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Rush - Exit... Stage Left CD (album) cover

EXIT... STAGE LEFT

Rush

 

Heavy Prog

4.02 | 423 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars And the crowd went wild.

One of Rush's best known live albums is one that demands play after play after bloody play. This is the quintessential live album from Rush. Recorded in their classic era (1981) during the Moving Pictures tour this is Rush at their zenith of creative power and performance. Encapsulating their entire classic period started after their last live album this is one that's definitely worth every moment.

The track listing here is phenomenal! Almost every one of Rush's best and most popular tracks are played, including some excellent live renditions of old stagnating tracks given new life through the performance. Opening with a few spoken words Spirit Of Radio appropriately kicks the album into high gear. The sound of the audience screaming at the break down is just one of the many electric additions to this fine offering. Other points of interest include the lengthened YYZ which incorporates Neil Peart's drum solo which would later become The Rhythm Method (and later O'Baterista and later Der Trommler and even later De Slagwerker). Never tedious, Peart's drum wizardry soon gives way to the rest of the boys jamming way to finish the track. Beneath, Between and Behind proves that Geddy can still hit the super-high notes (but could he today?) as one of the only early songs played in the concert is given new life (and better than it's studio counterpart IMO).

Other standouts along the way?

While there's a bunch of tracks that would eventually gain many many live renditions (I think I have at least 5 or 6 versions of Closer To The Heart in my collection) there are a bunch of tracks here which are rarely recorded live and therefore are quite a treat. Jacob's Ladder is one of those tracks, and if you liked it before you'll love it now. Still dark and evil, the song incorporates all the aspects of live Rush to make a truly stellar version of the song. Xanadu is another one of those tracks, and it too is given a whole new shine. The Trees here is made more interesting by adding the Lerxt opening intro Broon's Bane (which has no studio counterpart) and La Villa Strangiato closes the album with one of Rush's best instrumentals.

Rush has always been a live band. Even in interviews they've said the material that they record is always tested to make sure that it's up to be played live. Not to mention that with every new live album and, indeed, performance the band tries to add their current style to their older songs so that nothing is ever the same twice (it's true... listen to all the live renditions to Closer To The Heart to see what I mean). This is Rush at their best, and while I rarely find live albums worth of a 5 star mark this is definitely one that earns it. Not too long that it can't be listened to in one sitting and with enough energy to blow your head clean off this is a live album that every progger should have.

Queen By-Tor | 5/5 |

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