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Rush All the World's a Stage album cover
3.85 | 513 ratings | 53 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Live, released in 1976

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc 1 (40:00)
1. Bastille Day (4:59)
2. Anthem (4:57)
3. Fly by Night / In the Mood (5:05)
4. Something for Nothing (4:03)
5. Lakeside Park (5:05)
6. 2112 (15:51) :
- i) Overture (4:17)
- ii) The Temples of Syrinx (2:13)
- iii) Presentation (4:29)
- iv) Soliloquy (2:25)
- v) Grand Finale (2:27)

Disc 2 (39:13)
1. By-Tor and the Snow Dog (12:01)
2. In the End (7:14)
3. Working Man / Finding My Way (14:20)
4. What You're Doing (5:38)

Total Time 79:13

Line-up / Musicians

- Geddy Lee / bass, keyboards, vocals
- Alex Lifeson / guitars
- Neil Peart / drums & percussion

Releases information

2LP Mercury SRM-2-7508
2CD Anthem ANC 2-1005

CD Mercury Remaster 534 627-2 07/01/1997

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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RUSH All the World's a Stage ratings distribution

(513 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(49%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

RUSH All the World's a Stage reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars If you listen well , you can hear me yelling my guts out and going nuts at this concert, as I was thirteen and this was one of my first concert. I had seen them before in my high school , but this concert, every young Torontonian fan knew would be a cornerstone as they were comming back home after much success in the States. If I remember well , we knew that this concert would be recorded as a live album and we all gave our best!

As for the track selection , it is a fitting recap of their first four albums , pulling the best tracks from each one. It is no wonder the chose not to play their two Caress Of Steel epics - although I seem to remember they did one of them (this is almost 30 years later) that night , but they probably chose not to select it for space reasons.

Review by Jim Garten
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Retired Admin & Razor Guru
4 stars Although the recording quality of this album is not up to the studio albums, the raw edge adds to the atmosphere of one of the great 1970's live albums. As with most live albums, the versions of familiar songs are considerably faster & Geddy Lee's falsetto occasionally teters on the edge of the scale (any higher & only dogs would hear him...). That said, Lee Lifeson & Peart do not put a foot wrong throughout the album, seemingly spurred on by what is an extremely enthusiastic home-town crowd. Very difficult to point out highlights from such a strong set, but Lee's vocals on 'Lakeside Park' are as haunting as they ever get (the segue from L/Park to 2112 is wonderful); Lifeson's workout during 'By-Tor' puts hium up there with the best & Peart's solo - well, it's Neil Peart!!! All finished off with a storming version of 'what you're doin' - quick bit of advice, BUY IT!
Review by chessman
4 stars Here is where Rush started to really impress me! All the live albums are superb, and this, the first one, is no exception. Songs that didn't do much for me on studio recordings really come alive here and have tremendous power and presence. By-Tor, whilst being average on Fly By Night, is the highlight of the album for me here. Tremendous guitar work from Alex, haunting and passionate. But his playing is well honed throughout the album. Geddy is in fine voice from start to finish, and Neil's drumming is already world class. Anthem is another highlight, as is Something For Nothing and, of course, Working Man. But the whole thing is of a very high standard. Buy It!
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is a live album that contains songs from the first 4 studio albums. This live album has a pretty powerful and aggressive sound. The bass is very loud and full of bottom: we can feel all the Rickenbacker effect! Indeed the combination guitar-bass is absolutely outstanding for giving bottom sound to the guitar: when played loud, this bottom becomes extremely powerful! The guitar is very aggressive and its sound is extremely dirty but never unclean. Geddy Lee screams almost like on the first album. There is one of the best drum solo ever: Neil Peart at his best! "By Thor And The Snow Dog" has amazing guitar effects!
Review by daveconn
3 stars Loud, live, raw RUSH! (Rejoice.) "All The World's A Stage" completes the first stage of RUSH's development, or as the band notes on the sleeve: "the end of the beginning, a milestone to mark the close of chapter one." And in time, the band's generous live documents would serve as signposts through their career ("Exit. Stage Left", "A Show of Hands", "Different Stages"). "All The World's A Stage" captures the essence of RUSH in the beginning, not the meticulously crafted sound of later live shows but a trio carried by the energy of the moment. In other words, what most bands sound like when they play live (since few had RUSH's uncanny ability, or desire, to faithfully re-create the studio arrangements as they did later on). The selections may sound a little rough around the edges (even on the digital remasters), but RUSH does shine on an inspired 12-minute version of "By-Tor and The Snow Dog" and a slightly edited version of the ""2112"" suite. What's nice about "All The World's A Stage" is the opportunity to hear the band cut through live versions of their earliest material like it really mattered (and it did): Four cuts from their first album, album tracks like "Lakeside Park" and "Something For Nothing", even "By-Tor." would have fallen by the wayside by the time most bands had released a live album. Issuing one early in their careers like this gives RUSH fans the opportunity to enjoy their first-phase music in its original context rather than as some posthumous archival release, and the difference is significant.

Still, as equitable an overview as it is, listeners would be better served by picking up the studio albums first, or at least "Fly By Night" and "2112". That way, you can appreciate the similarities and the differences between the originals and the live versions presented on "All The World's A Stage".

Review by Guillermo
4 stars The sound of RUSH in their first albums was a combination of Heavy Metal Rock with some Progressive Rock arrangements and some long songs which had lyrics with stories. This is a very good live album, recorded in Canada in 1976, when RUSH wasn`t still very known in other countries, I think. So there is an "atmosphere" in this album as being recorded before dedicated fans in their own country. I listened to this album in 1983. One friend lent me this album and the "Exit...Stage Left" album, and I recorded both albums in cassettes (I later bought both albums in the L.P. format). The main differences between both live albums are the "raw" power of the 1976 band, Geddy Lee`s Heavy Metal vocals and the absence of sequencers and synthesizers in comparison to the "Exit..." album. The sound of RUSH became more Progressive and less Heavy Metal by the time of the release date of the "Exit..." album, but this 1976 live album is still enjoyable. My favourite songs fom this album are: "Something for Nothing", "Lakeside Park", "2112" (the most Progressive of all), "In the End" (including a xylophone played by Peart), and the Side Four of the original 2 L.P. album: very improved live versions (in comparison to the original studio versions with drummer John Rutsey) of three songs originally released in their first album:"Working Man", "Finding My Way" and "What Are You Doing?". In these three songs the influence from Led Zeppelin is very clear. Neil Peart added a lot of power to these songs, including an impressive drums and percussion solo (by "the Professor of the Drum Kit", as Lee introduced Peart to the audience).
Review by Philo
4 stars A good live album with a big fat sound from the guitar of Alex Lifeson and at this point All The World's A Stage is a good show case of where Rush were at. After this they would change their style and approach or maybe the couple of years between studio albums allowed them to look at what they had achieved and allow to mature their songwriting by the time time it came to doing A Farewell To Kings in. The seventies were a period in time where many rocks acts put out live albums that would become legendary, though this has never really been up there with many of the so called classics I feel it deserves to be. It is a solid live album with top notch performances and the sound is pretty powerful, Geddy Lee sounds exceptionally well on vocals on this live album and Neil,Peart is as consistent as ever, seeping out raw energy on every track. "Bastille Day" sounds so much more superior to the album version while "Lakeside Park and "What your Doing" also have more of an edge, good album that gets a few spins on my turn table regularly enough.
Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I didn't personally like this album very much, but I think it has a documentary value. Many of the shorter rock songs don't please me as compositions, and the live version of "2112" doesn't work as well as it does on the studio album. As there are some parts in the composition which have several guitars played simultaneously, these sections sound very flat and poor on the stage. The best performances on this album in my opinion are "By-Tor and The Snowdog" and "What You're Doing".
Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is Rush's first outing is recorded live performances, and it is an impressive one at that. The band played with energy and finesse that you don't see on any of the later albums. Geddy had the earth shaking Rickenbacker, Alex used his array of guitar effects and his precision playing, and Neil was playing his heart out. Who could ask for more?

This album was recorded during two shows on the 2112 tour, and it sounds utterly amazing. They open in classic fashion with Bastille Day, their most rocking tune from Caress of Steel. Lifeson really shines here with precision playing, and a killer solo. This album really is a collection of all the good tunes from their first three albums, for the next four tracks are among my favorite Rush songs. Anthem is played with the same ferocity and precision bass playing that no one can't help but feel in a state of awe as Lifeson uses the wah pedal with precision. Fly By Night/In the Mood is a great medley that combines the two tracks, while not the best medley they ever did, it was still pretty good. Something for Nothing is played exactly like it is on the album, nothing special there, same with Lakeside Park.

Once 2112 is up, you know you're in for a long ride. Not the 20 studio album ride, but the 15 minute live ride. That's right, they cut out two sections of the song, Discovery and Oracle. While it would have been nice if those sections stayed, the song still flows really well when they skip the parts.

By-Tor and the Snow Dog is the highlight track off of Fly By Night, and the extended version here is nice. During the quiet part in the song, Lifeson uses his volume pedal and creates an eerie sound. After the 11 minute opus, my personal favorite song off of Fly by Night is played. In the End starts off quietly, with Lifeson playing a clean guitar. Then after the introduction, the distortion/modulations kick in. During the introduction of the distorted guitar on the album, Lifeson overdubbed some high notes. Since he couldn't do the two at the same time, Geddy took the forefront with that, and it is a welcome addition. The Working Man/Drum Solo/Finding My Way is Rush also at their improvising best. Nothing much to say on that track. The finale, What You're Doing, is the most Zeppelin-esque track on the debut album, and here it sounds exactly the same. But they play the song with such feeling, that you forget about the Zeppelinisms.

Overall, Rush's first outing in recorded live material was a welcome one. It was not until Exit...Stage Left that they perfected they're live form, and it wasn't until Different Stages that they made a perfect live album. 4/5.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's a logical thing that after releasing four studio albums namely Rush, Fly By Night, Caress of Steel and 2112 the band made a live recording. This album was recorded from the band performance at Massey Hall, Toronto at 11,12 and 13 June 1976. All tracks performed represent the band's best tracks and all of them are performed excellently with good live vibes. After a rocking introduction by the Host the band blast off the crowd with excellent riffs commencing "Bastille Day" (4:59) from Caress of Steel album in a more dynamic style than the studio version. Alex Lifeson's guitar solo is really great. It continues with another rocking track from second album Fly By Night: "Anthem" (4:57). The next is a medley between "Fly by Night" and "In the Mood" which is performed flawlessly even though there is a bit of technical glitches. The guitar intro of "Something for Nothing" (4:03) provides a musical break after all rocking tracks previously performed. But the music moves on with a faster tempo with syncopated drum work. Lifeson' guitar solo is awesome and it reminds us to the glory days of seventies. Preceded by a conversation by Geddy Lee "Lakeside Park" (5:05) is continued being performed.

Probably, twenty-one-twelve (2112) is the central of this live recording as this epic has been a legendary Rush track for many rockers. Even though the epic has been cut to feature only five parts with "Oracle" and "Discovery" were omitted, this is stil an interesting track to enjoy as a whole. When "By-Tor and the Snow Dog" (12:01) is performed, the crowd give a big applaud to the band. Lifeson's guitar solo and Lee's bass work are awesome. The other interesting track is the medley "Working Man" and "Finding My Way" where there is an excellent drum solo in between these two tracks.

For those of you who love rock concert album, this one is one that you should have as the record gives you a great performance and live vibes. This album gives good memories for me and my teenage friends when we were all so crazy about rock music. My cassette of this album was exchanged to friends frequently as this was one of our favorite rock concert album in addition to Led Zeppelin's "The Songs Remain The Same" - live at Madison Square Garden Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by chopper
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Oh won't you please welcome home - Rush!"

This album was my introduction to Rush when my friend bought it on spec soon after it came out - one of the 70s dreaded "double live" albums. I remember we listened in amazement when the opening riff to "Bastille Day" kicked in (we both thought it sounded like Rainbow's "Kill the King") and then these weird vocals started "Well, there's no bread.". However we soon grew to love the album and even played a couple of the songs at our band's first ever gig (where the singer unwisely attempted to sing "Bastille Day in the original key, but that's another story).

Anyway I digress. This is the first of the regular Rush live albums, featuring songs from their first 4 albums ("Rush" up to "2112"). The atmosphere of the gigs really comes across and some of the songs are an improvement on the rather sterile studio recordings. "In The End" really comes to life here, and the ending is a real "goose pimple" moment. The legendary "By-Tor and the Snow Dog" is also awesome.

There are great versions of "Bastille Day", "Lakeside Park", "Anthem" and "Something For Nothing". There are also a few downsides - 2112 has the "Discovery" and "Oracle" sections missing (unlike the Different Stages version), "Fly By Night" is segued with "In The Mood" and so loses the middle section and I've never been that keen on the tracks from their debut album.

Having said that, this is a good document of the early Rush period.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. It's easy to feel the enthusiasm, joy and pride that the band exhibited to their faithful home town fans after returning from a successful U.S. tour. The "2112" record was a "make or break" album and it was wildly successful in the U.S. market and they returned home as heroes. And although Geddy's introductions of the songs they were about to play sound both annoying and corny, you can't help but feel his zestfulness, like a parent who introduces his children with pride. Also, being a hockey fan I found it interesting that the band thanks Steve Shutt in the liner notes who at this time was a high scoring winger for the Montreal Canadiens.

The two songs that really stand out for me are "2112" and "In the End". They both move me as much as the studio releases, and "In The End" even more so. But "2112" is the centerpiece and the reason the band had become so successeful and they pull it off live perfectly. What an incredible and emotional song !

For me this is very close to a 4 star record but the sound quality and Geddy's interuptions bring it down in my opinion. Well worth checking out though !

Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars An excellent capstone for the first phase of Rush's development. The recording quality is what one would expect from an old concert, but the band's energetic, and very raw playing still sounds great.

"All the World's..." showcases many of the bands early hits performed very well, with some great nuance here-and-there which you won't find on the studio recordings. If you're a fan of the band's first 4 releases, then absolutely pick this one up-- it's a shrieking gem of Rush's early sound from start to finish.

As an interesting side note, you'll hear Geddy introducing most of the songs... something he almost never does anymore (of course, do Rush songs need introductions at this point?).

Setlist 3 Instrumental Performances 3 Stage Energy 4 Live Experience 4

Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Rush is a great live band and this album appropriately catches them in the full power of their early phase. While I used to thing the next two phases of the band were far superior I'm questioning that the older I get. The first four albums are fantastic gutpunches of energy and youthful spark.

This live album documents those first four albums well with a nice smattering of material from each. However the sound is a bit of a problem, mediocre would be the word. And that's why I would recommend just sticking with the studio albums. All of the first four studio albums sound great themselves, crisp and vibrant, and the performances are really just as good as those here. Plus you get the material in context and as it was meant to be heard. This is a nice keepsake but the first four studio albums are the anchor of any Rush collection.

Review by Hercules
4 stars Rush are not a progressive rock band. They are a phenomenon which can, in one concert, wipe out entire species, destroy ecosystems, melt the polar icecaps and change the climate - on Mars. How 3 people can make so much noise defies belief; in concert theyare like a relentless assault on the ears. I saw them in 1977 and had to undergo therapy to recover.

This, their first live album, has only tentative links with progressive rock; the main prog era came rather later. However, it's amazing stuff, full of great riffs, excellent solos and some phenomenal bass playing and drumming. It's not perfect, since Geddy's vocals still tend to be a bit screechy and some of the lyrics are a bit naff (Peart didn't really hit his creative peak for a couple of years yet) and drum solos are not exactly my scene, but that's minor criticism. The impression is of a dynamic, powerful band on top oif their game.

The material comes from their first 4 albums, including their excellent epics By Tor and the Snowdog and 2112. The shorter highlights are Bastille Day, Fly by Night and Something for Nothing. Definitely worth buying to see what Rush were like before they became a fully fledged prog band. Highly recommended.

Review by crimson87
5 stars This is one of the best live recordings I have ever heard , as simple as that . It brings you all the energy of Rush`s early numbers without losing (that much) sound quality. The set list is astonishing, the songs chosen are among rush`s best material. Highest tracks: In the end , Fly by night / in the mood , and Bastille Day
Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Having discovered Rush on the release of their A Farewell to Kings album, being mightily impressed I was eager to start exploring their back catalogue. Their Live album, All the World's a Stage seemed like a good place to start giving me a cross section of material from their first four albums. Although I didn't know it at the time I much prefer the Live versions of the songs here than the studio versions. The album although very raw captures the band with youthful enthusiasm and a fire to their playing that has not been equalled on any of their (some excellent) live albums since.

What we have here is most of the choice cuts from their first four albums starting from their eponymous debut when they were pretty much a straight Heavy Rock band into the start of their more Progressive years, 2112 being their most recent studio album at the time of release of this double album. Caress of Steel is somewhat under represented with only two tracks appearing here. One being Bastille Day which opens this (and the afore mentioned studio album) in fine style and packs a more powerful punch than the studio version. Side one of the original vinyl version continues with a blast through some of their shorter and liveliest tracks, all played very well before dropping down a notch for the more laid back Lakeside Park at the start of side two. However the bulk of this side consists of an excellent slightly edited version of 2112. The track flows better here with some of the fat cut out though of course part of the original concept is missing as a consequence.

The final two sides keep up the quality including the best Version of By-Tor and the Snowdog to be heard anywhere and a medley of Working Man and Finding my Way including the obligatory Neil Peart Drum solo and although he's recorded more technically accomplished ones since, this is still one of my favourites being so full on throughout.

Rush have released quite a few live albums since this but to this day All the World's Stage remains my favourite and is also an excellent introduction to anyone wanting to check out the early days of the band without going to the expense of buying all the previous studio albums. 4 1/2 stars.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Rush´s first ever live offering was a stunning one! If you ever doubt their prowness, this was the final proof that those guys were something special. Some of my friends at the time were thinking they were still an average power trio with some skills and that 2112 was a fluke, a lucky strike, helped by studio trickery and effects. Well, this album proved them all wrong. All The World´s A Stage can be easily be cited as one of the great live albums of the 70´s. No small feat in a decade full of great live albums.

I remember how impressed I was when I first heard it: the sound they made on stage was bigger than a lot of bands with 5 or more members. The trio´s perfect tecnique was only matched by their enthusiasm. Playing for a dedicated audience, the CD is pure energy from beginning to end, making it difficult to pick up highlights. My personal choices were the storming opener Batille Day, the great Lakeside Park (better than the studio version, as with most of the tracks here)and the phenomenal opus 2112 (any doubt those guys are prog?).

With a very fine production, this is a must have for any Rush fan. Although much of the songs here are not really prog (aside from 2112 and some Caress Of Steel´s material) everything was so well done and sophisticated, it was obvious those guys were meant for something greater soon. Even if you´re not really fond of power trios, this a CD worth checking out. By the time ATWAS was released Rush was still an underrated band, but that would change in less than an year when they delivered the masterpiece A Farewell To Kings. But this live album showed how capable and talented those guys were live, as much as 2112 proved them as good on the studio. It is no surprise how big they became. 4 stars.

Review by 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.

Review by progaardvark
COLLABORATOR Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
3 stars All the World's a Stage was Rush's first live album, released in 1976 following the 2112 tour. This began a series of Rush live albums released approximately after every fourth studio album. It contains material from Rush's first four albums.

Overall, it isn't the best sounding of Rush's live albums, but it has a strong rawness unlike the others. For that alone, this album is a wonderful documentary of Rush's earlier years, including much material from their movement towards being a full-fledged progressive rock band. The best highlights for me are By-Tor & The Snow Dog and the Working Man/Finding My Way/Drum Solo medley. I found their rendition of 2112 a little disappointing in that it's a shortened version.

This is definitely a must-have for Rush fans, but I would recommend Exit... Stage Left for newcomers interested in their live material as it is the most progressive of their live releases. Three stars for a really good live album.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The immaturity of sound had not quite escaped Rush by the time their first live album was recorded, but as many fans will claim, it was that raw energy that served as an attraction to Rush in the first place. Geddy Lee's youthful vigor, in my opinion, has never left him, but it was at its most unrestrained in the early years, particularly with respect to his warbling, high-pitched voice. His bass tone lacks the might it would have in future recordings as well. Speaking of might, Alex Lifeson's guitars are forceful and crunchy, not swamped with flanging as they would be on their subsequent live release. Like the bass tone, however, Neal Peart's drumming sounds thin, even though his performance is incredible as usual. It is in this live album that one can distinctly hear Rush's transition from a young 1960s-inspired blues-rock band to a progressive rock group with compositions to be taken seriously. The band breaks out of the gates with the stalwart rock tune that is "Bastille Day" and maintains its unrefined oomph throughout the duration of the show. "2112" is interesting to hear live, but of course is a rather stripped down to accommodate merely three players. The "Working Man / Finding My Way" jam is a lot of fun, containing a spirited drum solo, but is again limited by the band's rawness and roots.
Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After 4 hard rocking albums, Rush released this energy boosted dash through their hardest rocking metal. The guitar is outrageous, Geddy is screaming his lungs out and Neil hits every tom that dares to cross his path.

The sound isn't as good as the studio albums but that would have been hard given the spectacular production values of all Rush's classic albums. The latest remaster is ok though if you boost the treble level a bit. The playing is excellent, precise and full of energy. This is Alex Lifeson's big moment with Rush and his guitar is all over the place, he's equally at easy plucking chords as he is with massive riffs and solo's.

There's not one dip in this entire set and there are many reasons to pick some of these live versions over their studio originals. The setlist has all the best tunes of the debut album and with Neil on the drums and Alex's extended solos they come highly recommended. But also more recent material gets dusted off. I never cared much for Lakeside Park but here it comes alive, also 2112 works better in the slightly more concise version here. On the studio album, the part where Alex learns to play the guitar is fun the first time you hear it but gets quite annoying in the end. It is entirely skipped here and I think it's a good improvement. My favourite part of the album is By-Tor & the Snow Dog which is downright fantastic here.

All The World's A Stage is one of those albums I played to death in secondary school, revisiting it for this review was as much fan as it always used to be. It's an excellent live document and if you are only a casual fan of Rush's hard rock years then you could do with just this album instead of the first 4 studio albums.

Review by tarkus1980
4 stars A SOLID double-live album, one that demonstrates every good side of the earliest epoch of Rush and virtually none of the bad. The only complaints I can really muster for the album are that (a) the performances don't differ from the studio versions that greatly and that (b) being early Rush and all, much of the material still contains problems that I already may have mentioned in the studio album reviews. But otherwise, any negatives for the album are few and far between.

Certain things really jump out at the listener when partaking of this live album. First of all - the band focuses strongly on the RAWK aspect of their sound (which was their main strength of this period, after all), so much so that even the artsier periods are overwhelmed with massive headbanging. Second, related to the first, is that Alex Lifeson has a chance to break free of whatever shackles he may have had in the studio (there weren't many at this point, but you get the message) and break free he does. The rendition of "By-tor" here destroys its studio version, if only because of the efforts of Lifeson. In addition to all sorts of cool ultra-fast solos, he also pulls out guitar sounds that I can only compare to those by David Gilmour on the Ummagumma live album (in particular, listen to "Set the Controls For the Heart of the Sun"). That's a big big compliment, if you don't know it already (that live album, no kidding, was what got me firmly into Pink Floyd).

Lifeson also gets the chance to rescue "2112" - not only is it about 25% shorter (less atmospheric wank! yay!), but the jamming in every part becomes at least SOMEWHAT entertaining this time around (as opposed to before, when "Overture" and "Temple of Syrinx" were all I liked of it). The lyrics still make me cringe, but whatever - that's a problem with the original, not this version. At least this time the ending parts that are supposed to make me bang my head actually do so.

Elsewhere, the album is pretty much what you'd expect. The bitchin' kickoff rockers of Night and Steel get the album off to a great start, with this version of "Anthem" even managing to exceed the original. Geddy's screaming is even more convincing, Lifeson's solos are more blazing, the sound blows out your speakers if you're not careful ... just beautiful. Anyhow, the rest is all good, if not "jaw-dropping." The most refreshing thing is that the album contains four numbers from the band's debut - on the one hand, I'm not exactly a huge fan of the debut, due to its massively derivative nature, but on the other hand, it's good to see that the band hadn't yet decided it was too good for its non- artsy roots. Call it an issue of psychological appeasement, if you will. And beside, "Finding My Way" and "Working Man" were the two best songs there, while both "In the Mood" and "What You're Doing" are just fine and dandy. Come to think of it, this album has all of the songs from that album that I liked, so maybe you should skip that one and get this.

Elsewhere, ya got yer "Fly by Night," ya got yer "In the End," ya got yer "Something for Nothing" and ya got yer "Lakeside Park." All standard, yet all good. Point is, if you have an interest in the earliest incarnation of the band but don't feel like wading through all the filler, this is as good a place to start as you're going to find. And hey, even if you're an experienced fan, the energy by itself makes it all worth it.

Review by progrules
5 stars So far there haven't been any 5 star reviews by prog reviewers but there have been some by guest reviewers. And you know what ? I feel these few guest reviewers are right here. Crimson87 for instance said this is one of the best live recordings he ever heard and I believe he isn't exaggerating at all. I never gave this one by Rush too much attention but recently I did and I was blown away really. My approach towards a live album review is not to judge the songs on themselves but just the way they are live executed combined with production and sound quality.

And then the story is quite simple. This is simply near perfect if not absolutely perfect. In their earlier albums Rush used many special effects in their studio albums and the challenge then is to produce this on stage. Rush has done this remarkably well here. On first 5 songs for example the execution is spot on, if at all possible even better than on the studio recordings. Can you believe that ? Jaw dropping stuff.

This live album made me fall in love with this unique band once again. I always have admired them, three top class musicians and composers even though the compositions are the reason the band isn't more popular for me personally. Rush hasn't made many top notch songs in my opinion (The Necromancer, La Villa Strangiato, 2112 are their best followed by about ten very good ones and the rest is mediocre I feel). But if they would have Rush would be amongst my 5 most favorite bands ever no doubt. And on this album is where they prove best exactly how good they are. A live masterpiece and nothing less ....

Review by Warthur
3 stars Cobbled together in a hurry to cash in on the success of 2112, All The World's a Stage is an adequate but not exceptional summary of the early period of Rush. The recording quality is just about acceptable but not stellar, hinting at the band's live power without quite adequately capturing it. The songs from the first three albums are by and large improved by the raw live performance, but the songs from 2112 suffer from the production quality - and from the fact that 2112 itself is trimmed by about five minutes or so, a decision which will enrage purists.

Still, the album is an authentic-sounding snapshot of the Rush live experience at the time, with between-song chat preserved. On balance, though, I'd say it was recorded slightly too early in their career - it relies a bit too much on material from the first three albums to fill out its running time, and they're just not strong enough to carry it. The Different Stages set has a live disc from a 1978 performance, and having an extra album's worth of quality material to balance out the setlist makes all the difference. This is a live album which was probably welcome at the time, but has surely been superseded now by later live releases.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Rush's first live album is a definitive record of all that is great about the power trio. It features stunning performances of Bastille Day, Anthem, Fly By Night / In The Mood and Something For Nothing, among others. The band perform some of their earlier material and for this reason it is worth getting hold of this album in particular to hear the best versions of tracks from the debut album. It also boasts a full blown prog fest epic in the form of 2112, running for almost 16 minutes. A version of Working Man merged with Finding My Way is a gem and also the unbeatable Bytor and the Snow Dog, featuring killer guitar solo. The concert is not long, at least what has been recorded here and on DVD, but it is still a shining treasure of the classic live Rush, with each member at their best, Geddy's vocals reach those high octave notes with ease, Peart is full of energy, and Lifeson's guitar work is sensational. There are many other live Rush albums, the best being the 3 CD "Different Stages" but this is still a terrific taste of the prog legends in full flight.
Review by Modrigue
4 stars Rush's first live album

One live release every four studio albums, this will be the rule. Recorded in 1976 in Toronto, the band's town, "All The World's A Stage" covers RUSH's first period, from 1974 to 1976. A this time, the Canadians were beginning to incorporate progressive elements in their powerful seventies hard / heavy rock. The set-list features extracts from their self-titled debut, "Fly By Night", "Caress Of Steel" and "2112". All discs are well represented and the songs are interpreted with energy, volume and conviction.

Skipping the "Discovery" and "Oracle: The Dream" sections, "2112" has been shortened to 16 minutes. Overall cool, however I do prefer the more polished studio version. On the contrary, "By-tor And The Snow Dog" has been extended to 12 minutes and is undoubtedly the highlight of the record, maybe superior to the original. The band sculpts here an incandescent sonic magma, especially Alex Lifeson creating a maelstrom of furious cosmic guitars. Terrifying! The mysterious spacey interlude is also transcended and simply gorgeous. An unbelievable tour de force! The selection of the average "In The End" as a calm ballad to slow the pace down is a curious choice. "Working Man / Finding My Way" features a long drum solo at the end, Neil Peart being called "The Professor" by Geddy Lee.

Although a bit lengthy, "All The World's A Stage" clearly remains one of the band's best live releases. The concert will please every early RUSH fans, and is also a good entry point for newcomers to discover the trio's first period.

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "All the World's a Stage" is a live album release by Canadian progressive rock act Rush. The album was released through Mercury Records in the US/Europe and through Anthem Records in their native country in September 1976. The original version of the album was a double vinyl release featuring a gatefold sleeve. It´s the first live album release by the band, and according to the liner notes it closes the first chapter of the band´s history.

Rush got their breakthrough earlier in 1976 with the release of their fourth full-length studio album "2112" and the material on "All the World's a Stage" were recorded at Massey Hall in Toronto on June 11, 12, and 13 during their tour supporting the album. "All the World's a Stage" naturally features some tracks from "2112" (including about 16 minutes of the normally 20 minutes long title track), but the band´s first three albums "Rush (1974)", "Fly by Night (1975)", and "Caress of Steel (1975)", are also represented by at least one track each.

Rush have always been an exceptionally well playing band, and that´s true for their live performances too, which "All the World's a Stage" perfectly documents. The album also features a powerful, raw, and organic sounding production, which suits the material well, so "All the World's a Stage" is a fine presentation of a 1976 Rush show (including a drum solo from Neal Peart). The tracklist is well picked, the sound production is relatively well sounding, and the performances are strong from all three members of the band. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Review by Hector Enrique
4 stars The incorporation of Neil Peart from the Fly By Night supposed a very high quality jump in the structure of the trio. In its beginnings with a marked style of hard classic rock (album Rush), it was from the Fly by Night that a new way of facing challenges can be clearly seen, without leaving its Zeppelian roots, its inclinations to get closer to the progressive world were more marked. Continuing with the Caress of Steel, they reached their highest point with 2112, as controversial as it was decisive in their future as a band. Their first official double live album, All the world's a Stage sums up this stage of evolution very well, later facing the second part of the seventies as a decidedly progressive band.

In my opinion, the strengths of this album, which has not had a worldwide impact as relevant as the band's subsequent live albums, are, on the one hand, the almost 16 minutes of 2112, which live clearly stands out. The musical wall that the 3 members build, develop power and solvency and, within it, the instrumental Overture, with a simply spectacular guitar by Lifeson, and the accompaniment of Lee and Peart at the height. On the other hand, the 2nd high point is the 12 minutes of By-Tor & Snowdog, where again the trio shows its great coupling and excellent display of musical virtuosity, extending more than 3 minutes from the studio version. Finally, the 3rd strong point can be found in the middle between the classic Working Man from the first album and Finding my Way, Peart gives us the first of one of his many drum master classes, demonstrating why he has been one of the best, if not the best, drummer of progressive rock and rock in general.

To also emphasize that it was the last time we appreciated Geddy Lee live with a rather harsh and shrill voice timbre, from the next studio album (A Farewell To Kings), it would become a cleaner voice.

All The World's a Stage, is a very good live album of progressive rock, and only in recent years its assessment as such has begun to be more recognized with all fairness.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Review #93 It is not the first time that I say this (probably not the last time either) but, with a very few exceptions, I'm not a huge fan of live albums, that is because the songs almost never sound interestingly different to the studio versions so I rather listen to the original album and this ... (read more)

Report this review (#2596226) | Posted by Uruk_hai | Thursday, September 23, 2021 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This album started a tradition that would continue till the end of the millennium, in which Rush would release a live album every 4 studio albums. All the World's a Stage presents a pretty decent selection of songs, actually the best of their developing stage. Well, mostly I guess. "Bastille Day" ... (read more)

Report this review (#1825209) | Posted by judahbenkenobi | Monday, November 20, 2017 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Rush double live from 1976, the CLASSIC time for this great Prog-rock band. ALmost 80 minutes of live glory including all key Rush tracks up to that point. Bastille Day, By-Tor, Fly By Night, 2112, ANthem, ...... Although the band was just hitting their stride at this point in time, this live set is ... (read more)

Report this review (#753033) | Posted by mohaveman | Sunday, May 13, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars When I delved into the Rush live albums I was hesitant only because I always thought live albums were kinda a waste, if you want to hear them live go to a concert. Yet, being the huge Rush fan I am, had to go to the live albums after getting all the studio albums. This was obviously the first an ... (read more)

Report this review (#518822) | Posted by criticdrummer94 | Friday, September 9, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The very first of far too many Rush live albums. Rush celebrated their first four studio albums and took a small break from their hectic schedule with this live album. An album released on the back of the massive success with 2112. That album is represented with a version of the title track from ... (read more)

Report this review (#359299) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars All the World's a Stage proves that the stage was the natural habitat of the band at the beginning of their career. Ever since, they mastered the art of studio also, where today they seem just as comfortable an confident. But, unlike in the studio, Rush has not many competitors as a live act. ... (read more)

Report this review (#294391) | Posted by bfmuller | Friday, August 13, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Live records are notoriously difficult to get right. The band has sound issues to worry about above the mix right? Can the band and audience hear everything clearly? Or is just a mush of sound? These are all things that bands MUST take into consideration when making a live disc. ... (read more)

Report this review (#270933) | Posted by nahnite | Tuesday, March 9, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is an excellent live album. I always knew Rush was incredible live, and this is no exception. This is probably even better than Exit...Stage Left. Its much more alive than most of the live album produced, but, unfortunatly, there is no footage of any All the World's a Stage, unlike many ... (read more)

Report this review (#195118) | Posted by Rushlover13 | Friday, December 26, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars RUSH's All the World's a Stage is the last entry in a group of what I call "Early RUSH". These albums are: Rush I (1974), Fly By Night (1975), Caress of Steel (1975), 2112 (1976), and All the World's a Stage "Live" (1976). With the success of "2112", the bands forth album, Rush set off on To ... (read more)

Report this review (#182322) | Posted by Analog Kid | Saturday, September 13, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars A truly great live album should really transport you to that moment in time when it occurred, making you wish you were there, feeling the power of the band and the atmosphere of the crowd. In this respect, 'All The World's A Stage' really holds up well. At the time of its release, Rush had just ... (read more)

Report this review (#177742) | Posted by DantesRing | Tuesday, July 22, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is just unbeliveble! It shows Rush at the peak of their energy. Geddy´s vocal performance is very aggressive and his bass play is amazing. Alex Lifeson guitars are both melodic ("Lakeside park") and hard ("Bastille day"). What a great guitar player! And Neil alway ... (read more)

Report this review (#137705) | Posted by Andreghost | Tuesday, September 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album holds a special place in my collection for being my first ever taste of progressive rock and as the introduction to, what is now a permanent member of my top 5 favourite bands list, Rush. This is the first live album for Rush and they did a good job selecting the songs; they are a good ... (read more)

Report this review (#121137) | Posted by progismylife | Monday, May 7, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I first got this on tape about 25 years ago, and when the opening roar of the crowd,intro, and guitar riff to ''Bastille Day''came in,I was blown away! I listened to the whole thing, and I was amazed! Even today, I can still listen to this from start to finish and still not get bored with it. ... (read more)

Report this review (#108912) | Posted by jasonpw. | Thursday, January 25, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Not bad Rush, not bad at all. I must say that Rush is a band that doesn't disapoint live at all. All the World's a Stage was released before A Farewell to Kings, and has a comprised 15 minute version of 2112. And the song selection isn't that bad at all either. Bastille Day is great and so is th ... (read more)

Report this review (#93267) | Posted by Xeroth | Tuesday, October 3, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I'm generally not one for giving half stars, but this is a really a tweener album. It deserves 3 1/2. This is the livest of Rush's live albums. Not the most intelligible thing ever said, but that is the best way to sum up All The World's A Stage in one sentence. The raw production brings o ... (read more)

Report this review (#89043) | Posted by Equality 7-2521 | Tuesday, September 5, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I find this a very special live album...most of the bands just play the songs as if you heard them on the studio LP, but Rush goes far beyond that. For example on the live version of By-tor and the snow dog, the guitar solo is a master takes you to a higher level on the concept of t ... (read more)

Report this review (#84626) | Posted by | Sunday, July 23, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The End of an Era To me, "All the World's a Stage" is the last album from Rush were you'll here Geddy screaming like hell, Alex sliding everywhere on his heavy-distorted guitar, as in the "By-Tor" solo, and Neil hitting his drum with so much intensity. The album is also some kind of compilati ... (read more)

Report this review (#77370) | Posted by Dr4Wazo | Sunday, May 7, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Yes; it's very raw, loud, etc...which is why I like it. I've always admired Rush not just for their uncanny ability to move through complicated time signature changes like they've always done it, but also for their ability to pull those same changes off live; the live setting is notoriously ... (read more)

Report this review (#71454) | Posted by sbrushfan | Wednesday, March 8, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is a very raw-sounding album, especially compared to some of their later live albums. Perhaps it's a little to raw for me. Here's an amusing anecdote about an outsiders perspective of this album. I play in a rock band that has a boyfriend/girlfriend couple. The girl is about 50 year ... (read more)

Report this review (#69266) | Posted by | Monday, February 13, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Great live album, and really a sort of 'best of' compilation played live. Most, if not all my favourite songs from the early Rush years are played. A really great show, played enthousiasticly by the three man band. My favourite song from this album is the Working Man/Finding My Way medley, whi ... (read more)

Report this review (#40157) | Posted by tuxon | Sunday, July 24, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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