Two things immediately tell viewers that Rush's Grace Under Pressure tour video is a product of the mid-1980s: the sportcoat-and-T-shirt ensembles worn by vocalist/bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson, and the light show's pencil-thin green lasers which were used prominently then. Grace Under Pressure Tour was filmed at Maple Leaf Gardens in Rush's hometown of Toronto. Directed by music-video veteran David Mallet, it's a fine document of a band whose skills and vision had matured. But Lee, Lifeson, and drummer Neil Peart were in their early 30s, so they were still running on youthful vigor. Song-wise, the usual suspects are here: "The Spirit of Radio," "Closer to the Heart," and "Tom Sawyer." The biggest treats are underrated songs such as "The Enemy Within," "Distant Early Warning," and "Red Sector A," all strong Grace Under Pressure cuts. Rush is often thought of as humorless, but "The Weapon"'s playful rear-screen projection intro features SCTV comedian Joe Flaherty in his Count Floyd guise. The anti-censorship "Witch Hunt" from Rush's 1981 masterpiece Moving Pictures foreshadowed the decade's conservative hysteria about the arts. Perhaps the most fun song is "New World Man," which, at this point, remains Rush's only Top 40 hit single. Lee butchers his vocals a little at the end, but Lifeson coolly and casually leans back against a speaker while firing off his riffs, and at one point the normally stoic Peart even manages a smile. The finale is a three-song medley of "Vital Signs" and the rudimentary pre-Peart cuts "Finding My Way" and "In the Mood." As a bonus, Grace Under Pressure Tour includes the original "The Big Money" music video.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Bret Adams