Different Stages – Live


This is a plethora of live music on three discs, from one of my most favorite bands, Rush, that’s renowned for its excellence in performance and production in live shows. Rush, a three-piece band, also popular for its cohesiveness among the band-members and its ability to carry on a show fluidly as well as methodically, has captured the true essence of live shows in these three discs. The first two discs carry recordings from their two latest tours, Counterparts and Test For Echo , and the third disc is from a show in Hammersmith Odeon, London in 1978. If you should listen to the Odeon show first, and then to the other two discs, you would notice changes in style (the band sounds raw and it’s exploding with energy in the Seventies, whereas it has a weathered tone with a changed pace in the last two tours), but you would also take note of the common denominator, the band’s spirit, that is, which has lived on through these differences for more than two decades.

The tracks are ordered to reflect setlists from “An Evening With Rush,” the supporting tour for Test For Echo , starting with “Dreamline” and closing with “YYZ”, including the epic “2112” and not so commonly played live “Natural Science.” Of course, staples like “The Spirit of Radio,” “Tom Sawyer,” and “Closer to the Heart” have not been missed out. (What’s different about this version of “Closer” is its improvised jam session that lasts two or so minutes). Check out “Driven” for its killer bass solo from Geddy Lee, and “The Rhythm Method,” a drum solo by His Almighty Neil Peart. To me, listening to this set was reliving my “experience” at the Rush show in West Palm Beach more than two years ago.

As usual, Rush’s special way of humour is obvious in Different Stages . The cover for the Odeon show CD has a comical scene involving Ged, Alex, and Neil, and the inside-sleeve notes has pictures of this trio acting goofy and “trying” to be funny! Perhaps, it just goes to show how much the band loves touring and playing live, despite the seriousness (unknown among bands of this decade) involved in their music and style.

Atlantic Records, 75 Rockefeller Plaza, Second Floor, New York, NY 10019

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