Rush - All The World's A Stage
Having said that, there are flaws - they should have put the whole of "2112" on here. They should not have truncated "By-Tor and the Snow Dog" either. Those errors, no doubt done as an attempt to get as many of the band's catalogue to date on the album were the biggest flaws on the album. I saw Rush around this time at the Colston Hall in Bristol and have some regret for those those omissions. They are what drags the album ratings down.
Also, the band appear to have left out everything from Caress of Steel with the exception of "Bastille Day" and "Lakeside Park". I would definitely have preferred to see "The Necromancer" included in the line-up. I regard that album as being severely under-estimated, though I know I am in a small minority on that opinion. But I guess there are always omissions (according to someone) from every live album.
Doing a "Greatest Hits Live" album (which is essentially what this is) was a pretty smart move for a band at Rush's stage of development. They were consolidating their fan base and were on the verge of the success which would catapult them into one of Canada's most widely sold acts, a status which has persisted to this day. To achieve that status at the time when punk was ripping apart the credibility of many established "rock" acts of the era - bands with a much longer standing than Rush - was some achievement.
After this album, the band's style would change, somewhat for the worse in the long term in my opinion. This marked, as the band say of the liner notes, the end of the first phase of Rush. Though it was never on a par with some of the great rock live albums of the seventies, such as the incomparable Made in Japan, it was nonetheless an essential live album of the era. It was a valiant attempt to capture the band at a critical moment in their musical development and worth a purchase on the basis of that. Whether this is the best live Rush album or not, I am not in a position to say as this is the only one I have ever heard.
The trouble was with Rush that after this they became too prog rock for my taste. The next album was probably the highlight, then it slipped into ever more prog and I went off the band as they failed to compete with the allure of post punk in the eighties. Still, for the mid seventies, this was as good as it was ever going to get live for one of the more innovative acts of the rock era.
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