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RUSH IN RIO
Released: October 21, 2003
(Recorded and filmed at Maracană Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on November 23rd, 2002)
Certified 7X Multi-Platinum by RIAA: September 1, 2010 - Highest Billboard Chart Position: 1
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FLYING DOWN TO RIO - Leaving Vapor Trails Behind
By Neil Peart
Rain had threatened all three of the Brazilian shows, but only hit us during the second one, in Sao Paolo. And I mean hit us; the wind drove the rain straight onstage, into our faces, all over us and our equipment, and it's a good thing we had wireless microphones and transmitters, or... we could have been killed!
During the show, the three of us exchanged an occasional look, a wry expression of shared bemusement at this bizarre scene. The Sao Paolo soccer stadium held 60,000 people, by far the largest audience we had ever played to as a headliner, and despite the rain, they carried on singing along with every word, every note, and every beat. From behind my drums, I looked out at the raindrops caught in the spotlight beams, solid three-dimensional cylinders and cones of pelting drops, moving slashes of red, blue, amber, and white. My cymbals shimmered with beads of water, and when I hit them, fountains of spray erupted into colored light.
It was dramatic, all right, even beautiful, in a surreal way, but while it may have looked good, it was tough on the equipment. My electronic midi-marimba, which triggered all my keyboard percussion sounds, as well as a host of effects throughout the show, lost its midi-mind that night, and there was no assurance it would work the next night, in Rio de Janeiro. Even as I played through the show that night in Sao Paolo, looking out at the rain and the vast crowd and working around all the missing sounds as well as I could, I was already thinking ahead to the next night's show, preparing a new "map" of my performance - especially my solo - on the fly. Bad enough on any night, but especially when we were facing the very last show of the tour, which is supposed to be a triumphant finale, and, in this case, the one and only performance of the tour to be captured for posterity.
While the last chord of that Sao Paolo still echoed in the damp night air, we ran offstage and into a van, and were driven straight to the hotel (to escape the traffic of 60,000 people). Toweling away the sweat and rain, we watched the impressive choreography of our motorcycle police escorts, and talked a little about the show, more or less shaking our heads in disbelief - and a good measure of relief, too. We hadn't been sure we were going to get through that one, but we had made it.
Now there was just one concert left. Our Vapor Trails tour had stretched from June to November of 2002, sixty-six shows altogether - and that was about enough! During early discussions, I had proposed a maximum of forty shows, over three months, which perhaps demonstrates the extent of my influence. However, in fairness (the fairness of love, war, and touring), the itinerary seemed to expand as it unfolded: one struggle, one surrender, one show at a time.
Offers came in for more North American dates, and we agreed to push back the end of the tour to play a few extra shows around the East Coast. Europe continued to hang like an unanswered question, for we hadn't toured over there for ten years, and there were a few "hands in the air" from parts of Canada we hadn't played for even longer, but regrettably, we just couldn't do it all.
We were offered a chance to play in Mexico City in mid October (during what was supposed to have been a ten-day break), and I had to think about that for a while. As a general thing, I like traveling to unusual places and "developing nations," but not to work in them. However, after several motorcycle rambles through the entrancing country of Mexico, I had come to love that sad and beautiful city (perhaps despite itself). We had never played there, or anywhere in Central America, and I finally had to agree to that one. I could only hope it would be a good experience for us all, and the other guys would like it there too. It was, and they did. We played in a soccer stadium before 20,000 very enthusiastic fans, and had a great time after the show as well, a whole bunch of us sitting around a big table in a restaurant with great food, excellent live mariachi music, and a steady flow of tequila.
We also had an offer to go to South America for the first time, to play three shows in Brazil in late November, and we didn't know what to think about that. For one thing, we were supposed to have finished touring by that time, and be at home (remember that place?). And for another, did anyone want to see us in Brazil? We had been told we were fairly popular there, and had sold a respectable number of records through "official" channels, but presumably a certain amount of piracy and bootlegging had spread our music much wider than we knew, for no one was more surprised than this humble Canadian rock trio when we played to more than 125,00 people over those three shows, way beyond any numbers we had attracted before, anywhere. In Porto Alegre (a city we hadn't even heard of), 25,000 people came to see us; in Sao Paolo we had a staggering 60,000, and for the final show, in Rio de Janeiro, we played to a roiling throng of 40,000 very animated, vocal, and enthusiastic young Brazilians.
To put those numbers in perspective, our average audience on the Vapor Trails tour, in an American or Canadian arena or amphitheatre, was something like 12,000, and the largest audience we had ever played to as a headliner had been 20,000, at The Gorge in Washington state, on our Test For Echo tour, in early 1997.
Even more than the Mexico City show, the Brazilian concert environment was like nothing we had experienced before - bigger, wilder, crazier, and more intense. Historically, we had been an arena band for more than twenty years, only recently making the transition to outdoor amphitheatres, mainly on the Vapor Trails tour. We had tried playing the big American venues a couple of times in the early '80s - the Cotton Bowl, the Astrodome - but never felt comfortable. One thing about an arena, when the lights shine out on the audience, you can see every face, every little circle of "personhood," way up to the nosebleeds, and when we lose that element of what passes for contact, however tenuous, we feel too alienated from the people we are playing for.
However, when you're onstage in a teeming, steaming soccer stadium in South America, you can forget about those niceties. We looked out across one big heaving, waving, singing, dancing, sweating mass of humanity, and gave them our best, as always. For the final show, in Rio de Janeiro, it seemed we summoned an extra surge of adrenaline, knowing that this was the last one, and that it was being recorded and filmed.
All through the tour there had been talk of filming the Vapor Trails show, for the first time since A Show Of Hands, in 1988, but the arrangements seemed elusive, and finally it was put off until the very last possible opportunity. Certainly that was a bit risky, and indeed, after a series of technical hurdles that our crew had only barely overcome, a primitive recording truck that had the recording engineer, Jimbo, chewing his nails, and the further attrition of that rainy Sao Paolo show, it was looking pretty chancy.
Rain came and went during setup on the afternoon of the Rio show, and the trucks arrived so late from Sao Paolo that the crew didn't start loading until six or seven hours later than usual. Toward what should have been soundcheck time, Geddy, Alex, and I wandered around, or sat under a threatening sky in the bleachers above the stage, watching rainjacketed technicians scramble about, trying to make it happen.
With 40,000 people waiting to get in, there was no question of holding the doors, and we had to accept that there would be no soundcheck. At least the monitor board was working (unlike in Porto Alegre), and my drum tech, Lorne, reported that the midi-marimba seemed to have recovered from the previous night (though I was still mentally preparing to work around the missing sounds if I had to). The sky remained dark and gloomy, and the prospect of going onstage without a soundcheck was unnerving just as a missing part of the show-day ritual - never mind the last-show, grand-finale, captured-for-posterity stuff. There would be no run-through for the recording truck, no test for the camera crew; we were all going to have to wing it. Flying blind in Rio.
As the stadium lights went down and a mighty roar went up, we ran onstage to the Three Stooges theme and launched into "Tom Sawyer," our thoughts a little frantic and our emotions bound up in anxiety. The whole Vapor Trails tour had been very emotional for the three of us, right from the first night in Hartford, Connecticut. After five years away from live performance, and all we had been through in those five years, it really felt like a triumphant return. A few times during the show we looked at each other and shared a quick smile, an eloquent expression that stopped time for an instant and conveyed so much understanding, so much relief, and even a little joy. Our hearts were in our smiles.
Unusually for a first night, we had played really well, and the production side went smoothly too. That was our reward for weeks of rehearsing in Toronto, and more weeks at a small arena in upstate New York. It was our reward for simply carrying on. Songs in the set like "One Little Victory" and "Bravado" had fresh resonance for us that night.
Even during rehearsals I had felt the three of us gradually begin to transcend our individual parts, becoming both submerged and elevated into a separate entity, the synergy of a touring band. After that first show, I said to our manager, Ray, "I have to admit, it would have been a shame if that had never happened again."
The set had changed a little through the tour, as we alternated a few pairs of songs we hadn't been able to choose between, or tried to play something different if we returned to the same area, and we had a surprise just before we went to Mexico City. Apparently our most popular song there was "Closer To The Heart," and we weren't playing it that tour (the periodic rest some older songs require). The three of us talked about it, decided we didn't want to disappoint the audience by not playing our most popular song for them, and we agreed we could relearn it pretty quickly. After playing it through a few times during our soundchecks leading up to Mexico City, we added it to the show for that one night.
Only to learn that the same was true in Brazil: apparently "Closer To The Heart" was our most popular song there too (though we were told "Tom Sawyer" was used on Brazilian television as the theme song "McGyver").
(That's what we said, "What?")
So, we stuck "Closer To The Heart" back in the show for the Brazil dates as well, and it got a very excited, very vocal response from the audience.
Though everything did, and somehow the show, and the whole tour, seemed to reach a natural climax in Rio de Janeiro. Watching the footage of that night, accompanied by the excellent recording Jimbo Barton managed to capture in such difficult, primitive conditions (though after many hours of painstaking "rescue" of the occasionally ragged technical quality), it feels like the triumphant finale we wanted it to be.
Watching that show now, from so many angles I never see from the "hot seat," and with the luxury of not having to work at it, it is clear that audience had a synergy of its own, a unified, intense, pulsing energy, a force of nature, animating that soccer stadium with electricity and vitality. That night's show had 40,000 stars.
The three of us had a pretty good show too (and I certainly don't always say that), but no doubt we were inspired and elevated by that amazing audience, who gave back so much excitement, energy, and volume. Just listen to them singing along note-for-note with "YYZ" - an instrumental - and you realize this is no ordinary audience.
Extraordinary they were, and we dedicate this performance, then and now, to them.
Back at the hotel, we gathered in the bar with our wives and colleagues and ordered many rounds of the powerful national drink, caipirinhas. We were bone-weary and drained, only starting to feel the relief of knowing it was over - the long, hard show and the long, hard tour. As the recording and film people reported in, it seemed safe to trust that at least one of those sixty-six Vapor Trails shows would not fade into the ether, like an ephemeral jetstream of echoes and memories. Our stalwart crew had prevailed against all obstacles of weather, technology, and time, and that final show had been captured as a moving souvenir for those who were there, and for those who were not. We ordered another round of caipirinhas and drank to all of them, and to each other, feeling better every minute.
ALEX LIFESON NEIL PEART GEDDY LEE
This compilation © 2003 Core Music Publishing (SOCAN) / All Rights Reserved. All songs Lee/Lifeson/Peart Except: "Tom Sawyer" (Lee/Lifeson/Peart/Dubois), "YYZ" (Lee/Peart), "Closer To The Heart" (Lee/Lifeson/Peart/Talbot), "Leave That Thing Alone" and "Working Man" (Lee/Lifeson) and "O Batarlsts" (Peart)
Producers Lawrence Jordan, Daniel E. Catullo III, Lionel Pasamonte
Executive Producers Ray Danniels, Pegi Cecconi, Allan Weinrib, Bryan Domyan
Directed By Daniel E. Catullo III
Line Producer Ted Kenney
Co-Executive Producers Glenis S. Gross, Tilton Gardner, Robert McClaugherty
Brazilian Producers Michael J. Schultz, Alberto Magno
Post Production Supervisor Allan Weinrib
Television Lighting Design by Jeff Ravitz, Visual Terrain
Audio Producer James "Jimbo" Barton
Assisted by Patrick Thrasher
Audio Supervisor Alex Lifeson
Main Show Edited by Mark Hajek, Mark Morton, Frank Russo
Post Production Facilities Stealing Time, Toronto, ON / School, Toronto, ON / Toy Box, Toronto, ON / Manta, Toronto, ON / Coming Home Studios, Los Angeles, CA / Departure Studios, Los Angeles, CA / Trax Records, North Hollywood, CA / MX Entertainment, San Francisco, CA / The Post Group, Hollywood, CA
World-Wide DVD Sales Agent Steven Propas, Propas Management Corporation, Toronto, ON
CHS Would Like To Thank
Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, Neil Peart, Allan Weinrib, Arthur & Marie Sterling, J.W. Griffith, Daniel & Dolores Catullo, Tilton & Linda Gardner, Pegi, Ray, Shelley, Anna and everybody at SRO/Anthem, SBI USA, Shelly Singhal, Matt McGovern, Brookstreet Securities, City National Bank, Michael J. Schultz, Karina Goldrajch, Alberto Magno, Steve Propas, Damon Martin, Charlie Clour, Liam Birt, Craig Blazier, Howard Ungerleider and the entire Rush Crew for their hard work and support, and everybody else who helped during this incredible experience!
The "Boys in Brazil"
A Film By Andrew MacNaughtan
Produced by Allan Weinrib
Executive Producers Daniel E. Catullo III & Bryan Domyan
Edited by Jennifer Dahl
Assisted by Bryan Domyan
Post Production Supervisor Allan Weinrib
Audio Producer Aaron Kaplan
Post Production Facilities Coming Home Studios, Los Angeles, CA / The Post Group, Hollywood, CA / Departure Studios, Los Angeles, CA / Toybox, Toronto, ON
Produced by James "Jimbo" Barton and Alex Lifeson
Assisted by Patrick Thrasher
Assistant Engineer Kooster McAllister. Record Plant Remote
Pre-Mixed and Assembled at Trax Studios, Los Angeles. CA
Mixed at Metalworks, Mississauga, ON / Assisted by Chris Gordon and Joe Barlow
Live Recording and invaluable Pre-mixing Organization by James "Jimbo' Barton
Assisted by Patrick Thrasher
Mastered at Gateway Mastering - Portland, Maine by Adam Ayan
Anthem and Zoe logo sound design Russ Mackay and Hugh Syme
Art Direction, Illustration and Design by Hugh Syme
Photography by Andrew MacNaughtan
Additional Photography by Carrie Nuttall (B&W) and MRossi
The Vapor Trails Tour Crew
Tour Manager Liam Birt
Lighting Directorl/Designer Howard Ungerleider
Concert Sound Engineer Brad Madix
Production Manager Craig (C.B.) Blazier
Artist Liaison Shelley Nott
Keyboard Tech Tony Geranios
Drum Tech Lorne Wheaton
Bass Tech Russ Ryan
Guitar Tech Rick Britton
Stage Monitor Engineer Brent Carpenter
Production Assistant Karin Blazier
Personal Assistant Peter Rollo
Security Director Michael Mosbach
Carpenter . George Steinert
Nutritionist Bruce French
Concert Sound by MD Clair Bros Jo Ravitch, Brian Evans, Kevin Kapler
Lighting by Premier Global Rich Vinyard, Shane Gowler, Keith Hoagland, Jamie Grossenkemper
Moving Lights Programmer Matt Druzbik
Rear Screen Projection created by SPIN Productions Norman Stangl, Hilton Treves, Colin Davies
Live 3D Animation by Derivative Greg Hermanovic, Ben Voigt, Jarrett Smith, Farah Yusuf, Rob Bairos
Additional Animation Paul Simpson, Alan Kapler
Derivative VJ James Ellis
Video by BBC David Davidian, Bob Larkin, Adrian Brister, James George
Lasers by Production Design Chris Blair
Pyrotechnics provided by pyrotek Special Effects John Arrowsmith
Concert Rigging Ken Mitchell, Brian Collins
Trucking Ego Trips
Buses Hemphill Brothers
Drivers Arthur (Mac) McLear, David Burnette, Jon Cordes, Michael Gibney, Don Johnson, Tom Hartman, Dave Cook, Lashawn Lundstrom, Lonnie Sweet, Steve Kotzer
Flight Crew Frank McGrath, Gil Faria, Don West
Merchandising The McLoughlin Family
Booking Agencies Artist Group International, NYC, The Agency Group, London, S.L. Feldman & Associates, Toronto
Tour Accountants Drysdale & Drysdale - John Whitehead, Liam Birt
Management Ray Danniels/SRO Management, Toronto
Management Staff Pegi Cecconi, Sheila Posner, Anna LeCoche, Shelley Nott, Cynthia Barry, Steve Hoffman, Rayanne Lepieszo, Randy Rolfe and Bob Farmer
For technical help and contributions, our thanks to Jim Burgess and Eric Pavlyak at Saved By Technology, Barry and b. zee brokerage, Gibson Guitars, Paul Reed Smith, Fender bass guitars, Ernie Ball Strings, Tyme Rogers at Tech 21, Steve and Mark at Hughes and Kettner amplification, Dean Markley, Drum Workshop, Avedis Zildjian, Promark, Remo, Roland electronic percussion, and Ω™
The Rush In Rio DVD received the 2004 Juno Award for "Music DVD of the Year".
The concert in Rio marked the final night on the 2002 Vapor Trails Tour and was performed in front of 40,000 fans.
There are two Easter Eggs hidden in Rush in Rio:
The first is the cartoon that runs during the "By-Tor and the Snow Dog" part of the encore medley. To watch it, play the "Boys in Brazil" documentary from disc two. Push Enter on the DVD remote when Alex Lifeson discusses the song "By-Tor and the Snow Dog" at 26:40.
The second is a video of Rush playing "Anthem" from 1975. To watch it, go to the Main Menu of disc 2, and play video clip #2 ("O Baterista"). Return to the menu after it starts, and select video clip #1 ("YYZ"). Return to the menu again, and select "YYZ" once more. Go back to the menu and select "O Baterista" again, then return to the menu for the last time, and "Anthem 1975" will appear. (The combination of choices - 2nd, 1st, 1st, 2nd - spells out 2112.)
Rush in Rio is the best-selling Rush concert video and has currently achieved a 7X Multi-Platinum rating from the RIAA.
Distant Early Warning
New World Man
Roll The Bones
The Big Money
Closer To The Heart
One Little Victory
Red Sector A
Leave That Thing Alone
La Villa Strangiato
The Spirit of Radio
By-Tor and the Snog Dog / Cygnus X-1 / Working Man
The Boys in Brazil
La Villa Strangiato