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All The World's A Stage

Classic Rock, Hard Rock & Metal, and Rock album by Rush

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This One Sets The Stage For What's To Come

  • Jul 12, 2008
  • by
Pros: Great music and a great snapshot of a great band!

Cons: I had to hide the album with the pentagram from my mother.

The Bottom Line: Buy it without question. A great band in a great period of their history.

As a kid, I grew up in a town that was right across the river from Sarnia, Canada. Occasionally we would go over there to this park that had a band shell where many new bands would come play for free.

I can remember going there one time and hearing this band who had a guitar player that was far and away the best I had ever heard in this setting. He would make that axe sound as if there were three guitars playing up there. Not only that fact, but there was also a singer who had a voice that is very hard to describe. Kind of like the chipmunk's on dope but totally mesmerizing just the same. I took notice of these guys and it was about six months later that the song "Working Man" started to be heard on the local radio station.

I grew up with this band and they will always hold a special spot for me as one of the bands that I became familiar with before they made it big.

From the opening moments of "Bastille Day" it becomes apparent to the ear that we are hearing something special. This is a great band on the rise. Still hungry and hitting on all cylinders. Alex Lifeson rips through this with guitar blazing as with most of this offering. Geddy Lee is in fine voice. Young and very dynamic. This is a great kick off for a live album and sets a tone that these guys are here to rock your butt's off!!

Geddy then introduces the next song "Anthem." The crisp playing of Lifeson makes you wonder how one guy can get that type of sound out of a single six string. Amazing work that is a continuing theme throughout this terrific slice of early Rush at their best.

Most rock afficianados are familiar with the song "Fly By Night." Here they play a masterful rendition and then segue it into the song "In The Mood." These are both straight ahead rockers that really show off their hard rock side that was the staple before the arrival of Neil Peart who became their main songwriter and took them down the path toward epic rock and roll/sci-fi stories of future releases.

"Something For Nothing" follows and is the first song they play from the newly released album 2112. This song is as heavy as any piece that Rush has done. Well worth a few listens just to hear how really metal these guys are. Definitely a crunching good time.

The band next shows off their blending of hard and melodic with the terrific "Lakeside Park." You can just imagine a summer day at the park as you glide along with Lifeson's guitar on this wonderful piece. A great intro for what is to come.

The closing strands of the last song slowly build into the opening of the epic "2112." This tale of a future without music is one of the classic pieces of this or any era. The magical work of Lifeson makes this one of the truly historic guitar pieces of modern rock. The many styles used to create the landscape for the tale told by Peart's lyrics and Geddy's vocals is as perfect a blend of words and music as you will ever hear. I keep waiting for the movie version of this tale! Many called this an overblown piece of crap but this has been the way with Rush from the very beginning. It took nearly 30 years for the critics to finally realize what we have known from the very start. This is a band that has always been about 2 and 1/2 steps ahead of the curve! This is must listening for all that want to know the origins of progressive rock and roll.

You would think that these guys would slow it down a bit after the intensity of the last song, but no; they tear into another extended conceptual piece from a little earlier in their career. "By-tor and the Snow Dog" is another grand sci-fi tale from their Fly By Night album. Here Lifeson uses his available arsenal of guitar effects to maximum potential. Although not on the level of 2112, this is a strong and really exciting piece from the early stages of a band that knew where they were going and finding their own path to get there. Here the seeds are sown for the next 30 years.

"In The End" is just a very cool song. Starting out very melodic with Geddy being backed by this great riff by Lifeson. This same melodic riff becomes a foot stomping anthem when Lifeson hits the distortion pedal and finds the 11 setting on the volume control. Guitar players take special notice of how it sounds like at least 2 and sometimes 3 guitars are playing this piece. As good as it can get. This is also a great example of the changes between clean and distorted guitar tone as Alex keeps changing back and forth to emphasize each stage of the song. Great work from a great band and one of my favorite pieces they do.

Rush returns to their first album and the crunching hard rock roots with their first hit "Working Man." As I said before, I remember hearing this song come out on our local radio and every time I hear it I still think about the time I was sitting in front of that band shell with about 200 other people, watching them play this song. I knew then that I would be buying their records for sometime to come but I never expected it to be for the next 30 years so far! If we are lucky maybe we can get another 30 or so.

The band segues the last song into the first song off their first album "Finding My Way." This is a straight ahead rock and roller that could just as easily been a radio staple as so much of the Rush catalog has become through the years. This version works very well as it reverts back to "Working Man" before they turn it over to "The Professor" (Neil Peart) to show off his talent behind the drums. There is a reason that this guy is always at the top of the list of rock drummers and even here in the early days it is readily apparent the awesome talent that he has. He is not only a songwriter extraordinaire, he is the backbone of the band. This is not an easy task for a three piece unit.

The band returns for an encore with the foot stomping, good time rock and roller, "What You're Doing." This definitely leaves you wanting more as they sound as if they are just getting warmed up as apposed to ending the show. The guitar solo in this piece is extraordinary; but Lifeson does so many this one might just get lost in the shuffle. The song just makes me want to pump the fist and scream...MORE!!! MORE!!!!

If you want to hear a great example of the roots of the progressive metal movement, this is a must listen. It is Rush on the verge of becoming superstars and they are at their raw best. A great mix of tunes that will leave you feeling great. As a live album, it is still one of the strongest. That is, along with Different Stages, Live In Rio, R30...etc... I guess you cannot go wrong no matter what you chose but give this early example a listen. It is great fun and takes you back to a much simpler time when rock and roll was just that....ROCK AND ROLL!!!!


Great Music to Play While: Driving

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More All The World's A Stage reviews
review by . April 16, 2003
posted in Music Matters
Captures the band at their best (at least from the early days). The sound is raw and unpolished, but not their musicianship, which is out-of-this-world. You really get the feeling you're right there in the concert hall with them. Just three guys tearing up their instruments. Virtually no keyboard, no overdubbing, just their great early songs.Highlights include BASTILLE DAY and LAKESIDE PARK from CARESS OF STEEL, generally considered their worst album, but these two songs rock. ANTHEM is great, and …
review by . June 04, 2001
Wow...I've never heard a live recording where the crowd whistles so much. Anyway, that's not important. Rush had just released their pivotal power-prog release 2112, which featured the phenomenal side-long title track based on the writings of Ayn Rand. And the highlight of this live release is, in my opinion, an awesomely energetic performance of that epic. Some parts are cut out, reducing the song to 16 minutes, but it still rocks, man. At this stage in their career, Rush was rockin' hard, evident …
About the reviewer
Scott ()
Ranked #939
I am an avid music buff and write reviews for many sites. I have managed bands and frequent concerts in Michigan and photograph them. If it is good music, I will be there!
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Label: Island, Mercury
Artist: Rush
Release Date: July 1, 1997

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