was genuinely surprised by how good it sounded. But considering this is likely the same mix they used on the DVD (I assume, anyway) I don’t know if the Blu-ray is actually making it sound any better.
Extras include a series of extra Interviews that run nearly an hour in length. Which is a really nice surprise as, with almost any documentary, there’s a lot of good footage that just doesn’t make the cut for time reasons and it’s nice to get it all collected here in a bundle.
Overall a Recommended release for fans. Newcomers will want to stick with a rental.
Rush – 2112 & Moving Pictures Classic Albums is now available on Blu-ray.