Watching 210 minutes of live Rush will change you, especially if you're not already a fan. Not to say this epic collection will convert you into a prog-rock-loving Geddy-phile, but there's definitely something rewarding in the experience. Like NFB documentaries or SCTV reruns, it makes you feel attuned to Canadian history.
Seeing Rush pack the Montreal Forum in 1980 on the first disc, Exit Stage Left, with moustached hosers who trip out on the spacey, tech sounds of Moving Pictures, is a pure Canadian hoot. On chapter two, Grace Under Pressure, a sellout show at Maple Leaf Gardens, everyone, including the formidable power trio, looks more cosmopolitan and new wave. Shoulder pads, feathered hair, pale skin and grainy video: portrait of a Canadian rock concert in 1984.
A Show Of Hands, disc three, though not as much fun because it's filmed in Britain, looks the most professional. Plus, Geddy Lee does plenty of his trademark one-footed hop, so you know the band is on. Rush-heads with dusty VHS versions should know Alex Lifeson re-mastered everything into Dolby 5.1, including a fourth audio-only disc of Grace Under Pressure. The accompanying booklets are tastefully designed, and Neil Peart writes a mirthful memoir.
Totally essential Canadiana - they should play it in high school history classes.