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Original Release Date: February 12, 1981
Deluxe Edition Release Date: April 5, 2011
Growing up in Oshawa one band that I always loved going to see in concert was Canada’s own Rush. Come to think of it, one of the first “big” bands that I ever saw in concert was Rush. It was at Iroquois Park in Whitby, Ontario. They were touring behind their third album, Caress of Steel, at the time. A friend of mine won tickets from a local radio station and he asked me to go with him and, well, you get the idea. I saw them in concert at the Civic Auditorium in Oshawa on their 2112 tour and then again on their All The World’s A Stage tour.
Then a funny thing happened. I drifted away from the band for a few years. I still listened to their new releases but stopped going to see them in concert. All of this is immaterial in the context of this review. I just mention it for context sake. Yes, I have been a long time Rush fan. That being said, I have never been slavishly enamored of the band. I have my favorite albums, albums I like and the odd “meh” album.
Moving Pictures falls squarely in my favorite album category. A classic in the truest sense of the word. I still remember hearing the opening Bass, Keyboard and Drum salvo of Tom Sawyer while driving in my car, the synthesizer slowly decaying before Geddy starts singing and Alex’s guitar chord slices through the song like a razor. Things just get better from there.
The futuristic automobile wet dream that is Red Barchetta; closing my eyes I still get goosebumps as the young man strips “..away the old debris that hides a shining car, a brilliant Red Barchetta from a better, vanished time”. Then as the song picks up steam and the instruments race on I can picture the fields blowing by me as I “ride like the wind, straining the limits of machine and man”. The marriage between music and lyrics is perfect on this track; hell, the whole album. For me, the Moving Pictures have been the ones that play in my minds eye every time I listen to this disc.
Other standouts on the disc are the instrumental track YYZ (the IATA Airport Code for Toronto Pearson International Airport), Limelight with another classic Alex Lifeson guitar riff and the songs tale of lyricists and drummer extraordinaire Neil Peart’s disillusionment with their burgeoning international fame and the brilliant track The Camera Eye.
For me, a true testament to this disc’s lasting appeal is the fact that five of the albums seven tracks still regularly make it into the band’s set list.
The deluxe edition comes in two formats; a digitally remastered CD plus DVD and a digitally remastered CD plus Blu-ray. The DVD and Blu-ray contain the album in both a superlative 5.1 Surround Sound mix supervised by Alex Lifeson and taken from the original multi-track tapes as well as a newly remastered stereo mix. Coupled with three music videos (Tom Sawyer, Limelight and the previously unreleased Vital Signs). Audio is presented in 96kHz/24-bit high resolution, which offers the listener the closest experience to actually being in the studio with the band while recording the album. The Blu-ray disc also includes the album in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround Sound.
CD: Tom Sawyer / Red Barchetta / YYZ / Limelight / The Camera Eye / Witch Hunt (Part III of Fear) / Vital Signs
Blu-Ray: Tom Sawyer (Audiophile 5.1 Surround and Stereo) / Red Barchetta (Audiophile 5.1 Surround and Stereo) / YYZ (Audiophile 5.1 Surround and Stereo) / Limelight (Audiophile 5.1 Surround and Stereo) / The Camera Eye (Audiophile 5.1 Surround and Stereo) / Witch Hunt (Part III of Fear) (Audiophile 5.1 Surround and Stereo) / Vital Signs (Audiophile 5.1 Surround and Stereo) / Tom Sawyer (Music video – 5.1 and Stereo) / Limelight (Music video – 5.1 and Stereo) / Vital Signs (Music video – 5.1 and Stereo) (previously unreleased)
Geddy Lee – Bass guitar, Minimoog, Oberheim 8-voice synthesizer, OB-X, Moog Taurus bass pedals, vocals
Alex Lifeson – Electric and acoustic guitars, Moog Taurus
Neil Peart – Drums, timbales, gong bass drum, orchestra bells, glockenspiel, wind chimes, bell tree, crotales, cowbells, plywood
Hugh Syme – Synthesizers on “Witch Hunt”
Check out the Eraserhead poster on the wall during Geddy’s first closeup.
Wikipedia: Moving Pictures