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




Heavy Prog

4.03 | 579 ratings

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4 stars Rush have always been considered an excellent live band and after seeing them live during their Snakes & Arrows tour I can only concur with that statement. The band has released quite a few live albums over the years starting with All The World's A Stage right after their first four studio albums. With a band like Rush there isn't really a need to question their performances during live shows instead let's turn our attention to the balance between the raw energy and recording quality.

It's a fact that the recording technology has improved dramatically over the last 30 years meaning that a lot of the '70s live material that has been cherished by progressive rock fans might not be considered all that spectacular for anyone who wasn't around at the time. But beyond that nostalgia feel there is actually a legitimate reason to treasure them due to the raw energy that bands generally showed during their earlier stage performances.

For me Exit.....Stage Left is easily the best Rush live album out there since I tend to prefer balance in my music. Unlike the raw energy shown on All The World's A Stage that also had a subpar sound quality and the later live albums that seem more like a routine affair but with a superior live mix, this album maintains a perfect balance between the two. This was the time when Rush just released their highly successful album Moving Pictures and were concluding an imoprtaimt phase of their career. The set-list, or set-lists since the recording is taken from two performances, features almost everything a fan of the '70s Rush albums could ever hope for. I say almost since in order to satisfy me completely they would have to play all these albums in their entirety. The band even manages to surprise me by performing excellent versions of Red Barchetta and A Passage To Bangkok which I never really cared for in their studio incarnations. There are also a few other surprises featured here and there that I won't spoil for you since they're well worth experiencing.

In summary, Exit.....Stage Left is easily the best and most complete Rush live chunck of music ever put on a record. The later releases will all add new dimensions to the band's sound through excellent production or playing at a huge venue like Rush - In Rio but those albums lack the magic that was so apparent on their earlier albums. This is a must have album for everyone who is even remotely interested in Rush and an excellent addition to any prog rock collection.

***** star songs: Spirit Of Radio (5:11) YYZ (7:43) Jacobs Ladder (8:46)

**** star songs: Red Barchetta (6:47) A Passage To Bangkok (3:45) Closer To The Heart (3:08) Beneath, Between And Behind (2:34) Broon's Bane (1:37) The Trees (4:50) Xanadu (12:09) Freewill (5:31) Tom Sawyer (4:59) La Villa Strangiato (9:37)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |


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