Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Rush 23: Feedback and R30

Now that they were back at full strength, Rush happily began celebrations for their 30th anniversary as a band. Their first order of business was to release a covers EP. Yes, you read that correctly—one of the bands who always played their own material, to the note, was doing covers.
Most of the eight songs on Feedback come from that period around the Summer of Love that fostered countless garage bands. “Summertime Blues” follows the Blue Cheer template, but with more touches of The Who, who are also represented by “The Seeker”. Two other bands are saluted twice: the Yardbirds with “Heart Full Of Soul” and “Shapes Of Things”, and Buffalo Springfield with a staid “For What It’s Worth” and “Mr. Soul”, which sports a clever quote from “Eight Miles High”. Geddy Lee adds his own harmony to Love’s “Seven And Seven Is”, which repeats the first verse rather than go straight to the explosion. Finally, “Crossroads” is all Cream.
This little album is a labor of love from the band, and will be best appreciated by its fans. Purists who revere the originals but despise Rush should appreciate that Geddy’s vocals are mostly restrained, Alex Lifeson pretty much sticks to the riffs, and Neil Peart doesn’t hit more drums or cymbals than anyone has to.
Four of the songs on Feedback would become regulars on the setlist for the so-called R30 anniversary tour, the Frankfurt stop of which was subsequently documented in a DVD package. The deluxe version included archival content, plus the music on two CDs, with a slightly abridged program that repeats only eight songs from Rush In Rio.
Coming soon after that album may seem like market saturation, but the sound is superior to that set. The opening “R30 Overture” is a nice arrangement of snippets from their early epics, going right into “The Spirit Of Radio”. “Between The Wheels” is a surprise inclusion, and of course we get a banded nine-minute drum solo out of “Mystic Rhythms”. Another unplugged “Resist” leads to an acoustic “Heart Full Of Soul” with Neil’s most understated drums ever. By the end of the show, Geddy has to compensate for some of the high notes. (The visuals add to the experience, especially since vending machines are now visible near the washers and dryers on Geddy’s side of the stage.)

Rush Feedback (2004)—3
R30: 30th Anniversary World Tour (2005)—3

1 comment:

  1. Thanks as always for the fine commentary Wardo. I agree with much of what you said, but this album always felt something close to - meh. I grew up on Rush. They were the soundtrack to my youth. This one brought it all to a dead stop for me. Everything on it they did well, but didn't really bring anything wildly different or new to the songs that justified why Rush needed to record them.