THE MAIN EXTRAS BUSINESS
The key draw in the extras is the 41-minute documentary The Game of Snakes & Arrows, which, in addition to multi-angled talking-head footage, shows the band making the album at Allaire Studios, an "isolated retreat" in the Catskill Mountains of New York. The boys look more comfortable throughout the proceedings than one might expect - I've certainly sat through my share of DVDs with rote interviews and predictable behind-the-scenes footage - and that's due in part to the doc having been shot by longtime Rush photog/videoman Andrew MacNaughtan. There's evident camaraderie between longtime friends and colleagues that just can't be faked, particularly the jocularity that's on display during the outdoor, in-the-woods photo shoot (pay special heed to the "album shot" moment). As Peart puts it, "the atmosphere there was conducive to good times - and good work."
Aficionados will drool over the songs-in-progress footage, as Rush has rarely allowed that type of camera eye on its work (though you can get a brief, similar snapshot with the video for the Moving Pictures track "Vital Signs," which was shot inside Le Studio in Quebec circa 1980).
The S&A bio that Peart wrote is the same one that appears on his Web site (neilpeart.com) and in the current tour book. One major error: The album is referred to all throughout this text as Snakes and Arrows, whereas it's Snakes & Arrows on the main DVD menu, the extras menu, and all of the album's physical packaging.
The lyrics, photo gallery, and credits are pretty straightforward. I downloaded the wallpaper and IM icons for future PC use (I've got plenty of options). I wanted to try the ringtones - setting my heart on the driving "Far Cry" intro - but my Motorola Q wasn't included in the quite extensive "choose your phone" listing. C'mon, MVI guys, the Q had been on the market quite some time before this disc was authored! And sorry, folks, I just couldn't deal with the MP3 files of each track.
The one missing element is the video for "Far Cry," which is downloadable at iTunes (and viewable elsewhere, of course). If it's available out there, it really should be here to complete an otherwise spot-on package.
GOOD NEWS LAST
Snakes & Arrows should've been the linchpin to launch the new MVI format, not Linkin Park's Minutes to Midnight. (Sorry, dudes; put a freakin' surround mix on there, and then we'll talk.) Here's hoping that upcoming MVI releases, such as the Flaming Lips' U.F.O.s at the Zoo: The Legendary Concert in Oklahoma City and Donald Fagen's Nightfly Trilogy, help the format catch on. Let's also hope that Snakes & Arrows inspires Rush to continue exploring 5.1 in the studio. After all, I still want my prize every time.
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