When Rush decided to release Replay x3 they would sate the hungry appetites of fans who had been begging for the classic VHS films from the bands archives to be finally delivered on DVD. Wrapped in a colorful box it featured the videos for Exit Stage Left, Grace Under Pressure and A Show Of Hands – all of which had been out of print for decades. The amazing package included mini programs from each tour that was presented on the film. 2007 would find each of these films being released individually so now the fans that felt the boxed set was not to their liking needed only purchase the film that they hold closest to their hearts. These individual releases also include the same mini program as the boxed set and no other differences exist.
The Exit…Stage Left DVD was filmed during the tour that was in support of the bands blockbuster album Moving Pictures. Originally released on VHS and Laserdisc in 1981, the concert found Rush issuing a CD that bore the same name yet the music presented would actually be different on both releases according to Rush historians and research. Given how precise Rush is in concert it is very difficult to tell the difference unless you have the keenest of ears and really try to determine what is happening note for note. As an album, Moving Pictures was the one that really took Rush out of the hands of Progressive Hard Rock fans alone and moved them into the larger world of music listeners by exposing both the Metal fans and Classic Rock enthusiasts to their incredible sound. It was during these years that the albums core songs of "Tom Sawyer", "Red Barchetta" and "YYZ" could be found on mainstream Rock radio stations and were kept in very healthy rotation. Videos of concerts were not yet as common an occurrence when this was first released so the fact that some document actually exists of this tour is a great thing indeed. Moving Pictures was the album that converted me to the Rush cause but I had not been able to see this tour when it actually happened. It was only through this film that I was able to witness one of the most important tours in the bands history. Perhaps we share this as music fans and if so its all the more reason for you to snare a copy. Unfortunately this particular DVD runs a little under 60 minutes but since the film brings you back to such a great point in Rush's touring history you learn to deal with it. They mix the magic of their new recording with some of their most classic material and from the "Moving Pictures" release we get four tracks while the other songs span several different albums. There are not as many songs as are on the CD version which is sad and to be honest when I originally learned that this was coming out on DVD I was hoping that additional footage from this show would have surfaced as well. Given there wasn't any - it is my assumption that nothing else exists from the filming of this original show. It was a bit of a bummer to find "The Spirit Of Radio" and "La Villa Strangiato" omitted knowing the capabilities of DVD as a medium. Interviews relevant to the period would have been worthwhile additions. While I've already enjoyed this on DVD I'm still impressed at how good the sound and picture are on this one. The band was still in their early prime and are full of energy. Outside of the main hits from Moving Pictures it was great to watch them do numbers like "Xanadu" and "The Trees" for they are always excellent in the live sense.
Overall this is a must for the Rush fan who wants everything that they issue as well as those might still be new to the band and require a history lesson. The mini-tourbook itself is a little easier to enjoy on an individual basis as opposed to having too many to review. It's time to enjoy the Limelight once again with Rush.
2. Tom Sawyer
3. The Trees
5. Red Barchetta
7. Closer To The Heart
9. Medley: By Tor and The Snow Dog, In The End, In The Mood, 2112 Finale
10. YYZ (credits)