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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Rush

All The World’s A Stage

Review by Gary Hill

OK, so a lot of this CD isn’t really progressive rock. The truth is, though, we always put Rush under prog rock based on the strength of their decidedly prog rock period of several albums. That period came right after this live album. This disc captured a period of the band and actually started a tradition for Rush. It was the live album that followed four studio releases – and presaged a shift of musical direction. This became a pattern for the group.  The studio versions of a lot of this music has already been reviewed at MSJ, so please see those album reviews for more detailed track by track descriptions as the ones here apply more to the song as presented on this disc than the composition itself.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Bastille Day
After a quick introduction the band fire out into this frantic powerhouse of a song. It’s a great way to start things off in style. They show off their Zeppelin roots and hints of the progressive rock direction they would fully develop both in this track. Everyone gets a great showcase here at different points.

Anthem
This tribute to the mind of Ayn Rand provides similar leanings to those shown off in the previous piece, but yet I’d say it wanders closer towards the Led Zeppelin end of things. It’s another powerhouse piece and in fact feels a lot stronger than the studio rendition.

Fly By Night / In The Mood
They put two tracks together here. The short and rather straightforward “Fly By Night” is joined with the Zeppelinesque “In the Mood.” This is a good “two-fer,” but certainly not a highlight of the set.

Something For Nothing
This screamer is certainly a long ways from progressive rock. It’s also one of my favorite tracks from Rush. This version is a bit more raw than the studio take, but it’s also a scorching rendition.

Lakeside Park
Here they give us a competent live showing of this fairly straight ahead early Rush track. It’s a good tune – not a standout, but not weak either.

2112
In those days Rush were playing opening slots. So, when they brought out this epic they had to shorten it to fit into the time allotted. Even in its shorter version this still clocks in at over fifteen minutes in length. I definitely prefer the studio take, but this is a great addition to the live set, anyway.

By-Tor And The Snow Dog
Rather a mini-epic type of number, this is a noisy (but in a good way) fantasy type piece. This live version is just plain awesome.

In The End
Like “Something For Nothing” this is a “not very prog rock like” track that for some reason has always resonated with me. They put in a killer live rendition here.

Working Man/Finding My Way
These two tracks from the self-titled debut release are presented here as one track. They show the Led Zeppelin-like roots of the band. There’s an extensive drum solo – something that was destined to become a trademark of the band – in the middle of this – and it’s interesting that some of the parts of this solo are in the live showing of the band to this day.

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