This is part of my journey through all of Rush’s many albums in the wake of our loss of Neil Peart (and, basically, our loss of Rush). My journey began here. Please join me!
All the World’s a Stage is Rush’s first live album. It was recorded at Massey Hall in Toronto on June 11-13, 1976 during their 2112 tour.
Let me start with a confession. Live albums have always annoyed me. There are always differences from the studio recordings, and I can’t reliably tap or sing along, so I usually skip them. I like seeing bands live, but the live albums I’ve tried have always aggravated me. What I’m saying is, I think this is the first time I’ve listened to one of Rush’s live albums.
I … I’m blown away. I wasn’t expecting to have anything much to say since there wouldn’t be any “new” music on this album, but there actually is. Old music modified/improved, and new solos/jams!
Just a few notes. Mostly it was just a joy to listen to:
The sounds of the crowd, at times. I couldn’t decide whether they were being shown “Clap Now!” and “Cheer Now!” signs or if the audio was just edited so that it sounded that way.
Listening to this mash-up of post-Peart and pre-Peart Rush, the difference in their sound and the content of the music is really clear. The old stuff is good and I enjoy listening to it, and the musical genius of Lifeson and Lee is still there, but without Peart it just feels a lot more ‘normal’ rock.
One complaint. Even this early? Even for the TOUR for 2112? They shorten the song and cut out my favorite parts? Most of “Discovery” (and the best part of it) is gone. The Oracle’s true dream – completely gone. I thought maybe they lose their groove if they play the slower stuff live, but they had plennnnnnty of slower, super trippy extra stuff in By-Tor and the Snow Dog. Alas!!
Mostly, listening to this live album solidified my love of the sound of some of the songs. Anthem. Something for Nothing (I love love love the fiddly guitar bit at the beginning especially). In the End (which also got a nice extra little fiddly bit … in the end).
But, holy cats. The solos I’ve missed out on! Of particular note on this album, The Professor’s drum solo! H… How? There are parts of this drum solo where it does not seem possible that one person is making all of this music, by himself.
This is their FIRST live album?! They sounded like this, this early? Rush put out a total of 11 live albums. I think I’m in for a real treat! I’m excited. Thank you for preserving this live show for posterity, guys!
I wondered, listening to the drum solo, what Peart’s drum set looked like during this tour. And I was immediately certain there would already be extensive web sites with the full history and complete detail of all Peart drum sets that ever existed, and I was right!
Friends, what did this album, or the songs on it, mean to you?