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ABC 1974


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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A very pleasant surprise it was to see this 1974 Rush show recently receiving an official release, having only previously been available on a bootleg titled The Fifth Order Of Angels. It was recorded at the Angora Ballroom in Cleveland by WMMS Radio very soon after drummer Neil Peart replaced John Rutsey. It will be of particular interest to Rush fans for the inclusion of two unreleased tracks - Fancy Dancer and Garden Road as well as a cover of the Larry Williams song Bad Boy.

Of course back in 1974 Rush were purely a heavy rock band, before any signs of prog influences started to come through. Nevertheless for those who enjoy the first album, which not surprisingly is featured heavily here, the band turn in a lively and tight performance despite the recording being somewhat rough round the edges - if you thought the 78 show from Different Stages was rough think again! Still, despite this it captures the power of the band and is perfectly listenable and very enjoyable. It also features a couple of tracks from the yet to be released Fly By Night, the best being a powerful version of In The End. Garden Road is the better of the two unreleased tracks and is in fact as good as much of the first album. The same can't be said of Fancy Dancer which is a run of the mill bluesy rocker. There's an early Peart drum solo which is very lively but not surprisingly lacks the finesse of later ones, even including the one that appeared on the All The World's A Stage album that was only two years later. As a bonus to the tracks recorded for the 1974 shows there's a further three songs that appeared on Fly By Night recorded at the same venue the following year. The recording quality of these is quite a bit inferior to the 74 show but welcome additions nevertheless.

Overall then despite this performance being recorded well before Rush hit their prime it shows that they were a very tight band and very capable players even at this early stage. If you enjoy the first two albums then you'll love this. 3 ½ stars.

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Posted Wednesday, October 26, 2011 | Review Permalink

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