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Rush Gold (2CD)

Well this one’s like shooting fish in a barrel, isn’t it. I mean, 29 of Rush’s biggest songs, as compiled in 2006. What could possibly go wrong with this?

Exactly. Objectively, nothing.

However.

Listening through this, I wondered how it stood up against my favourite Rush compilation, the 2CD set we all know and love, Chronicles.

Of course, most of the tracks are identical. But there are some omissions and additions. Here’s what I gleaned:

CHRONICLES HAS (RUSH GOLD DOES NOT HAVE) (6 tracks):

Lakeside Park
What You’re Doing (Live)
A Farewell To Kings
A Passage To Bangkok (Live)
Manhattan Project
Show Don’t Tell

RUSH GOLD HAS (CHRONICLES DOES NOT HAVE) (6 tracks):

Xanadu
By-Tor And The Snow Dog
The Analog Kid
Marathon
The Body Electric
Mission

*** It’s also worth noting here that both Chronicles and Rush Gold contain Mystic Rhythms, but the Chronicles version is the A Show Of Hands live recording, while the Rush Gold is the Power Windows album version.

I will grant that Chronicles was made in 1990, a full 16 years before Rush Gold, but I realized that there are no tracks from Roll The Bones, Counterparts, Test For Echo, or Vapor Trails!

Whut.

Seriously, you’re sitting there in 2006 making a Rush compilation and you leave off everything from those four full albums? I get that they probably wanted to try to capture the “classic years,” but come on.

In Sum:

Rush Gold is a sweet set, chock full of Rush Goodness. I don’t know whose job it was to leave off Lakeside Park or Show Don’t Tell, or any of those other Chronicles mainstays, let alone omitting all the intervening albums from 1991-2006, but there you go. Maybe the Retrospective sets are better for a more complete, up to date picture. I’ve never compared! I was happy to see The Analog Kid and Xanadu and all the others that were additions on Rush Gold, though, too.

In Sum Of My In Sum:

I welcomed the additional tracks. And I missed the ones left out.

In Sum Of My In Sum Of My In Sum:

RUSH FTW!

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Rushcue Mission

Fresh coat of paint in the bathroom, time for some new decorations…

I’d rescued these two old copies because I couldn’t stand to see them pitched. The LPs themselves are hacked beyond playable, but the cover art was worth the time, so they have a new home now.

My son named him Hedwig, says Hedwig watches him pee.

By the look on his face, the duck likes what he sees.

Orphans

These recent acquisitions (I got them 2 for $1) are neat, and they’re in great shape – the Archives is a little loved, but the 2112 looks brand new. They’re also a little bit of a mystery.

IMAG0173

Not that the Rush Archives or 2112 are a mystery. And surely no one cares about cassettes anymore. I just had to rescue them to a good home. They looked so… forlorn, sitting there…

Anyway, the mystery, as I see it, is that Discogs lists neither release. Oh, they list cassettes of both release, but not these particular ones (by catalog #).

The 2112 says Anthem 4AN-1-1004 on the spine, and 1976 Cat Productions Limited on the cassete itself. It does also say it was a Columbia House Canada release, on the back flap, as well as “Produced by RUSH and Terry Brown.” The inside of the card is blank. The cassette is standard black.

The Archives is #2 of a 2-cassette set (they didn’t have #1 or I’d have spent the $0.50 and got that one too). It says Anthem 4AN-3-1013 (Tape #2) on the spine, and “1975 Cat Prod. Ltd and 1978 Cat Prod. Ltd, published by Core Music Publishing”on the back flap and on the cassette itself. It also lists Anthem Records in Oak Ridges, ON’s mailing address on the back flap. One other neat feature is that the cassette itself is the same baby blue colour as the insert card/album cover.

I think these are cool finds! I doubt they have much worth, but they’re pretty cool curios to toss into the tape pile!

Rush… And Archer

My lovely wife and I have been watching Archer. It’s friggin’ super-hilarious. So many great moments.

As if it needed to endear itself to me even more, there are several Rush references throughout the show. The ageny’s mad scientist, Krieger, is a big fan.

And someone out there took the time to splice a few of the Rush moments together for your viewing pleasure. 

* This video contains Exit… Van Left, but it does not contain its successor, Vanispheres. Clearly, this video needs to be updated. 🙂

Rush Series 2: The 1990s – Final Toughts

And here we come to the end of Rush’s official releases in the 1990s.

We all know what happened in the Rush family, and things went a bit off the rails for a while, as understandably they would. As was aptly pointed out in the comments in this series, if Rush had indeed gone out for good on this note and never made another record, they’d have gone out at the peak of their game, masters of their craft, and beloved by all. We are all so fortunate that that did not happen, but we’d all have understood.

I know that there were other releases in the 1990s, like Geddy Lee’s My Favourite Headache, and Alex Lifeson’s Victor album. Neil Peart released books about his travels following his tragedies, Ghost Rider chief among them. He also released two volumes of Burning For Buddy, tributes to Buddy Rich, in 1994 and 1997. All of this among others, surely I’ve forgotten many things.

But for the purposes of this series (and my pocketbook) I chose to simply stick with the Rush official releases from this decade, and what a ride it was. Every record was an absolute gold mine, and the live compilation that capped it all off was completely fantastic. The first two Retrospective sets were (admittedly) a bit redundant, but who’s gonna fault them? Not this guy.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my meager ramblings about these absolutely important releases. As I’ve pointed out before, writing about this stuff makes me a bit nervous – what the hell could I possibly add that hasn’t already been said, and by better writers and fans than me? Still, I just go with my gut and let caution go with the wind. I know that I’ve had a supreme blast going through it all. I love Rush Mode. It’s like being on lockdown in an unending swirl of awesome.

Every 1990s Rush album release is going straight into my constant rotation.

Thanks for tuning in, everyone.

Rush Series 2: The 1990s – Different Stages CD3 (1998)

Lucky bastard that I am, this copy of Different Stages that I have been reviewing is the 3CD version. I have no idea if it’s more rare or what have you (I do now there’s a 2CD version out there), I’m just saying I’m a lucky bastard ‘cos I got me 1/3 more Rush! Woo!

Recorded live 1978-02-20 at London, England’s Hammersmith Odeon during the A Farewell To Kings tour, this is on king hell of a show. I mean, right out of the gates, Bastille Day is an absolute rock bomb going off. Wow! And they just don’t let up from there with the awesomeness. I mean, seriously. Through a ripping By-Tor and into an absolutely gorgeous Xanadu and I am totally hooked. And it just… keeps… going… A blasting version of Anthem, a rather slinky Working Man, a bar-brawl In The Mood… I could name-call every track. All of it is monumental.

Here are the tracks, as I have them here:

Bastille Day
By-Tor & The Snow Dog
Xanadu
A Farewell To Kings
Something For Nothing
Cygnus X-1
Anthem
Working Man
Fly By Night
In The Mood
Cinderella Man

All of the instruments are superb. Peart is all over the drums, just pummeling. Lifeson is sublimely dangerous, ripping riffs from the guitar like a madman. And Geddy’s voice soars over his bass and you’d swear it was two people at work.

The sound quality is fantastic, and hearing this 36 year-old recording now is a time capsule, a treasure trove, and a template for all rockers everywhere, all rolled into one.

Fuck yeah!

Rush Series 2: The 1990s – Different Stages CD2 (1998)

Alright! Well, as if yesterdays trip through the monster that is CD1 of this set wasn’t enough, I’m back for another swing on CD2. And holy hell, this one’s equally monstrous. My goodness.

Again, all songs were recorded 1997-06-14 at the World Amphitheater in Tinley Park, Illinois [except the stuff in brackets].

And here’s the tracks:

Test For Echo
The Analog Kid [1994-03-22 at Palace Of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan]
Freewill
Roll The Bones
Stick It Out
Resist [1997-07-02 at Molson Amphitheater, Toronto, Ontario]
Leave That Thing Alone [1997-06-23 at Great Woods Performing Arts Center, Mansfield, MA]
The Rhythm Method – 1997
Natural Science
Force Ten [1997-06-04 at Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati, Ohio]
The Spirit Of Radio
Tom Sawyer
YYZ

I mean, holy fuck. This was amazing. Every version was a killer. And Leave That Thing Alone! YES! Also, the version of YYZ here is an absolute bomb. Jeez.

One thing I found odd, which I should have mentioned yesterday as well, was the inclusion of tracks from three years previous. On CD1, two tracks were from 1994, and one song here on CD2 as well. I’m sure they were great example versions the band wanted to include, but that’s quite a time gap. Oh well, no matter. Shut up and rock, right? RIGHT!

This is a band who’s been at the peak of the game for so damn long it actually makes many other bands look really, really bad. Sorry, other bands, I know it’s not fair. I get that, I really do. All you can really do is hold on for dear life and rock the fuck out as Rush just nails it, song after song after song. It’s all any of us can do.

If you haven’t already bought this set… GO BUY IT NOW.

Rush Series 2: 1990s – Different Stages CD1 (1998)

It’s time for some live Rush. Fuck yeah! It’s been awhile.

I had a look at Wikipedia and this set is a bit all over the place, as to where all of this was recorded and when. I’ll do my best to keep it all straight, as I go through the discs.

All songs on CD1 were recorded on 1997-06-14 at the World Amphitheater in Tinley Park, Illinois, except [whatever is in brackets, below].

This was recorded as the tour was winding down to an ending. What is a bit freaky is that the majority of this was recorded a very short time before Neil Peart lost his daughter, Selena, in a car accident (1997-08-10). Of course, he had no way of knowing, at the time, but in retrospect it make this a pretty precious document.

And what’s here?

Dreamline
Limelight
Driven
Bravado [1994-04-30 at Spectrum, Philadelphia]
Animate
Show Don’t Tell [1994-02-27 at Miami Arena]
The Trees [1997-05-24 at Starplex Amphitheater, Dallas]
Nobody’s Hero
Closer To The Heart
2112*!

* 1997-06-23 at Great Woods Performing Arts Center, Mansfield, Massachusetts.
! This is the only Rush live album that contains all of 2112 in its entirety.

Alright. Holy FUCK. This was amazing. I mean, the album tracks are great, we all know this. But this live set has an atmosphere, an energy that the albums hold differently. Listening to this, I was instantly transported to standing there at a show, listening to them doing this. And I’ve never seen Rush live! I KNOW! I haven’t a clue what the fuck is wrong with me. I need to see Rush. I really really do… Swept away, I loved every minute of it all.

The band is flying high on every track. Absolutely top form. Wait, was it redundant to type that? I mean, this is Rush. Are they ever off their game? Anyway. Let the record (pun intended) show that I thought they did a damn fine job, here.

I love the song selections, I love the sound reproduction, I love the crowd noises (I can hear individual voices woohoo-ing as songs end), I love the way all three players feed and bounce off each other seamlessly. That’s the product of long years of playing together right there, folks. I’ve always loved Nobody’s Hero as one of my favourite Rush tracks of all time – to have it live, here, is just super-tasty icing on the cake.

And seriously folks, to have all of 2112 live, in one place? The only time in Rush’s long history that’s ever happened? That was worth the price of admission alone. I mean, I’m seriously considering burning these live tracks off as a CD-R unto themselves, just to have a live 2112 to flip to when I’m jonesing. Especially in the car.

Look. I’m not even gonna review this song by song, as is my usual wankery. All I can say is GO BUY THIS SET. NOW. POST-HASTE. It’s that good. Honestly. Wow.

Goddamn it. I gotta go hose off.

This was a blissful event.

And to think, this was only CD1!

Rush Series 2: The 1990s – Retrospective II: 1981-1987 (1997)

Only one month after the release of Retrospective I, and only one month before Neil Peart’s life went off the rails, comes this second volume of a look back on Rush’s hit songs. Yes, it had (largely) already been done, on Chronicles, seven years prior. Anyway.

Also, one question: It was noted that these compilations were released to coincide with the Sector boxed sets of the remastered albums. Does anyone know if the tracks on these compilations would be the remastered versions from the boxed sets?

So, to work.

What do we get on the second installment?

The Big Money
Red Barchetta
Subdivisions
Time Stand Still
Mystic Rhythms
The Analog Kid
Distant Early Warning
Marathon
The Body Electric
Mission
Limelight
Red Sector A
New World Man
Tom Sawyer
Force Ten

And, same as Retrospective I, now you get even more of a sense of just how humungous this band is. Look at these track lists. It’s insane. SO MANY GOOD SONGS.

Anyway, this set is identical to CD-2 of the Rush – Gold set that came out a while later. Except, as we discovered, The Analog Kid is listed as the “Complete Version” on the Gold set, where as here on RII it’s simply The Analog Kid.  If anyone knows and can tell us what that Complete Version even means, we’d love to know!

As for how it compares to Chronicles, Retrospective II contains many of the same songs, just in a different order. Where it differs is its inclusion of The Analog Kid, Marathon, The Body Electric and Mission, which Chronicles does not have. But Chronicles replaces those with A Passage To Bangkok (Live), Manhattan Project, and Show Don’t Tell.

I imagine most of you serious Rush fans skipped this disc, same as you skipped the first volume, but I got it simply because it was cheap and, honestly, who can resist?

Strictly for the noob, same as Retrospective I. Missing a bunch of essential songs (but you should just have all the records, right? RIGHT!). But whatever else can be said about it, this was still a really great friggin’ listen.

Rush Series 2: The 1990s – Retrospective I: 1974-1980 (1997)

1997. The year tragedy struck for Neil Peart, twice. We know the stories, no need to rehash it here. But the band had already released this compilation (and the next) only two months and one month (respectively) before things hit a standstill for Peart.

And what of this compilation? It’s 14 tracks of awesome, of course. The problem, of course, is trying to get all the best tracks from 1974-1980 onto one CD. Whomever had that job had to know it was an exercise in futility. So, what do we get?

The Spirit Of Radio
The Trees
Something For Nothing
Freewill
Xanadu
Bastille Day
By-Tor And The Snow Dog
Anthem
Closer To The Heart
2112 Overture
The Temples Of Syrinx
La Villa Strangiato
Fly By Night
Finding My Way

Like I said, 14 tracks of awesome. But there’s a ton missing. I could list them all, but really, if you’re reading this on this blog, you’ve been here for this whole series and you already know which glaring omissions have been made according to your own tastes.

Admittedly, this was somewhat a superfluous purchase if you already owned Chronicles (and Retrospective II may well have been too, but I’ll get to that one tomorrow). But the only songs here (from roughly the same period) that CD1 of Chronicles didn’t have are Something For Nothing and Xanadu (oh man I love this song). NB: [On Retrospective I, 2112 is the Overture followed by Syrinx as two seperate tracks. On Chronicles, it’s the Overture and Temples Of Syrinx together as one track]. Then again, Chronicles also had A Farewell To Kings, What You’re Doing (live), Lakeside Park, and Working Man.

It’d be easy to say Retrospective I should have been a 2CD set. You could easily make 2 CDs from Rush’s career 1974-1980. Seriously, from Rush to Permanent Waves? Easily 2 CDs. Maybe even 3 CDs. But by that point, I would argue that you should just go get the albums. I’ve heard them all now and, really, there’s very little that should have been left off, so owning the albums solves all of those little nit-picky problems. Own it all! Problem solved!

Still, I’m glad I got this because 1) it sounds great, 2) all of these songs are fucking awesome, and 3) it’s an interesting mix, different from Chronicles which I have probably played to death at this point and will keep on playing it because it rules. It’s nice to change it up a bit.

But yeah, it’s fun to have this set here. If you see it cheap, it’s still worth it to check it out, to see what you think of this running order.

Rush Series 2: The 1990s – Test For Echo (1996)

Given how much I loved Counterparts, I was really excited to get into this next effort, released three years later.

*It should be noted here, too, that I am in a very privileged position. I am getting to hear these records night after night, while fans had to wait, in this case, three years. Mind you, if I’d had three years to live with Counterparts before this came out, I’d have been very happy. I’m lucky. I’ve been able to hear the entire Rush discography in huge chunks, and in a short time. It’s been wonderful.

So. Test For Echo. Let’s give ‘er!

The title track rocks like hell. There is so much going on in this track, and when the drums start pounding and the guitar starts rising up… it feels like things are going to explode. Very cool. Of course, this is Rush, and everything is tightly controlled. Oh baby. I can see why this was a single.

Driven also rocks hugely, anchored by an acoustic guitar. The bottom end is at the fore, here. It rumbles. The whole swings while it rocks and when it hits double-time at the end it just gets even bigger. What a track!

Half The World was another single (three in a row!), and it’s a big, roomy rocker that totally pleases. You could be mistaken for thinking this was a lighter track, especially given the two preceeding tracks on this record, but it’s really not. This is an utterly excellent track.

The Color Of Right is actually, for Rush, a fairly straight-up rock tune. It still totally sounds like them (awesome) and has tricky little instrumental bits to it (cool) but why this one wasn’t on radio is way beyond me. It was built for it.

Time And Motion has a really menacing riff to it, an energy that makes the listener restless. I loved it. This song is stalking the room, and it could jump you at any moment. Killer guitar solo in this one, sharp as a knife. Eben the break down part is built to make you look over your shoulder.

Totem is an anthemic rocker, made expressly for the purpose of making you jump up and down when they play it in concert. Lunatics and mosters indeed. I love the way the instruments interplay here, it’s all constructed so well.

Dog Years is another in-your-face rocker. At first I didn’t like the chorus, but it grew on me and by the second spin through this record it all made sense and I loved every minute of it. Especially the parts where it gets a bit heavier. Of course.

Virtuality was a single, and the guitar riff is built to destroy. Even when it lightens up and arpeggiates a little bit, you know it’s just toying with you like a cat toys with a mouse. And then BAM! But then… an acoustic guitar! This song is all over the place, a huge rock song, and I loved it all.

Resist was also a single, a beautiful and slower tune that is no less epic. I love the acoustic elements while the electric soars and the drums and the bass anchor the whole thing. This is absolutely beautiful.

Limbo is the albums instrumental track, and it’s a monster. It sways and staggers along as it rocks.  When it picks up, it rocks hard on a sliding guitar line.

Carve Away The Stone ends things on this record, and it’s a decent rock song. It messes with time signatures a tiny bit, but never once falters or is anything less than excellent. The instrumental bit from 2:00-2:33 is some of the most inspired playing on the record.

In Sum:

I loved Counterparts. And I really loved Test For Echo. What an album! This is an epic! A tour de force! I really cannot say enough good about this entire record.

Rush Series 2: The 1990s – Counterparts (1993)

After yesterday’s expedition into Roll The Bones, there were a few comments from people waiting for me to get to this next album in the discography. Coming two years after RTB (and Rush’s 15th album, for those keeping track), what we have is a rather different album.

Animate is one helluva album opener (and a single). I was going to write that it achieves liftoff very quickly, but I don’t even think it ever touched the ground. I don’t hear much synths in this one, mainly just the three piece and it rocks like crazy. Even when it slows a bit and becomes this thoughtful section, it still rules. I loved this song.

Stick It Out starts out with a bit of menace and then becomes this crashing, stomping thing that is really pleasing. As soon as we hit the chorus I realized that I knew this song! This was a single (hell, it hit #1 in the US), it was on the radio. Man, I didn’t catch it right away but I totally knew this song all along. Yes. This is a great one!

Cut To The Chase starts out a bit more lightly, but promises much more. And then BAM! it hits. There is so much to love here, the whole thing is so atmospheric. And Lifeson’s solo! Yes! Holy hell, this is three songs in a row that rock like hell. I’m really going to love this album, arent I. Yes, I believe I am. Because next we’re into the reason I bought this album first of their 1990s releases.

Nobody’s Hero. We all know this song, from its acoustic intro through to it’s strong body, we’re told two wrenching stories. The first story is about one of Peart’s friends’ death of AIDS. The second is of a girl killed in Peart’s hometown. Many believe it was Kristen French, one of Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka’s victims. Like I said, very dark stuff. But this song… I can’t get it out of my head. Every piece of it fits, and I think what keeps it from falling off into despair are the strings (arranged and conducted by Michael Kamen). It’s the lift we need. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this song, always did, even way back in the day. One of my favourite Rush songs. Ever.

Between Sun & Moon is another great rock song on an album that seems to be full of them. Maybe it’s just the year this was released (and Wiki tells me this one was #2 behind only Pearl Jam’s vs.), but I could totally hear Eddie Vedder singing this one. It soars like a Pearl Jam song. Is that blasphemy? I can deal with that, it’s just what I hear, and I’m no expert. And whatever, it’s not a bad thing. At all. This is a great tune with some really great musicianship throughout… which seems redundant to say, when talking about this band, isn’t it.

Alien Shore zips along with a slinky feel and then crashes into another huge rock song. Dammit, this record is kicking my ass and I’m only just past halfway through. This is the Rush I think maybe we were missing in the synth years. Not that they weren’t writing brilliant tunes then (they absolutely were) but it’s nice to hear them just rock the fuck out again. Hell yeah. This one would have sounded great live, if they ever played it.

The Speed Of Love is an excellent mid-tempo rocker with a real feel to it. It breaks down during the verses, then lifts up to a sort of clarity in the choruses.. does that even make sense? It’s just in the way the instruments hit together, it feels open, almost sparse but also not. It all works, it holds together as only Rush can do it. Very cool.

Double Agent was another single, and it starts out well enough, but then it just starts rocking the hell out and it’s awesome… except there’s that talking bit again. Sigh. Shades of Roll The Bones. That sort of thing isn’t working for me, the only blemish on a (so far) perfect record. And this song is so strong otherwise.

Leave That Thing Alone is quite a funky instrumental workout. I liked it!

Cold Fire was also a single (from an album that seems chock full of them), and it’s a great mid-tempo pop rocker with heavier chorus parts. This is another one that definitely achieves liftoff.

And last finally we have Everyday Glory, which zaps us right back into the 80s. It’s like Rush playing an early-days U2 song. It’s disorienting, especially after the last ten tracks. It feels a bit like it’s a left-over from Roll The Bones that’s been tacked onto the end. The chorus saves it a bit, and that guitar solo is bloody huge, but still, it’s a bit of a weird way to go out. It’s not a bad song, still.

In Sum:

Wow. Just wow. Almost all of this record knocked me backwards. Brilliant.

Rush Series 2: The 1990s – Roll The Bones (1991)

The Preamble:

As promised on Friday, today I embark on a new series. Yes. It is RUSH.

Ever since ending my Rush (Partial) Series, which began with 1974’s Rush, and ended as the 1980s ended with Presto and A Show Of Hands (with a little ABC 1974 thrown in there, thanks to our venerable HMO), I’ve been slowly and quietly collecting the next decade of Rush’s storied career. Recently, the last piece fell into place and I am ready to embark on the next leg of this journey. Welcome to Rush Series 2: The 1990s.

The only differences between my first Rush (Partial) Series and this one, of course, are that 1) I was recipient of most of the albums from the illustrious Lebrain to whom I am eternally grateful for putting this stuff into my ears, and 2) I played all of the albums from 1974 and up (save for a couple I required from the Tubes of You)  while sitting in the car with my daughter, waiting for my son to get let out of school every afternoon. With the summer holidays here now, I’ve lost my excuse to use my mobile office, so now I am listening in the house. It’s not a hardship. But I got very accustomed to hearing albums in the car…

Of course, 1990 saw the release of the absolutely essential 2CD Chronicles compilation. I have already reviewed that glorious set right here.

So, up next is 1991’s Roll The Bones. May I say I am excited to get back into Rush Mode. I’ve done very well with self-restraint, holding off playing the records as they came in, holding back until I had everything here. It was not easy to delay gratification.

So why wait any longer? Let’s give ‘er!

The Review:

Dreamline absolutely rocks. It’s classic Rush, yet with a look forward too. I love that “Dun-Dun-Dun!” riff. Everything about this song is perfect. A no-brainer that this was a single.

Bravado is a massive-sounding, mid-tempo rock tune. Seriously, the production here is gorgeous. This is a very uplifting song, both musically and lyrically. Releasing this as a single was a bold move in the face of the grunge-dominated airwaves.

The title track is funky, for sure, but definitely still sounds like it would have been more popular in 1985. I like the philosophy in the lyrics, though. And I loved the sound of the guitar solo here, as well as the acoustic guitar anchor. The little spoken word parts right after that solo, though… um, no thanks, guys. And it was a single! Interesting.

Face Up is a great driving song, out on the highway at high speed. It rocks along quite handily. Even the breakdown prowls like a caged animal, aching to get back out there and run some more. And then it does! Awesome tune.

Where’s My Thing?, Pt. 4: Gangster Of Boats Trilogy (haha a trilogy in four parts, you have to know they’re Douglas Adams fans) starts out with a lot of funk, then morphs occasionally into a big Rush 80’s epic synth sweep. Wiki tells me that this was nominated for a Grammy (though it did not win).

The Big Wheel has a big rawk riff and moves along happily. It sounds so simple, really, but of course this is Rush and we all know that it isn’t. This one maybe goes on a little bit long, I mean over 5 minutes? They just repeated the chorus a couple of times too many, at the end. But that’s OK. It’s Rush? Who’s gonna tell them to stop? Me? Nope.

Heresy is a sprawling, gorgeous Rush rawk epic. Love love love this. All of it. This is a great track!

Ghost Of A Chance equally rocks and goes gentle. It’s heavy, it’s funky, it floats a bit. Lifeson’s guitar is the real star, here. Even on the second play through this album, this track stood out to me. Wiki tells me it was a single and I absolutely agree.

Neurotica didn’t grab me at first, even though I’d be hard-pressed to tell you why. On second time through it clicked with me, though, and now it’s as essential to this album as any of the other tracks.

You Bet Your Life rocks along well, and ends this record with aplomb. We’re all just dreamers, after all, and going for it is all we have.

In sum:

Even overcoming my excitement of being back in Rush Mode, I can say that this is an excellent album. EXCELLENT. It’s missing some elements we’d come to expect from Rush, like the longer, exploratory Lifeson guitar solos, or even good ol’ Peart goin’ nutso on the drums for a track or two. It’s all played (mostly) close to the chest. And that’s OK. It was the record they wanted to make, it fit the times. It’s a bridge between the 80s and 90s.

What sealed it for me though, beyond Rush’s excellent playing and the absolutely superb sound here, is the album’s mindset, overall. Life is all you have. You have to go for it. If there’s something you don’t like about your life, go fix it and to hell with anyone who’d tell you that you can’t do it. And even if it doesn’t work out, change things and go for it again. I can get behind that. Hell, that line of thinking is… punk. GASP!

Final Words

Here marks the end of my Rush (Partial) Series. It’s been one helluva ride. So much great music, and I have The Mighty Lebrain to thank for it. Thanks, Dude! And HMO too, for the last minute addition of the ABC 1974! Cheers!

Now, Readers who’ve been paying close attention will recall a recent post in which I revealed that I listen to these records for review whilst in the car, as we await our son’s release from school. The car is, so to speak, my mobile office and listening post. And as my lovely 2-year-old daughter waits with me, she’s been given quite the education in The Rawk, these past few months – she hears everything that I hear.

This is, I believe, the greatest parental gift I can bestow upon our future generations, passing along the love of all things Music. And my girl? She enjoys it and never complains about The Rawk.

In fact, as I close out this Rush (Partial) Series, I will allow her to have the last 1000 words (since a picture offers at least that much). To Mike, and Scott, and to all of our KMA Readers, here’s my girl listening to Rush, the other day:

IMAG3776

[click the definitely-not-shite photie to make it bigger!] 😉

 

Rush: The (Partial) Series – ABC 1974

Let’s talk about the brilliance of this blogging community. We all read each other’s blogs, and comment, and much fun is had. I love it.

My (partial) Rush series was a real education, and a complete introduction to a band I thought I knew, but clearly did not. Most of those CDs I reviewed came to me via the generosity of Lebrain our most knowledgeable brother in rawk. True, I knew Mike way back in the mid-90s, when I used to visit his store. But we stayed in touch, and when I got back to Ontario, and he started up a blog too, the rest is history. If you’ve been following along in these pages in my Gratitude series, and on the blog in general, you’ll know Mike is a constant figure. That he sent all this Rush was beyond thrilling. It was… boggling.

And I’d thought my (partial) Rush series was done, for now (as reported yesterday). At least, until I buy the later albums, of course. But then, our Heavy Metal Overlord (with impeccable timing, truly) dropped another Rush goody on my doorstep yesterday. It all began with my requesting he order a book from the UK Amazon for me, since it is only available on Kindle here in Canada and I could not find it elsewhere. Later, I whinged about how my town would never get something like the ABC 1974 CD, and it was $30 on Amazon… well, Scott has a shop in his lovely city that had it for £5 and, being the brilliant dude he is, it arrived (unasked for but completely welcomed) on my doorstep yesterday, along with the book! Many thanks are due to our HMO. I am thrilled to have this one, too!

So not only do we read each other’s posts, sometimes we share things. Our Moms would be so proud.

So, despite this being a 2011 release, I am counting this among my early-years Rush reviews, as it was recorded in 1974/75. Neil Peart had just joined the band two weeks prior to the tour, and they were on friggin’ fire!

A note on the sound: for a bootleg of a radio broadcast, from 40 years ago, the sound is excellent. I did find it jumped from left to right speakers (and back again) occasionally. Someone may have been leaning on the switch, during recording? Who knows. It’s a minor note, but it’s occasionally there.

Now, according to the liner notes (and the cover itself), this was Rush’s first American radio broadcast. It contains 2 early versions of tracks from Fly By Night (before FBN was released – The Best I Can, and In The End), one cover tune and, mostly incredibly, two tracks previously unheard in their entirety anywhere!

Ready? I know I am! Let’s give ‘er!

From 1974-08-26*:

All of these excellent versions have GREAT energy, and Geddy’s vocals are at full wail. This is a very young Rush, and they’re not holding back AT ALL. This is one tight unit of superlative musicians! It was a total pleasure to hear. As for the tracks I mentioned (above):

Fancy Dancer is bluesy and a great rock stomper, to boot. The instrumental section in the middle of it is crazy-good. I loved this track!

The cover tune is of Larry Williamson’s Bad Boy, from the 50s, and it’s funky as hell. “Now Junior, BEHAVE YOURSELF!” Haha YEAH! And then, at 3:30 the track achieves friggin’ lift-off. Alex Lifeson’s guitar at the end is mind-blowing.

They really should have welded Working Man and Drum Solo together as one track, Drum Solo coming, as it does, at the hanging end of Working Man, acting as a track closer. Anyway, it’s 2:54 of Peart going NUTS on the drums before the band crash-closes it all out.

Garden Road should’ve been on the record (hell, Fancy Dancer should’ve too). It’s a great, bluesy rocker as good as anything else on the album.

Also, only the very best rawk live albums have “Hello, Cleveland” on them. 😉

Track Listing:

01 Finding My Way
02 The Best I Can
03 Need Some Love
04 In The End
05 Fancy Dancer
06 In The Mood
07 Bad Boy
08 Here Again
09 Working Man
10 Drum Solo
11 What You’re Doing
12 Garden Road

Whew! Now THAT was a concert! Completely, utterly fantastic. I’m fairly well-known for loving a band’s early years, when they are still full of piss and vinegar, when they’re still seeking to establish their sound and are hungry for a career. This concert is Rush right around that time – it’s bloody brilliant. But oh, that’s not all…

From 1975, we get these bonus tracks:

The sound here is of a lesser quality, but honestly, who cares?

13 Anthem
14 Beneath, Between & Behind
15 Fly By Night

In Sum: This is one amazing CD. I’ve heard three other live Rush albums, during my (partial) series, and they’re all great. But this one… this one may be my favourite, right now. It’s raw, it’s tight, and it totally fucking rocks.

My huge thanks to our HMO for getting this hot, hot, HOT CD into my hands!!

 

* I was exactly 1 month and 3 days old when this was recorded.

Rush: The (Partial) Series – A Show Of Hands (1989)

In this series, it has been my great honour and privilege to hear everything from Rush (1974) to A Show Of Hands and Presto (both 1989).

Alas and alack, here we arrive at the end of the Rush awesomeness that our brother in rawk Lebrain gave to me (supplemented twice by the youtubes and by one album I found myself). WHAT A RIDE! This is one incredible band and I have absolutely loved hearing all of this great, great music.

I will definitely be buying the rest. Post-haste, if I can help it.

And now, our last in this (partial) series. Let’s give ‘er!

You know, I was going through each track, making note of awesome moments, commenting on this or that. But I realized that it would suffice to say that all of these are stellar versions, completely solid. I know that, when it comes to Rush, that is implied anyway, but I still felt it needed to be said.

Just look at what they played:

Intro
The Big Money
Subdivisions
Marathon
Turn The Page
Manhattan Project
Mission
Distant Early Warning
Mystic Rhythms
Witch Hunt (part iii of fear)
The Rhythm Method (drum solo)
Force Ten
Time Stand Still
Red Sector A
Closer To The Heart

What stands out? Several things. The Three Stooges “Three Blind Mice” intro was amusing – more self-deprecating Canadian humour, eh? I loved the Big Money into Subdivisions one-two opening punch. The Rhythm Method (drum solo) is 4:37 of Neil Peart bashing away and mucking (brilliantly) about. And there are many hits here. Scan the list, you can pick them out.

But what really stood out for me was how many album tracks are here – not necessarily the big radio hits or singles. Both All The World’s A Stage and Exit…Stage Left, before this, played like hits shows, whereas this one boldly lines deeper cuts next to bona fide classics. This speaks volumes about the power, validity and depth of this band. That they can do this, and have it go so well, AND that all the tracks sound like they belong together… all the mark of a great, great band.

The only other thing that crossed my mind was: DAMMIT I NEED TO SEE THIS BAND IN CONCERT. I have not, yet, managed it. When they come around, I need to make it happen.

In sum: This is a GREAT CD. And it’s a nice place to leave my bookmark for coming back later. I fully intend to buy and review the remaining Rush albums. It is a mission, now, to make this a complete collection!

My hugely immeasurable thanks to our brother in rawk Lebrain for providing (almost) all of these albums. Huge. Thanks.

Thanks for reading. Here ends the (partial) Rush series.

Wait.

What’s that?

You want MORE?

Well then, why not simply click right here and read how, in 2007, I drooled over Chronicles, which was released in 1990. Give ‘er!

Rush: The (Partial) Series – Presto (1989)

I am nearing the end of this partial series. In fact, this is the penultimate review until I can get shopping for the later-years albums I still need to complete my collection.

Let’s give ‘er!

Show Don’t Tell is the hit, we all know it well. It’s a big song, all over. You know this.

Chain Lightning is a funky rocker that I liked a lot. A very strong song, with a cool guitar solo.

The Pass is a gorgeous, sweeping slower song. Oh my goodness this is greatness. I especially liked the way it ends.

Warpaint is gentle in the verses, a bit more rock in the rest and with a sing-along ending. This was so good, I actually went back and played it twice. It’s hypnotic.

Scars is faster, slinky, funky. This is what would happen, I think, if you asked Rush to write an 80s radio hit pop song. Fun! The drum break is cool.

Presto’s acoustic intro is cool. When it gets going it’s still a gentler tune, though the sense of promise of more is always there. And then! There it is! This song has it all. Great!

Superconductor ramps up the rock tempo againwith a cool riff. This was a hit song, right? It should totally have beenhigher up in the running order, too. This one had me bouncing.

Anagram (For Mongo) has a quirky title, and repeatedly builds on a cool motif which culminates in a satisfying 90s rock mid-tempo thing. This was born for radio.

Red Tide’s piano intro becomes a bit of a throwback to the 80s electronic thing. It all pulls back for the verse, but not for long. The environmental message is strong, the point is well-made all around. The guitar solo is intriguing.

Hand Over Fist is just a cool tune all over. It’s bluesy, funky, it hits hard, the vocals soar. It’s all here. Oh man, if they ever played this live, the place would go nuts. It’s built to shake stadiums.

Available Light plods along for the verse. I can hear Peart’s drums just aching to go faster. Fortunately, the chorus picks things up and eventually we’re into full on Rush rock-out mode. Big fills, big solo, the works. A truly cool album closer.

In sum: Fantastic. There’s not a bad tune here. This is a strong, strong effort. My huge thanks to Mr. Lebrain, he of the Rawk Knowledge for getting this one to me!

Rush: The (Partial) Series – Hold Your Fire (1987)

Alright, so the jury’s still out (for me) on Power Windows. Let’s get into this next one! I do not (yet) own this album, but I will! For now, the youtubes are going to have to suffice – I’m fortunate that they had they whole thing available, and in HD no less!

Force Ten is a hit, I knew it from Chronicles. It’s a great song with a driving beat. The synths are still here but (perhaps) a little less the main focus. The vocals are loud and clear, up front in the mix.

Time Stand Still, of course, is a huge track (another hit, on Chronicles). You know this song. I loved it, everything about it. This could have been on an album of theirs a few years previous. I hadn’t known that that female vocal was Aimee Mann, but thanks to Wiki, I do now! Fantastic track.

Open Secrets is another full pleasure to hear, and based on what I’m hearing here, I’m now getting hopes raised that we’re returning a bit more to form (as much as Rush can have one form to which they stick). I mean, the synths are still here but they seem to not be the only focus anymore. This track, for example, is mighty fine indeed. Aimee Mann sings here, again, too.

Second Nature is a wonderful track about a need for common sense and human decency. It starts off slow, with keyboards, then becomes a full band track. I loved this.

Prime Mover is another great Rush rock song. Yes! This album is a step away, and towards, and tracks like these are the proof.

Lock And Key is another hit song, right? Shoulda been, anyway. OK I am so excited about this album. I love the messages, I love the music, everything.

Mission is a track Mike our brother in rawk Lebrain mentioned (in the comments for Power Windows) as being a current favourite. I understand why! This is a sprawling, gigantic song. There’s a lot going on, the tempos shift, the sounds change… Yes!

Turn The Page turns up the rock and quickens the pace for a bit, then slows it down to make its point. This one hits hard. I love the Lifeson guitar solo, all three instruments locked into that great Rush groove… I’m also realizing that I definitely need to go back and check out the lyrics on this record. I have a feeling I’m going to agree with a lot of it…

Tai Shan is, according to Heavy Metal OG (in the comments for Power Windows), the song Geddy finds most embarrassing in the Rush Discography. The music is interesting, but the lyrics… well, they’re a bit weaker fare than we’re used to from these guys. Check out the chorus: “I stood at the top of the mountain/and China sang to me/in the peaceful days of harvest time/song of eternity.” Um, yeah. I’ll bet that’s what he meant. The song itself is musically strong, though. Interesting!

High Water closes this efort out mid-tempo, yet with buzzing guitar and slinky bass. Another strong song. Hot damn!

In sum: Oh boy, I loved this one. This is a challenging, interesting and excellent Rush record. I’ll be buying this one, when I see it, for sure.

Rush: The (Partial) Series – Power Windows (1985)

Power Windows (1985). We’re still driven by synths and electronics, but we’re still rockin’, by and large!

Big Money was a hit song, it’s a huge, sprawling thing with a lot going on within its borders. You know it well already.

Grand Designs is where an epiphany hits me, in all this. And I hate to say this, it’s totally inaccurate and I know it. All this stuff from the mid-80s… does it not sound all the same, to any of the rest of you? Like, songs could be interchangeable between albums (excepting lyrical content)? I’m certainly not meaning to deride or belittle any of the work here, but as I go through the thought has started to occur to me. I think it’s the utter shift in sound, the one I said yesterday was alright by me because it was their choice to go that way, and I still say that… Weird. I know. I KNOW! I’m probably way off base. But I had to express it. And anyway, Grand Designs. Good song. I liked the guitar solo.

Manhattan Project (also from the Chronicles I’ve pummelled with repeated listens) is a pretty, slow song, though its subject matter is still what you think it is. Eventually, the rock wins out, though. The juxtaposition and the lyrical content is all a bit unsettling. I like that it kept me on edge.

Marathon is a huge track (fiitingly). Lots of everything, here. The instrumentations are all excellent – bass, guitar and drums. Synths, well, of course they were here too. I think they were going for uplifting here, and it worked for sure.

Territories slowly builds into another rocker whose sound fits the album perfectly. I liked the bit at 2:00. Many times they just hit those moments and you nod your head, secure in the knowledge that these guys are masters at their craft.

Middletown Dreams seamlessly connects to Territories. See above comment in Grand Designs. It’s still a good song! Really! It has a certain menace to it, a heaviness that most of the others haven’t had (in the same way).

Emotion Detector builds into a period-perfect rocker. I liked the chorus part. But wow, it’s actually getting hard (at times) to believe that this is the same band! Of course, I am exhausted, it’s been a long week. Maybe I’m not hearing this record properly and need to sleep on it.

Mystic Rhythms stomps along, driven largely by the drums and the bass. It plods a bit, but it’s a fitting album closer.

In sum: Yeah, I need to hear this again, when I’m not falling asleep at the keyboard (my Mac keyboard, not a synth!). Maybe I did it a disservice, playing it tonight, unable as I was to play it in the car this afternoon, in my usual manner. I wasn’t able to get myself into the proper headspace to deal with all the everything-80s in this record. I am still completely grateful for the chance to hear it, please don’t misunderstand. Thanks heaps, Mike the one and only Lebrain!

Rush: The (Partial) Series – Grace Under Pressure (1984)

And here is where I fully realized the lengths to which Rush is willing to go to make the record they want to make! You guys were talking about the synths, and an 80s sound, and here is where it’s most prevalent for the first time (for me). Oh yes, tracks up to here had it, but this whole album… I heard this and I pictured big hair and.. shoulder pads. Ugh.

But what a record! I love the paranoia, very evocative of bomb shelter 50s cold war stuff. Great writing!

Distant Early Warning starts us off, a certified Rush classic tune. And hey, there’s that reggae feel to it a bit, too, in parts. This is another favourite Rush track, for me. If I were making a mix CD, this one would be on there, for sure.

Afterimage is straight-on rock with a bit of a swing beat, in spots. And lots of synths. For what we’re used to (by this point) from Rush, this track is fairly basic. And honestly, that’s refreshing! The bit at 2:20 is atmospheric. An OK track!

Red Sector A is another classic, yes! Very 80s. You know that thing I mean.

The Enemy Within has more of that reggae feel to it, but sped up. Still a solid rock song. Wow this record is definitely a sound change.

The Body Electric has a half-tempo verse, 1001001! Fun. I really liked the whole feel and tone of this song. It’s stronger than Afterimage.

Kid Gloves is a slinky rock tune fully ensconced in the era of its creation. It’s fully realized, but one might expect more from these guys on this one. I dunno, maybe I’m being harsh – it’s hard to fault a Rush song. But this one surely isn’t a hit track.

Red Lenses is a bit chaotic, and… funky! Yes! The drum work here is excellent.

Between The Wheels has this stabbing-synth thing that I at first found a bit annoying, then realized it’s integral to the song. So be it. I liked this one better when they got down to the rocking out.

In sum: I am taking this one in stride, consulting my inner 10 year old (that’s how old I was when this was released) and I deem it worthy. It’s an excellent record, these guys simply showing up guarantees that. But it’s a departure, and I’ll need another spin or two to fully assimilate it. There are parts of the old Rush I miss here (and which might have made it a very different record), but there are new Rush things here and I’m also enjoying the discovery process. I won’t be taking this one out of my player just yet!

Thanks so much, Mike, our grand master Lebrain!!!

Rush: The (Partial) Series – Signals (1982)

It’s official. Rush rules. No matter what they’re doing, it’s done with such talent and integrity and verve, it’s boggling. I have had the distinct pleasure of going through all of these early-year albums and not one of them has disappointed.

Signals is no different, what a huge album.

There follows my amateur impressions of the record, with no real in-depth analysis. Understanding, I hope, will come later, with repeat listenings. I’ll delve deeper into the lyrics, the music, as I will with all of these albums. I will be back again! 😉

So. Signals…

Subdivisions is another of my all-time fave Rush songs. When I rocked Chronicles, this one often got repeat spins. It’s just a huge song, and the lyrics sum up what I think far better than I could ever articulate it.

The Analog Kid is a great big rock song with excellent energy. If they ever played this live, the place would surely go nuts. Even when it dips to the slower cool part, you just know the rock is coming back.

Chemistry is just a great song all over. It sprawls, with all the hallmarks of an epic Rush song. Does anyone else hear how this could be a Pink Floyd song? Or is it just me?

Digital Man keeps the epic ball rolling. There’s that reggae feel to parts of this again (revisiting Vital Signs a little?). I loved the heavier bit at 2:50, and the instrumental explorations thereafter. Big Lifeson solo. Excellent song!

The Weapon is another exploratory track that is brilliantly executed. [Hm. Perhaps that last sentence was unnecessary to type out. By this point, can we all assume that this is a given?] Anyway, The Weapon seals the deal. I’m sold. This is one king helluva huge Rush record and I’m only halfway through!

New World Man is another ig hit we all know well. I love the rhythm here. Seriously excellent.

Losing It has a gorgeous intro, and it only grows from there into more brilliant playing and soloing. This has to be one of the most aching songs about aging I’ve heard. Makes me wanna go carpe the shit out of that diem, for sure!

Countdown is a track they dedicated to NASA, which is very fitting (given what I perceive to be the themes on this record) and very, very cool. Geeks unite! Haha. Radio chatter, choppers flying past, this song has it all, the feel of a real launch (if Rush were soundtracking it)! Awesome!

In sum: I am in love. RUSH!

Thanks so much to our brother in rawk Lebrain!!

Rush: The (Partial) Series – Exit… Stage Left (1981)

Author's true-to-life depiction of Rush in concert.

Author’s true-to-life depiction of Rush in concert.

I took one look at the track listing for this CD and knew it was gonna be a corker. It reads like a greatest hits set (because it is). I mean, look at this. JUST LOOK!

The Spirit Of Radio
Red Barchetta
YYZ
A Passage To Bangkok
Closer To The Heart
Beneath, Between & Behind
Jacob’s Ladder
Broon’s Bane
The Trees
Xanadu
Freewill
Tom Sawyer
La Villa Strangiato

Yeesh! If your mind isn’t blown after all of that, you haven’t been paying attention!

Now, I did make some notes as I went through this. But I found that I was repeating myself, track after track, so I will just put it all into a paragraph or two:

I definitely noticed the bass as being prominent, on this record. That’s awesome. I love Geddy’s playing and it really stands out in all of these tracks. Every single song here is a great, great version. Many of them are very close, nearly note-perfect, to the album versions. Which leads me to say HOLY HELL CAN YOU IMAGINE BEING THERE?!?! I don’t know how anybody walked out of those gigs. Me, I’d need to be carried out.

I loved the crowd sing-along in the intro to Closer To The Heart. According to the liner notes, that was in Glasgow, so our metal brother HMO can stand proud that his city-mates did us justice! I had to look up Broon’s Bane, which turns out to have been written for this tour/album as an intro to The Trees. Nice! The little 50s pop song intro to Jacob’s Ladder was fun.

Commenter Phillip Helbig recommended I check out Rush live playing Xanadu (a fave of his). From what I’ve heard on this record, it’s guaranteed to blow my mind. I still need to get to the youtubes and take care of his recommendation of seeing it.

Honestly, folks. This live CD melted my brain. If this was all you heard of Rush, you’d still say that they are Rock GODS.

Two metal horns all the way up!  \m/  \m/

PS Also interesting to note: I swear that this is a true story. My only witnesses are 5 and 2.5 years old, as my kids were in the car with me, but I swear it happened exactly like this: I played Exit… Stage Left all the way through as we waited for my son to get out of school (I recently blogged about how my daughter and I hear all these CDs). Once I had him in the car and we were headed home, the CD spun again from the top. On arrival, I ejected the Exit.. CD so I could bring it back into the house. And, I swear this is true, our local rawk station (named after an animal, as they all are) was blaring the studio version of Working Man! Talk about fantastic timing! And hey, that in itself is interesting, but hearing it right after Exit… like that brings to mind an valid point: not to knock the track listing of Exit… in any way, shape or form, but I’d say that Working Man’s exclsuion from that setlist is a fair oversiiiiight! So, thanks to our local rawk radio. I was so caught up in all the awesome of Exit… and never even noticed that Working Man had been omitted.

No matter. Exit… Stage Left is a fucking killer, top to bottom. GREAT live album!

Thanks big heaps to our illustrious Lebrain for this one too!

Rush: The (Partial) Series – Moving Pictures (1981)

OMFG MOVING PICTURES!!!!!

This album should be required in every home, maybe with a little shrine in the corner with some candles and incense burning for the truly dedicated. What a monster record!

Now, this is one I don’t (yet) own, but I will. Oh yes, I will. Mike, if I don’t have this one by the time we go to Taranna on our next excursion, I’d be very surprised. But in case I don’t, it’s tops of the search list! For now I had to content myself with hearing the full album on the youtubes. It’s a lifesaver for me, in this series and with my need to be complete as I go along, that they had it all up there for free!

So. Do I even need to tell you about this record? Surely you know it forwards and backwards and love every inch of every song as much as I have. I mean, the first four songs (three of which are on my Chronicles set) will take the top of your head off, pour it full of awesomeness and then send you reeling into the last three tracks so blissfully you’ll come back for more as soon as the last note ends.

Look at this:

01 Tom Sawyer (a fucking monster track you know so well)
02 Red Barchetta (one of my all-time Rush fave tracks!)
03 YYZ (an absolutely mind-blowing instrumental… about Pearson airport?)
04 Limelight (yet another monster hit)

I mean, that right there, they could go home and call it a total success. But they’re not done with us yet. No no, this is Rush. They wanna make sure we’re well and truly ridden hard and put down wet, fully satisfied after a listening session, so there’s three more tracks! Ready? Of course you are!

The Camera Eye seems to know we need a bit of a breather after all that awesome, so it slow builds for a while with synth stabs before becoming an oddly muddy-sounding slow-but-heavy rocker for a while. Then we shift gears again into a higher energy section that sounds very happy. Almost poppy. Fun! We slow back down and reprise the previous bit for a while, before bringing back the faster part. The back and forth isn’t jarring at all, feels natural as it happens. Like all epic Rush songs, this is an expedition. See YYZ, above. And as you know, one must prepare for expeditions.

Witch Hunt (Part III of Fear) quickly builds into a fairly menacing rock tune. More cowbell! It almost sounds like it’s going to fall apart at any moment (of course it won’t, this is Rush, after all) but it adds to the cool effect. And then it starts to soar… This is trippy and fascinating and beautiful… perfect soundtrack music for something. Whatever “Fear” is, I suppose.

Vital Signs brings back the rock with a reggae thing that sounds like Rush doing a Police song. It’s not a criticism, just pointing it out. Wow, that snare has a weird smush sound to it. It all improves when the bass finally joins the mix (missing from the intro). I really enjoyed this! Rush does reggae! Haha awesome. Good on them for trying it out.

In sum: This is an incredible album that fully speaks to the band’s boggling talent, versatility and hit-making skills. As with all of their other records before it, I think I’ll benefit from repeat listens, glean far more with each spin. One this is for certain, I will not stop spinning it. This one’s gold. Thanks, youtubes! I will be buying this shortly, I’m sure.

Rush: The (Partial) Series – Permanent Waves (1980)

What a ride! You know, I’ve had so much fun going through all these Rush albums. They are all so excellent, and this one is certainly no exception. And once again, as with all of these so far, this album came to me through our brother in rawk Lebrain. Let’s give ‘er!

The Spirit Of Radio is a huge classic. You know this one. I love everything about it musically. Everything. I also love the concern, in the lyrics, for integrity. “All this machinery making modern music can still be open-hearted.” As the synths and effects creep in further, hearing him say this is a relief!

Freewill is another huge one that you’ll know well. I liked the message here, too. Musically, it rocks as only Rush can rock – tight, complicated and endlessly fascinating! I love the bass around 3:00 and then, in fact, the whole instrumental part that follows. True greatness, this whole thing.

Jacob’s Ladder’s intro (which almost feels like a march, somehow) leads into a heavy-riffed song that had me headbanging. It’s almost meditative. Zen rock! The synths take over for a long, trippy section. But the guitar reasserts itself as the drums skitter and then big crashing returns before we fade out. EPIC!

Damn, halfway through and this record is batting 1000.

Entre Nous is a relationship tune I’d never heard before, but I wish I had! It’s not as showy, bu tno less awesome. The many parts hold together excellently, and perfectly compliment the (as always) thoughtful, poetic lyrics. Another perfect track.

Different Strings’ gently picked intro leads into a slower tune that’s a plea for common sense. I really liked this. If they ever played it live, the lighters would be up in full force! Ooof. I’ve just dated myself, haven’t I. The young turks today use their cell phones, I know, I know. Anyway, excellent song!

Natural Science has a gentle acoustic intro that sounds a bit spacey. When the song really kicks in, it’s another tricky Rush rocker with great lines from all the instruments. The wonky synths fit the tune. And once again the lyrics focus on integrity. I’d wager that if I went back and read the lyric sheet, much of this album is about being real. I love it. Oh, and check out 3:55-4:41. Cool! The song shifts again and becomes absolutely lifting as it swings. Yes! And, at the close, we’re left to listen to the waves. Permanent waves, clearly.

What a track! What an album!! Thanks so much Mike!!

Rush: The (Partial) Series – Hemispheres (1978)

I have an idea.

I’m gonna take Cygnus X-1 (in its entirety) from A Farewell To Kings, then Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres from the Hemispheres record and make a whole new, dedicated album out of it on a CD-R.

Surely I am not original in this. There are probably entire blogs and web pages dedicated to the intricacies and beauty of pasting the two parts together. Have any of you guys ever done this? How did it turn out?

[And if, inexplicably, no one in the history of ever has ever done this before and I am truly original in this, just remember that you heard it here first! However, I highly doubt this is the case.]

Anyway, Hemispheres. Holy hell this is HUGE!

Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres rocks and sways as instrumental tune, as full-on rock song, as experimental outlet, you name it. There’s so much to love here. I’m thinking it’s (long before now) redundant to express the opinion that Rush is ‘very creative?’ Haha.

In it’s entirety, the parts go like this: Prelude/Apollo: Bringer Of Wisdom/Dionysus: Bringer Of Love/Armageddon: The Battle Of Heart And Mind/Cygnus: Bringer Of Balance/The Sphere: A Kind Of Dream. Total time 18:04.

The cycle shows them in high flying form. Synths are appearing in these big rawk tracks. There are trippy patches, sometimes a bit of a drone, lots of big guitars and rolling drums. The whole thing ends gently, on acoustic… All you need to know is that it’s brilliant (wait, that’s redundant too!). It’s Rush. YEAH!

Circumstances is next, and it ought to have been a radio hit. It’s a pure Rush rawk track, lots of slippery hi-hat, odd time signatures, intricate guitars… hell yeah!

The Trees I knew from CD1 of Chronicles. You know this song. The medieval sound is back, in the intro. Then, of course, they’re off and rocking quickly enough. I loved the instrumental bit in the middle. Only Rush could get away with this song and not make it sound totally pretentious (or like they were really, really high).

La Villa Strangiata is another that we all know well. What an awesome track! Since I only owned Chronicles for the longest time, and since I never bothered to look deeper, I never realized that this song was actually in twelve parts (over it 9:34):

i) Buenos Nochas, Mein Froinds! / ii) To Sleep, perchance to dream… / iii) Strangiato Theme / iv) A Lerxt In Wonderland / v) Monsters! / vi) The Ghost Of The Aragon / vii) Danforth And Pape / viii) The Waltz Of The Shreves / ix) Never turn your back on a Monster! / x) Monsters! (Reprise) / xi) Strangiato Theme (Reprise) / xii) A Farewell To Things.

Neat!

In sum: This is an insanely ambitious, perfectly-realized album. The musicianship is boggling, the songs highly intricate and compelling while still rocking out. In other words: it’s a Rush album. Full marks!!

Thanks ever so much to Our Brother Lebrain, Patron Saint Of The Rawk for getting this gem into my hot little hands!

Rush: The (Partial) Series – A Farewell To Kings (1977)

Let’s get in there and give ‘er!

A Farewell To Kings’ medieval-sounding acoustic intro is fun, but it doesn’t last long before it tkes off into a decent Rush rawk song. I like the instrumental bit best.

Xanadu is epic. It takes a couple of minutes to build, but once it does, it immediately takes on all comers. It’s another of those Rush tracks that has an albums’-worth of ideas packed into one 11-minute song, and it’s all huge. I loved it. What a workout!

Closer To The Heart is a total classic. Radio has been trying to kill this song with overplay for years, and they’ve never succeeded. Great to hear it within the context of its album proper. It fits.

Cinderella Man is another great Rush rawk song, meaning intricate instrumentation, both heavier and lighter spots, and that completely classic Rush sound. Yes. Yes! YES!

Madrigal is a short, pretty little tune. Has the feel of being a segue track, glueing two others together.

Cygnus X-1 has a weirdo intro, which becomes a funky, bluesy jam before taking off into an all-over-the-map rock-out. When the vocals arrive, it’s a full-on rock track, then some more jamming. Sprawling at over 10.5 minutes, this is  monster track.

In sum: At only 6 tracks, one could look at it and feel it’s a light effort. One spin, though, will confirm there’s at least two albums’-worth of tracks in that truncated track list. I need to play this again, listening even more closely, really letting it seep into our blood. This one feels like it truly deserves the attention. Thanks heaps, Mike! I am so loving this record (and all of them, thus far!)

Rush: The (Partial) Series – All The World’s A Stage (1976)

Rush live! What a fabulous document. Oh man. It plays like a Greatest Hits. Ha, actually it pretty much is just that. These are all GREAT versions (which saves me writing that same line for every one of these tracks).

Bastille Day just rocks. Launch into Anthem and you know they’re here to fucking rock. Damn. Jump straight into Fly By Night/In The Mood, which go together perfectly. They handled that switch beautifully.

Something For Nothing teases with a gentle patch but then they bring back the full-on rawk attack. Lakeside Park saunter-swings along gorgeously, the outro of which leads straight into (most of) 2112. How many artists stand on a stage and say “we’d like to play you side one of our latest album.” All of side one. Of course, it all rules (I don’t need to tell you that). They skipped Discovery and Oracle: The Dream, but to hear this live? YES! So awesome.

Alright, I’m already blissed out. If they’d stopped there, I’d call it stunning and we could all go back and spin it again. But, being the awesomeness that is Rush, they’re nowhere near done kicking our asses yet.

By-Tor & The Snow Dog is 12 friggin’ minutes of brilliance. In The End is a gorgeous slower tune, of course, but then it’s Working Man/Finding My Way which, on its own, would be enough to justify ticket price alone. Working Man’s intro is slower than the record, which only makes it heavier. It does pick up, of course. And crashing right into Finding My Way… I’d have lost my “woo!!” octave by then. And What You’re Doing finally slays us completely. I’m drained. I’m done.

In Sum: Holy shit that was AWESOME! I’m so glad they left in most of the crowd noise, makes it more of an actual keepsake of an incredible period of the band’s career. Thanks heaps, Mike our all-time favourite LeBrain!

Rush: The (Partial) Series – 2112 (1976)

The mighty 2112. Oh man.

I have already reviewed this record here on the KMA, and I agree with myself. I am, after all, so frickin’ cool. Hahaha.

Miss that first chance up there to click and read my words from 7 years ago? CLICK HERE! Or, if you prefer, how about HERE? You one of those people that waits for the fourth link to really be sure? Then click HERE!

Anyway.

The only thing that has changed since I last visited this record in 2007 is that I sold that copy too. Not the first copy I’ve ditched, as you’ll read at that link up there. Again, I can’t even remember why it went out in one of my purges. Probably because sometimes I’m a tool. But then Mike the Mighty Lebrain (haha I orginally typed LeBran, but he’s just some regular guy) sent me another copy and this one, I swear, I will keep. Clearly, the Universe is telling me that I am meant to have this record. It keeps coming back into my life.

\m/   \m/

Rush: The (Partial) Series – Caress of Steel (1975)

Mike The Almighty Lebrain sent me this, Rush’s third album (and third in two years)! It’s a good one, and they’re really starting to let their freak flag fly. Let’s give ‘er.

Bastille Day is, of course, a stone classic, and one helluva way to open a record! That opening riff  has always reminded me (a bit) of the Chili Peppers’ Catholic School Girls Rule, though my brain screams at me that there is an old school punk song that sounds similar too, and for the life of me I can’t place it. Anyway, this would have come before all that, and of course being Rush, this riff isn’t the only killer lick in the song and it all rules.  The hard rock crashes into a majestic chorus. I love the instrumental bit with the solo. Even the fanfare at 4:05 (to fade out) is rousing. Yes!

I Think I’m Going Bald confused the hell out of me. It’s silly. Seriously, who decided that this was worthy of inclusion? It sounds more like a sketch, words he was making up in studio while they were working on the music for the tune. It’s a one-off gag, anyway. Decent music, though. Bluesy, and a big solo.

Lakeside Park is another tune we all know backwards. So. Good. And it swings, which pleases me greatly.

And here is where the record takes a turn for the concept album. Two massive tracks, broken into sections. Ready? Of course you are.

The Necromancer is 12:29, and broken into three parts:

i) Into The Darkness has a strange spoken intro with effects on the vocals. It becomes a slow blues jam that I quite liked, before the odd spoken part comes back. ii) Under The Shadow stutter-start rocks into another blues jam instrumental. (iii) Return Of The Prince carries it along, and around the 7:05 mark it blasts off into full rawk noodling. The tune ends as a rock ballad.

The Fountain Of Lamneth, at 19:58, is even more ambitious with six parts:

i) In The Valley is a pretty acoustic intro that becomes a full band jam that alternates between lovely tune and full-on rock out. ii) Didacts And Narpets has (maybe) one the coolest track names ever. Didact is easy, but I have no idea what a Narpet is. Anyway, it’s a lot to write about a 1:02 song section that is essentially Peart noodling around on the drums. It becomes a strange shout-thing while he wails away. Odd! iii) No One At The Bridge is a slow tune. Geddy really wails, here. So does Lifeson, on the solo. iv) Panacea starts out gentle and stays there. Lilting and calm. v) Bacchus Plateau goes mid-tempo but is still a rock tune. I quite liked this. Interesting how the guitar walks across to the left speaker only (around 15:50) as it fades out. vi) The Fountain brings back the rock… then takes it away again to go slow momentarily, then they rock that stutter-riff again. It all ends on gentle acoustic again.

Whew!

With these last two excursion tracks, I’ve found myself just listening to the music. On this run-through I didn’t pay too much attention to the lyrics, so I really haven’t much of a clue what they were on about in all of this. Never fear, repeat listens will give me the story too.

In Sum: The album opens with some rock tunes, and then they stretch their legs with some concept tracks. Light your lava lamp. Spark up the candles, incense and a j, and lay back for the show.

Epic!

Thanks heaps, Lebrain!

Rush: The (Partial) Series – Fly By Night (1975)

Here we have Rush’s second album. It sounds like their tenth, meaning only that they seem to have sprung fully-formed into this seasoned, incredible sound so early on and holy hell it’s amazing. Once again may it be noted that this remastered version was sent to me by our brother in rawk Lebrain.

Let’s hop to it!

Anthem serves notice that this band is here to rock you. There’s an obvious difference in the drums, moving from Rutsey to Peart, but the energy is still there. It’s a huge riff from Lifeson, and Geddy’s voice is in full wail. Pure classic hit song.

Best I Can keeps the rock coming, another supremely big rock song. This shoulda been a hit. Why wasn’t this a hit? An embarassment of riches from which to choose, perhaps? Anyone have another guess?

Beneath, Between And Behind is the third massive 70s rock-out track in a row. The musicianship here (and everywhere, of course) is awesome. The shifting time signatures are dizzying. It’s as though they had so many good song ideas so they just jammed them all into one song. Cool!

By-Tor & The Snow Dog keeps the record’s relentless need to burn and rock alive. Yes! The instrumental bit around 2:00 is…um… weird, very spacy and with this odd growling thing over top. The stop-start timing at 4:00 hints at intricacies in future songs. So cool. The track then becomes this quiet, minimal echoey thing (which goes on a little long, in my opinion) before ripping into a huge blues guitar solo, and that’s all before crashing into a reprise rock out ending. Damn, Now they’re making entire albums into one song!

Fly By Night is a Total Classic. You know this song. ‘Nuff said.

Making Memories has a sweet acoustic intro that layers in electric guitar and drums as it builds. This is a real feel-good track. Why was this not a radio hit, when it has accessibility written all over it? Anyway, it’s also a good seque track into…

Rivendell, a gentle acoustic tune done in the old style, as though some bard was singing it beside a fire in a tavern. Of course, given the subject matter, they’ve nailed the only way to play a song like this. Lovely.

In The End eases us gently, as well. It’s all a ruse, though. Before the 2:00 mark the big guitars are back and we’re hitting the theme heavily. This is truly a beautiful song. As it gently rocks us out at the end, I realize that this record has a split personality. Big rock and gentle caress.

In sum: Goddamn, all of that was brilliant. I could play this ten times and still get new things from it. Thanks heaps, Mike!

Rush: The (Partial) Series – Rush (1974)

Folks, I have to tell you: Mike, Our Brother Lebrain sent me this pile of Rush CDs in a Box Of Awesome, pretty much everything from 1974-1989, give or take a couple!! I KNOW! When they arrived, I fell over. As would anyone. So much greatness. I cannot thank him enough. And I am about to disappear into RushLand. Very very happily so.

Oh, and for the record (puns always intended), this was released in the year in which I was born.

So. RUSH. Let’s give ‘er!

Finding My Way is a classic. You know this song. And what a great track, by way of an introduction! It rocks, it’s bluesy, it has great energy. I love the bit at 3:40 or so. Just a great collection of elements.

Need Some Love is a short track, and comes right out of the gates with fast rock, simple chords and verve. The chorus rolls back a bit but that restless music underneath doesn’t relent. The instrumental bit at 1:30 kills. Yes! If you don’t play air guitar to this, something in you is busted.

Take A Friend is bluesy as hell, slinking along with menace. Lifeson shines, here. Those fills make the track, and then he takes off into the solo… yeah! It all sounds a bit southern rock, and a perfect snapshot of its era. Perfectly awesome.

Here Again is the obligatory slow song. Not that there’s anything obligatory with these guys, but it’s their first record so fair enough. Really bluesy late-night feel to it. It throbs. Real smooth. Love it.

What You’re Doing is another well-known classic. As I played this for (probably) the zillionth time (I’m more used to the live version on Chronicles), all I could do was rock the fuck out. Huge riff, great track. Pure rawk.

In The Mood is yet another bluesy rocker we all know well. The lyrics are a bit cheesy, but the tune is so burned into my brain. Cowbell! It’s a fun song, on the lighter side. Great guitar work again.

Before And After is exactly that. Before is a pretty instrumental, a sweet slow build. You could be forgiven for not even believing this part of the song was them. It all starts to get a bit heavier gradually, and then at 2:17 it takes off into a great, heavy chunky After part of the song. Yum!

And finally we have Working Man. What a massive track. MASSIVE. Even radio can’t kill this one with overplay. Always loved this one. It’s one of those songs. Check the guitar starting at 2:10, in fact the whole bit from there to 5:17. AWESOME. This was built for concerts.

Whew. Now, lots of people say they hear Led Zeppelin in all this, and that John Rutsey’s drumming is no match for Neil Peart’s, but whether the influence is there for real or not isn’t necessary information. As for Peart, well, I think Rutsey’s drumming here fits the songs perfectly. This was a completely solid band from the get-go. Hot damn.

In sum:    \m/  \m/

Thanks heaps, Mike!

Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage

Here we see the humanity, the humour and the urge to create and progress of rock’s premier left-fielders. If ever there was a band on its own terms, and in full grip of its power, it is Rush. This film is a documentary, a set of raised devil horns, and a love note all wrapped up in one eminently watchable package.

Rush – Feedback

I’m a fan of cover tunes, maybe a little more than most people. Especially if they are well done, by which I mean when the band doing the covering brings their own thing to the song, thus making it recognizable yet still recognizably their own. Also, adding an element of fun and joie de vive to the proceedings works wonders, too. But just playing other people’s music by rote is pretty boring.

As such, so many cover songs suck because the above ingredients are totally missing. There are so many lackluster attempts out there that it boggles the mind. Either the song has all of the life sucked right out of it (for example, any track off that Spin Magazine Smashing Pumpkins tribute I heard a while back), or the song has in some other way been changed from an originally good song to serious suckage (far too numerous to be listed here, trust me). Some bands don’t know to leave some songs well enough alone – the originals are the version, so fuck off already (I’m looking at you, k.d. lang)! And yet some bands pull off a cover that actually improves on the original (for example, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes’ Only The Good Die Young, or Guitar Wolf’s Summertime Blues – see below).

Anyway, Rush. I love these guys. A lot. They’ve made some of the most important prog music ever (and I’m now officially a wanker for typing that sentiment and meaning it). Their career has held fairly consistent style and grace over many years. And they’re Canadian! The Coolness Trifecta is in place! So when I finally got around to picking up this collection of cover songs, I was pretty excited about it. I mean, it’s Rush! Playing other peoples’ music! Interesting! Cool! The mind fairly reels with the implications…

Like most bands, in their early years Rush started out playing cover songs in bars. It’s how a band develops their chops, grows and congeals as a unit, learns how to manipulate sounds. Fine. And here they are, in 2004 ferchrissakes, looking backwards through decades as if they aren’t the innovative band they are, offering up 8 covers from the stuff they used to play and love a zillion years ago. It would’ve been alright if they’d really given it everything they had. Or even hammed it up completely. Hell, this concept might’ve worked if they just hadn’t done everything at half-speed. Sadly, Feedback just feels like a toss-off to me, not a genuine effort. Sorry, guys.

Gasp! This is Rush I’m talking about here! One of my favourite bands! But if you’d asked me what Rush would sound like covering The Who’s The Seeker (or any of the other tracks here, really), I’d have said they could have totally rocked it up, and made it their own as only they can do! But honestly, what’s here that I can’t get from my Ultimate Who collection?Sadly, nothing. This record is just one fairly straight-on version after another. Oh sure, they play capably (far better than a lot of bands could muster) and it’s well-produced to sound perfect (especially at high volume) but, well, it is what it is. Yawn.

Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for Rush when I played this set… hard to believe that this could happen, I know! But these tracks sound mostly… I really do hate to say it… uninspired. Geddy never really lets his vocals soar, instead just staying with the tune in that mind-numbing mid-range. And Geddy’s voice was made to wail! Neil’s drums are highly capable, to be sure, but there’s nothing here that would lead us to consider him to be what he is, a God of the Drums. And Alex’s guitar is sweet-sounding, indeed, but again, for the most part he’s just carrying on with the tune.

And another thing, as a note to all bands who might make future attempts: Guitar Wolf reigns supreme over all other covers of Summertime Blues. Hands-down. Rush plays it well, here, but way too slow, or not heavy enough, or something. Yeah, something’s missing. Energy? Desire? Are they too old? I dunno. But I can definitely notice the lack, and it makes me sad.

OK, enough bashing! On the upside, there is a highlight track on this short collection, thanks to the incredible Alex Lifeson, and that is the awesome rip through Crossroads. Now that’s some wailing on the guitar! Damn!

Look, it ain’t all bad. It is still a listenable disc. And I suppose it could have been worse. Much worse. And heck, now they can drop some covers into their concert setlists, at the very least.

If the band is vanity-Googling themselves and finds this, please believe me that I love your work wholeheartedly. They just can’t all be winners, I guess. C’mon guys, you’re Rush! This could have been huge. HUGE!

Track Listing:
01 Summertime Blues
02 Heart Full Of Soul
03 For What It’s Worth
04 The Seeker
05 Mr. Soul
06 Seven And Seven Is
07 Shapes Of Things
08 Crossroads

Rush – 2112

In the summer of 1976, I turned two years old. I’m pretty sure I didn’t care about Rush at that time, although nothing is impossible…  I’m kidding. I think… It was in that year, though, that the band made this incredible record. 

By my mid-teens I had a copy of 2112 and I loved it. I loved the futuristic sf story, I loved the 1984/Fahrenheit 451 paranoia and concerns about societal control and the death of the arts, which is perhaps even more relevant today, non? (Discuss.) Even better, the music completely kicked my ass. Rush was (and still is, thank you very much) a band to be reckoned with, and this album was one of my favourites.

In those early years I moved around a lot, and that meant paring down possessions to make moving easier. One of the victims of these various purges was my copy of 2112, though I couldn’t tell you exactly why it didn’t make the cut. I suppose I reasoned I could get another copy at some point someday.

Well, here I am years later and I’m re-acknowledging my love of Rush. I bought Chronicles (see review) to whet my appetite. Then I read Martin Popoff’s book Contents Under Pressure (see review), and now I’ve found a remastered copy of this classic album for $10. It really should’ve been selling for more than that, so I was doing it a favour by rescuing it and bringing it to a loving home.

All the classic bits are here. That succinct story full of sorrow and hope married to the massive, soaring music and vocals. The hilarious dedication in the liner notes “with acknowledgement to the genus (sic) of Ayn Rand.” I love that. Does it mean it’s just a typo, or was Ayn Rand her own sub-species? (Discuss.) And who is John Galt? (Discuss.)

The tracks on the second half of the record kick ass too. A Passage To Bangkok is by now a classic of the catalogue, a great rock song. The Twilight Zone has its neat, whispered vocals in behind the chorus and stunning guitar work. Lessons is an acoustic-driven, great 70’s rock song that builds to wailing vocals and heavy guitar. Tears, a ballad penned by Geddy, is overwrought and sappy and therefore perfect. Every album needs one song like this, and this is it. And Something For Nothing is a grand rocker, thematically bookending the record. The last lines of the song leave you with a great thought and the key to Rush themselves and how hard they work at their craft.

And the remastering job sounds great, by the way, just like it should. Awesome.

For me, listening to Rush has always been about listening to the monumental variety in their music first and foremost. Add lyrics (they always have a ton to say) and it’s a complete package. This is a great, great record, and even after all these years it’s still one of my favourites.

Own it.

Track Listing:

01 “2112”

i)    Overture
ii)   The Temples Of Syrinx
iii)  Discovery
iv)  Presentation
v)   Oracle: The Dream
vi)  Soliloquy
vii) Grand Finale

02 A Passage To Bangkok
03 The Twilight Zone
04 Lessons
05 Tears
06 Something For Nothing

Rush – Chronicles

I had a roommate in second year university who may very well have been the world’s biggest Rush fan – at least, that I’ve ever met, anyway. He’d play their records really, really loudly on his crappy little boombox, passionately howling along in falsetto (horribly, I might add). But it was hard to fault his enthusiasm for the band. They really are fucking amazing.

There’s a more recent Gold Series set of Rush’s greatest hits that’s probably mostly identical to this one, but to me this 2 CD set is the one to have. Years ago, I owned a copy of this myself, but the mists of time have shrouded the reasons as to when and why I got rid of it. Probably to make moving that much lighter, at some point. Silliness!

I bought another copy yesterday in Toronto, because I was totally jonesing to hear this incredible band’s inimitable sound. I’m playing it right now, and I was so right for snapping it up. I was a fool to get rid of it the first time around, living without it all these years. What a great set!

These are three of Canada’s premier musicians. From a technical musical standpoint, these guys are completely brilliant. Neil Peart on drums? Alex Lifeson on guitar? Geddy Lee on bass, keyboards and those incomparable vocals? Holy shit! Untouchable. The lyrics are intelligent, interesting and classic. Just try telling me you don’t know all the words to Tom Sawyer, Closer To The Heart and Working Man. Liar!

Culled from their early albums, there’s not a track here that even approaches mediocre. Even better, Rush has been around so long now, and has continued to make fantastic records in the 17 years since this set was released (Christ, somehow that makes me feel old), that by now they’re living legends. They operate on a plane that few other bands in this country can even imagine, let alone pretend to comprehend.

Just take a look at the track listing and you’ll know what I’m on about. I’m not complaining at all, but the only things missing from the list are forgiveable. Personally, I’d say that the entire 2112 opus is a greatest hits collection in its own right, but for these purposes one may as well just own the album. Trust me! It’s that good! And this set came before Counterparts, which contained the fantastic track Nobody’s Hero, which I’d include on any Hits set by this band. The more recent Gold set omitted it, I noticed – idiots.

Yes, I’m a fan. No, I’m not overstating how great this band is. This is a gem. Own it.
 

Track Listing:
Disc One
01 Finding My Way
02 Working Man
03 Fly By Night
04 Anthem
05 Bastille Day
06 Lakeside Park
07 2112 (a) Overture
08 2112 (b) The Temples Of Syrinx
09 What You’re Doing (live)
10 A Farewell To Kings
11 Closer To The Heart
12 The Trees
13 La Villa Strangiato
14 Freewill
15 The Spirit Of Radio

Disc Two
01 Tom Sawyer
02 Red Barchetta
03 Limelight
04 A Passage To Bangkok (live)
05 Subdivisions
06 New World Man
07 Distant Early Warning
08 Red Sector A
09 The Big Money
10 Manhattan Project
11 Force Ten
12 Time Stand Still
13 Mystic Rhythms (live)
14 Show Don’t Tell

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