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

EXIT... STAGE LEFT

Rush

 

Heavy Prog

4.02 | 425 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Nightfly
Special Collaborator
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars These days Rush seem to release a live album and/or a DVD after every tour which many consider overkill. To their credit however, while some old favourites regularly appear they do make a decent attempt to vary track listings with a few gems seldom played live. Back in the days when Exit Stage Left was released - 1981, it was their second live album and we tended to get one from around every four studio albums.

Exit... Stage Left is an excellent live album. More sophisticated than the raw but totally compelling All The World's A Stage (still my favourite) but lacking the sterility of A Show Of Hands that would appear in 1989. While All The World's A Stage captured the bands heavier roots but including some more progressive material like 2112, Exit focuses on their most progressive era drawing from their two best albums, A Farewell To King's and Hemispheres as well as Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures which weren't too far behind. Only A Passage To Bangkok and Beneath, Between & Behind gives us a taste of anything from those earlier days. Fortunately it was released before any of their synth dominated 80's output, a period of Rush history I have little time for so we are spared any of that. While it can't match ATWAS for sheer power it does demonstrate a more dynamic performance showing a band that really knew their craft and on top of their game. The band barely put a foot wrong treating us to stellar performances of classics such as Xanadu (perhaps the album highlight), Freewill, Spirit Of Radio and Tom Sawyer as well as a great version of the notoriously difficult to play instrumental La Villa Strangiato.

Exit Stage left benefits from a great sound. I remember my initial impressions way back that it was a little muddy sounding after ATWAS but time has changed my view, it simply being less harsh. While there's been much fine Rush live material released since, Exit remains my second favourite live album from the band, in part it has to be said for the fact that all future releases would draw on a significant amount of synth driven songs from the 80's. An almost essential addition to your Rush collection.

Nightfly | 4/5 |

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