Eagle Rock | 2009 | 112 mins. | NR

A Canadian rock band formed in August 1968, Rush featuring lead vocalist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, and drummer and lyricist Neil Peart, have enjoyed a reputation as one of rock’s most respected bands. Though largely dismissed by critics and rarely played on mainstream radio, the group has developed a devoted fan base in their more than forty years together. Neil Peart known for his cerebral lyrics (influenced by works of science fiction and fantasy) gradually became a hallmark of the groups musical style.

A big reason Rush hit it big in America was because they didn’t sound like anybody else. The May 1976 release of 2112, the bands fourth studio album was a huge milestone. 2112 was a concept album; Neil Peart’s lyrics were particularly otherworldly. Record executives hated it. The opening track (which is one of the greatest showcases of the band’s musical abilities when performed in concert) is more than twenty minutes long and not radio ready. Brilliant, yes, but one can understand how it didn’t appear on many playlists. More than thirty years later, it still stands out as one of the best prog rock albums of all-time. Can anybody play the bass as well as Geddy Lee? Not many. Has there ever been a better rock drummer than Neil Peart? Keith Moon might be his equal, but that’s a debate that could go on forever.

A platinum breakthrough, 2112 freed them from the commercial A&R pressures of label executives. Rush was able to produce 1981’s Moving Pictures. It was with this album that the band finally found their voice. The album sold over four million copies and spawned several hits. The first side is one of the most memorable in rock history: “Tom Sawyer,” “Red Barchetta,” “YYZ,” and “Limelight.” Rush fans will likely agree that there isn’t one lousy song on the entire album. Seven songs and every single one is excellent. “XYZ” even scored a Grammy nomination. It turns out the signature rhythm of “YYZ” was based on the Morse code for Toronto’s International Airport Code.

Eagle Rock’s Classic Albums series has always been stellar and Rush 2112/Moving Pictures is no exception. Diehard Rush and music fans alike should enjoy this look at two of the best albums ever made. One of the most intriguing things about the band is how well it has stuck together over the past forty years, through some pretty difficult times — particularly for drummer Neil Peart — which makes their success even more remarkable.

Rush: 2112 / Moving Pictures Classic Albums comes with a solid 1080i/60 AVC/MPEG-4 high definition encoding. Archival footage is, obviously, not of the same quality as the new, HD-recorded material, but the HD footage is sharp, lacking in video noise and remarkably lifelike.

The audio is presented in a simple LPCM 2.0 Stereo mix. The dialogue in the interview segments is clean and the musical segments sound open and full.

The special features are all in 1080i/60 and consist of nearly an hour’s worth of additional scenes from the episode not originally aired in the program, including more performance segments and interviews by the band members. It’s almost like an entire additional episode of Classic Albums and definitely worth watching.

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