Rush – Moving Pictures 40th Anniversary: Album Review

The classic 1981 Moving Pictures album from Rush gets the anniversary treatment.

Release Date: 29th April 2022

Label: UMC – Mercury

Format: digital / CD / vinyl / super deluxe box set

We’re big fans of Rush here at At The Barrier. You’re never too far away from some Rush banter or debate whether we’re opining on their best album of the Eighties (and controversially it’s NOT Moving Pictures) or getting our guests to say Why They Love Rush (Andy Jones of Merry Hell being just one).

So here’s the latest in the increasingly elaborate reissues – that’s if you have deep pockets and big wallets for the impressive-looking super deluxe package with its shedload of contents. Musically, you could just stick to the more straightforward option of the original album, which you may well have anyway, with a live show from the era.

Once again, in keeping with the 40th-anniversary series, there’s the greeting with a reimagined cover, one that contains the album itself which is often hailed as the – make that ‘the’ – Rush album that sits atop the pile. Yes, it has the instantly recognisable and South Park/I Love You Man parodied Tom Sawyer and Limelight, two songs that have both had the honour of selection as set opening tunes. Red Barchetta is an underrated one and YYZ could possibly be their finest instrumental piece- check the Live In Rio DVD with the crazy South Americans singing along…to an instrumental! The lengthy journey through London and Manhattan in The Camera Eye adds to the ‘prog credentials’ with its impressive instrumental sections and hints of the keyboard-orientated direction that was to come. A personal fave has always been Witch Hunt from the ‘Fear’ series with its ominous mood and line about ignorance and prejudice walking hand in hand. Vital Signs has always been the one stumbling block for me. Placed handily at the end of side two it’s a bit of a ‘meh’ note on which to end, but also another indication of future directions with the reggae-fied theme.

The fact that the album had the honour of being played in full on the Time Machine tour some thirty years later is an indication of the esteem in which Moving Pictures is held.

The live show, Live from YYZ – Toronto if you weren’t aware, but if you’re reading this you probably are – finds Dirk, Lerxst and The Professor in full ‘looking forward’ mode. With the hair getting more conservative yet with the sartorial splendour still on point, it’s a record of what was perhaps the last tour when the selection between the old and the new was at its most balanced; the band in the process of moulding a new reality.

Along with cherry-picks from Permanent Waves and Moving pictures, from the archive we get a 2112-themed intro, Xanadu and plenty of Hemispheres. If you have Exit…Stage Left (which if you’re reading this, is a given) the Toronto show gives the full picture. Of course, not quite as polished as the sparkling remaster of the studio release but another instance amongst the many live Rush releases that adds to the live picture.

Do also check out this month’s PROG which has a long feature (and review) on the album with a new interview with Geddy and Alex.

Here’s Witch Hunt live from the Snakes & Arrows tour:

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