I’m starting a campaign to get Sudocrem promoted to the status of a fully recognised cream.
All The World’s A Stage is a double live album by Rush and was released in 1976. The album was recorded at Massey Hall in Toronto on June 11-13, 1976, during the band’s breakthrough 2112 tour. The title of the album alludes to William Shakespeare’s play As You Like It, which would again be referenced by Rush in the 1981 song Limelight. According Geddy Lee, the release of a live album in late 1976 “was definitely something we used to buy us more time” as Rush worked on the studio followup to their commercial breakthrough album 2112, released earlier that same year. ATWAS marks the end of the “first chapter of Rush” and would begin a trend of Rush releasing a live album after every four studio albums. This lasted until 2003, when the band released a live album and DVD of each subsequent studio album’s tour.
After Frank Zappa, Rush are probably the one band whose music I play most often, or have little snippets of their songs popping into my head for no apparent reason. Exit Stage Left (another Shakespeare reference) was the first live Rush album I heard, after getting into them around 79/80 and it took a while before I got round to buying this; I’d already bought 2112, did I really need to hear the live version of that so soon?
Well yes I did, as it so happens. The version on here is a highlight of the album as well as By-Tor And The Snow Dog. Quick aside: maybe its my age, (maybe it’s Maybelline), but I could have sworn that By-Tor was the song that had the drum solo on it and so I was happily surprised when re-listening to this that it wasn’t the case.
ATWAS was never my go to Rush live album, that was and always will be Exit Stage Left, however this is a good album, not great, but sometimes live albums are like that. I was never a huge fan of their first album so the three songs on side 4 really hold no joy for me, which is a shame as the first 3 sides are great showcases of prime early-Rush, with the highlights being the aforementioned 2112 and By-Tor as well as blistering versions of Bastille Day, Anthem and In The End.
Is it excessive? No, despite 2112 being played in it’s entirety, it’s not an excessive album. Only 3 of the 10 tracks are over 10 minutes. Would I listen to it again? Probably not. If I’m sticking some Rush on, then it’ll be the studio albums more than likely. Would I recommend it? Again, probably not. I point them to Exit Stage Left instead. Is there a drum solo? There is, whaddya expect from Rush, but it’s on side 4 so can be completely avoided.
ATWAS gets a respectable 7/10 from me. It’s a good live Rush album but nothing you really need to hear. On deck next: a band who Warren Zevon would find quite handy to have around. TTFN.