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Rush - All The World's A Stage CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.85 | 468 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars And we are merely players.

Although Rush hadn't even written Limelight at this point they still borrow from Mr. Shakespeare, shame on you. This was Rush's first live album released after the bombing of Caress Of Steel and the subsequent revival with their first true opus, 2112. The album is nice and raw since the band is still in their early days which featured more Zeppelinesque riffing then even Led Zeppelin was doing in the mid-70s. The production is no less impressive though, since the band still sounds clean even in their manic playing. There's a lot of tunes here which would not be seen on later live albums, which actually includes the majority of the set since the band hadn't yet recorded their classics like Tom Sawyer or Closer To The Heart which have since become nearly obligatory. A good deal of medleys also inhabit the album, making this a pretty nice treat for fans. Working Man/Finding My Way, for instance, takes the two best and most reflective of where the band would go after their debut and combines them into 15-minutes of excellence which makes for a rocking good time.

What makes the album particularly worth getting is the songs from the early days that aren't on later live albums. Since the band only had four albums by this point they didn't have a lot to chose from, and looking at the album you'll find that on the second vinyl there are only 2 tracks per side. Extended versions of songs like By-Tor And The Snow Dog are especially excellent in their execution while others like What You're Doing and Fly By Night/In The Mood are given life since Rush really is a live band. 2112 is present, although not completely true to its original form. At 16-minutes it has been cut down but still holds all of its raw power, especially in live form. In The End is a tune that can't be found on any of the later Rush albums, and as the most criminally overlooked song on Fly By Night it's amazing that the band even chose to play it, making it a live jewel of sorts. Shorter songs like Anthem, Bastile Day and Something For Nothing all also benefit from the live setting and many could argue that they give the studio versions a run for their money.

This album is a lot of fun, and while Rush would release better live sets this one is probably the best for people who would rather listen to their early work. Geddy's voice is still at its shriekiest so you can expect to hear all his shouting and high-pitched warbles in a live setting. Alex's guitar is raw and unkempt, but technically impressive and while Neal isn't his drum master self as he would later become he certainly shows off his potential to do so here, especially with his blistering performance on 2112. 3 stars for a good live disc that doesn't come close to the destructive power of Exit. Stage Left or Different Stages, but as the only live set that the band would release in the 70s (with the exception of Different Stages' third disc which was recorded in '78) it's worth the buy for Rush followers.

Queen By-Tor | 3/5 |


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