Veteran progressive rock trio Rush's Sept. 24, 2004, stop in Frankfurt, Germany, is the subject of the upcoming CD/DVD "R30 Live in Frankurt." The project is due Nov. 22 via Rounder in the United States and Anthem in Canada; Sanctuary Visual Entertainment will issue it Nov. 28 in Europe.
"Well, basically nobody was in a big hurry to do another live project, because we've got about 60,000 of them out there," singer/bassist Geddy Lee tells Billboard.com with a laugh. "But when we were touring Europe on the last tour, we hadn't been to those countries in 10 years -- some of them 20 years. And there was such an exuberant response from the crowd; it just seemed like a unique opportunity to capture the band in that kind of environment."
"The venue is very old," Lee continues. "We've played there a couple of times. It's always a strange atmosphere for North Americans to come over there and play in one of these buildings that Hitler used to do speeches in and so forth. So it's always got kind of an ominous vibe for us. But the crowd is always great and a lot of fans hadn't seen us in a long time."
"Live in Frankurt" follows 2003's "Rush in Rio" DVD, which debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Music Video chart. "'Rush in Rio' has been one of our best-selling music DVD titles, and we are delighted to have secured European DVD rights to 'R30,'" says Sanctuary head of audiovisual Spencer Pollard.
In addition to featuring 22 tracks from the show, the set will also come with a second disc, which collects a multitude of rarely seen bits from the Rush archives, including studio footage from 1978, a sound check from 1980, and a recent rendition of "Closer to the Heart" with Barenaked Ladies' Ed Robertson. The set will also be made available as a deluxe edition, which will include two audio CDs of the Frankfurt concert, as well as various goodies, such as limited edition Dunlop guitar pick and a backstage pass.
As for the vintage footage, Lee attributes the discovery of some it to his brother, who works in the film business. "He took it upon himself to get involved in our vault and see what the hell was lying around down there, and he discovered some of these old things that we had forgotten about," Lee says, adding that some of the clips "are kind of painful to watch [laughs]! Bad hair, bad glasses. You just kind of look in wonderment like, 'Is that really me?' And you really feel how much you've changed since that time."
Meanwhile, Rush is gearing up for a new album, the follow-up to 2002's "Vapor Trails." "We're just at the stage now where we're getting ourselves ready to do some writing," Lee reports. So that will take place over the next six to eight months probably, and we'll gather some material together into a record."
But beforehand, more archival releases should arrive, including the long-awaited DVD releases of the group's '80s-era concert home videos "Exit Stage Left," "Grace Under Pressure" and "A Show of Hands."
"Those are being revamped," Lee says. "I think [guitarist] Alex [Lifeson] spent a good chunk of last year remixing all of those things for 5.1, and they should come out over the next couple of years. Maybe even in the next year, on a DVD. I think they're going to come out separately, from what I'm told. But I'm not sure about that."
Lastly, has Lee given any thought to following up his 2000 solo debut, "My Favorite Headache?" "I think about it from time to time, and then I get really tired," he says with a laugh. "Rush takes up so much time and energy; it's really hard to accommodate both. I'm going to start writing virtually over the next couple of weeks, and if I end up feeling very prolific, and have stuff left over that's not Rush-suitable, you never know. I might throw something together."
Here is the "R30 Live in Frankfurt" DVD track list:
R30 Overture ("Finding My Way," "Bastille Day," "Anthem," "A Passage to Bangkok," "Cygnus," "Hemispheres")
"The Spirit of Radio"
"Roll the Bones"
"Between the Wheels"
"Heart Full of Soul"
"Fly by Night" (Church Sessions Video 1975)
"Circumstances" (live in studio 1978)
"La Villa Strangiato" (live in studio 1978)
"Farewell to Kings" (live in studio 1978)
"Xanadu" (live in studio 1978)
Sound Check (1980)
"Closer to the Heart" (compilation video 1977)
"Freewill" (Toronto Rocks concert 2003)
"Closer to the Heart" (with Barenaked Ladies' Ed Robertson)