Rush - All the World's a Stage
On September 29, 1976, "Rush" released their debut live album "All the World's a Stage".
For us, this album is not just another "Rush" album. It's the album through which we got to know this amazing band To be precise, it's the album that takes us back in time to the exact point where we fell in love with this wonderful Canadian power trio, and it was love at first sound. Since then, more than forty years of total dedication to the band have passed and all this love eventually summarizes into one piece from the mini medley "Working Man / Finding My Way", to the moment when the cousin from America arrived with a cassette tape that was entered an AKAI tape deck, the finger touched the play button and Neil Peart's drum solo shook the speakers.
With how many bands in your life have you fell in love with through drum solos? How many of you devoted yourself to a band without even listening to one of its songs? We are proud to say that it happened to us "big time" and that we even can pin-point this moment to the second when it all started: 9:15 minute of the "Working Man / Finding My Way" mini medley and the words of Geddy Lee: Ladies and Gentelman The Professor On the drum kit ..."
So let's tell you a little bit about this historic album (at least for us). This is Rush's first live album, which gives us a first glimpse into how this amazing band sounds live.
The decade of the 70s was the decade of live performance albums. Many artist have released a live album at that time. It was a kind of test of courage. Artists were judged on their ability to play their material live. There were also those whose performance albums upgraded their careers and those whose documented live shows led to their big breakthrough. "Deep Purple"- "Made In Japan", "UFO"- "Strangers in the Night", "Cheap Trick"- "At Budokan", "Uriah Heep"- "Live", "Led Zeppelin"- "The Song Remains The Same", "Rainbow"- "On Stage", "The Who"- "Live At Leeds", Frampton- "Frampton Comes Alive!", "Kiss"- "Alive" and more. "Rush" definitely Did not intend to be exceptional in the matter.
This album actually sums up the band's first four studio albums from its hard rock era. It was recorded during three consecutive performances to promote "2112" album on June 11-13, 1976, at the famous "Massey Hall" in Toronto, the home ground of "Rush". This album will also begin a tradition of the band summarizing every four studio albums by a live album.
The name of the album is taken from the play "As You Like It" by William Shakespeare and it definitely illustrates what is inside the cover. As for "Rush" “the whole world is on stage” and they are not going to sound any less good than they sound in the studio.
Indeed, not only does “Rush” does not sound less good than the studio albums, but on the contrary, we get an upgrade to a large portion of songs that sound bolder, rougher and even heavier than their studio versions. So true "Rush" didn't turn any 2 minute song into a 10 minute epic improvisation, as most bands did at the time, but they certainly where at the top of their game. This album best conveys how this band sounds live. It has almost no interference of mixes, production cuts and a variety of studio tricks that are common while editing a live album. It gives us the closest to how "Rush" sounds on stage, with no filters and almost no intervention.
The album maintains a high and uniform level throughout. From the opening sentence: "Would You Please Welcome Home ... Rush!" to the wow-roars of Geddy Lee and the phrase "Man Ohhh Man" that followed in the brief conversation between the band members behind the scenes and the slamming of the door at the end of the show. Anyone who has said that "Rush" is not a hard rock band, feel free to listen to this album and see this power trio that sounds like an erupting volcano.
Already at the opening of the album, with the energy bombs "Bastile Day" and "Anthem" you can hear the amazing guitar work of Alex Lifeson, which sounds heavier and precise. Alex is without a doubt the standout of this album and he leads all the songs with high hand. Listen to the riffs in the mini-medley of "Fly By Night" and "In The Mood" or his crazy solo in "By-Tor and the Snow Dog". Even calmer songs like "Lakeside Park" or "In The Mood" sound more vigil and "alive" here thanks to his incredible guitar work. Don't get us wrong, it's not that Geddy Lee or "the professor" are not doing their best here, it is just the style of songs chosen from the first four albums allows more expression for Alex.
The album also includes an abbreviated rendition of the masterpiece "2112" from which the two tracks ("Discovery" and "Oracle: The Dream") were omitted, apparently not to exceed the time quota that was then customary in double vinyl albums.
But the highlight of this album is undoubtedly the drum solo of the "Professor" Neil Peart during the mini-medley "Working Man / Finding My Way". For hours we listened to this drum solo in loops, analyzing every pass, every snare blow, every dribble and every tapping on the cowbell that was perfectly synchronized with the floor tom. Neil Peart manages to become with a drum solo that did not bore the listener even for one second. It's sweeping, it's exciting, it sounds like a song played by an entire band and not like a drum solo. Just a school for drummers.
In conclusion, "All the World's a Stage" introduces us to the immature, young and wild "Rush". Before the keyboards, before the virtuoso outburst and just before the first change of style and genre. This is an album that excellently sums up the band's hard rock era and a must-have for any "Rush" fan.