RUSH Guitarist: 'R30' Is 'Best-Sounding Live Performance Of Us I've Ever Heard'

Mike Mettler of Sound And Vision Magazine recently conducted an interview with RUSH guitarist Alex Lifeson. An excerpt from the chat follows:

Sound And Vision Magazine: "R30" (Anthem/Zoe) celebrates RUSH's 30th anniversary as a touring and recording unit. But your first gig was actually in Toronto in 1968, as you recounted in one of the archival interviews on the second disc. Do you remember what was on your setlist from that show?

Alex: "Wow. Let's see. We did JIMI HENDRIX's 'Foxy Lady', CREAM's 'Spoonful' and 'Crossroads', THE YARDBIRDS' 'Shapes of Things', and maybe a few others. We only knew about seven or eight songs back then."

Sound And Vision Magazine: "R30" follows 2003's "Rush in Rio" DVD, which had a surround mix that put you right in the middle of the crowd. What did you do differently for this one?

Alex: "'Rio' was all about being in that 12th row center seat and feeling the energy of the crowd, whereas 'R30' is more about the performers and the production. It's a tighter sound — a tighter mix with less ambience and less crowd.

"You know, I've been to every RUSH show, but I've never seen one. This one, more than 'Rio', gave me a sense of what the show looks like and what it sounds like in a contained [indoor] environment. And this is probably the best-sounding live performance of us I've ever heard."

Sound And Vision Magazine: If you could pick a row and location for the viewer of "R30", where would it be?

Alex: "That's a little tougher to quantify, because it actually feels much closer to the stage. The bass, the snare, and the kickdrum are all in the middle. The guitar is off-center and more to the left side. The stereo mix is also off-center to avoid that congestion in the middle.

"Quite often, you're competing with so many things. For example, it's always a challenge to get a vocal to sound good in a live mix. You've got so much bleed in there from the drums, and the cymbals are the real killer. So you're filtering out all of that top end, and the vocal tone really suffers from it. But moving some things out to clear the area does help a lot."

Read the entire interview at this location.


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