From Rush to R30 – A listening retrospective: Exit Stage Left

Fresh off their success of Moving Pictures, Rush released their second live album entitled “Exit Stage Left“. Out of the live albums Rush released early on, this is my favorite, as it represents a classic point in their careers. The songs on this album are stellar, and some more of the classic “Rush Show” are in place on this album. The drum solo for me is the basis of the drum solo I love on “A Show of Hands”. The album starts up with “The Spirit of Radio” which is my most favorite Rush song of all time, then eases it’s way into “Red Barchetta” and “YYZ”. From there, it meanders through the earlier albums with “A Passage to Bankok” (which was left off of a previous release of this album for some inexplicable reason), “Closer to the Heart” (thankfully the shortened version), “Beneath, Between, and Behind”, and “Jacob’s Ladder”. A quick interlude with the acoustic guitar piece named for Terry Brown, “Broon’s Bane” seamlessly flows into “The Trees”, then dips back in time to the trippy “Xanadu”, followed by the still-crowd-favorite: “Freewill”. Finishing off the disc are the tracks “Tom Sawyer”, and “La Villa Strangiato”.

All in all, “Exit, Stage Left” is a satisfying live album that highlights some of the best songs of Rush’s early career in a nice neat package. It’s one of the first live albums I’ve picked up whenever I need a live Rush fix for quite some time, and will likely be one of the albums I pick up for some time to come.

2 Comments

  1. Stephen says:

    There’s something about live albums that is hard to put your finger on. Doesn’t matter what band or artist. You’d expect that the audience would be an unwanted distraction. Well, maybe for classical music.

  2. craig says:

    We’ll get to the audience being a distraction in a bit. That’s one of the big problems I have with the Rush in Rio DVDs: too much emphasis on the audience singing along and not enough on the band.