This album was recorded on the Moving Pictures tour in 1981, and released by Anthem Records.
Just a brief note, before I get started with the review. This was the album that really got me into Rush. Before I had listened to this album, I knew Rush existed, but I never really paid a whole lot of attention to the band. Once I actually took the time, however, to sit down and listen to the album, I began really getting into Rush.
Taken from the liner notes:
"A Passage To Bangkok’ has been omitted in order to release ‘Exit…Stage Left’ as a single compact disc.
Now, I suppose, on with the review.
1. Spirit Of Radio
One of Rush’s better known songs, this is one of my favorite live performances of the song. It’s pretty tight and well put together, and overall, IMO sounds pretty good. Because I’ve heard this song so many times, It’s probably one of my least favorite Rush songs now, but I have to say that it’s very well done.
2. Red Barchetta
“This is a song about a car, this is called Red Barchetta.”
Geddy Lee introduces one of my favorite Rush songs. The song is indeed about a car, and, as in the studio version, you really get the feel of a car chase through effects and sounds produced by the band onstage. Again, this song is very tight and well done live.
A favourite of any Rush fan, YYZ is a classic instrumental piece that was released on Moving Pictures. The song showcases the talent of all three musicians in the band, and in this version, especially Neil Peart. In the middle of the song he goes into a drum solo, which, compared to what he does these days, is rather short, but overall still pretty awesome, IMO.
4. Closer To The Heart
It seems that anywhere I go, if I talk about Rush to anyone who doesn’t know who Rush is, the only song they will have ever heard is Closer To The Heart. It was their first single. The Glaswegian Chorus sings backup vocals in this version, and I really like the effect that it gives. Though it’s a fairly short song, compared to some of the songs Rush does, it is a truly beloved song by many Rush fans.
5. Beneath, Between and Behind
Closer To The Heart flows directly into Beneath, Between and Behind. This song is short and fast. It’s a pretty good song, not much of a breakdown or anything, it remains fairly heavy throughout. That being said, I think it’s one of the weaker songs on the album.
6. Jacob’s Ladder
The track starts out with Alex and Neil playing what sounds like it could fit into a 1950’s ballad, and Geddy introduces the song. The song starts with what I’d say is a marching beat, with Geddy singing a little bit over it, and then it goes into some pretty heavy instrumental parts. Eventually they fade into a synth part that is accompanied only by chimes and the like, by Neil, and the song finishes on another heavy note. It’s overall a pretty heavy song, something that I personally would describe as “pretty prog rock,” for lack of a better term or description. At a younger age, I didn’t like this song a whole lot, but as I’ve grown to appreciate the musicianship more and more, I’ve come to enjoy it a fair bit.
7. Broon’s Bane
Broon’s Bane is essentially just an intro to The Trees, it’s just Alex playing on his classical guitar. Even though it is just a short piece, I absolutely love it, for reasons I can’t really explain. I used to listen to it over and over again.
5/5 (even though it doesn’t really need a rating)
8. The Trees
I used to listen to this song and wonder what Neil was thinking when he wrote the lyrics, I got, and still do get a great kick out of the lyrics. They seem pretty humorous to me, although I imagine Neil didn’t intend them to be interpreted that way. But in the grand scheme of things, it is a great song, a Rush classic.
Xanadu is an absolutely amazing song, definitely up there as one of my favorite Rush songs. It’s another song that I would describe as “pretty prog rock,” again, for lack of a better term. It takes a little while to get going, but once it does, this song really rocks. To me, the 12 minute duration of the song goes by way too fast. The live performance is really quite good, IMO. Xanadu is definitely a classic.
Freewill is another of my favorite Rush songs. I got one of my favorite quotes from the song, actually.
“If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”
The song goes into what sounds like a big jam, but is actually part of the song. It’s a big guitar solo, with Geddy going all out on his bass underneath. It’s nearly impossible not to love it, and you hear the crowd cheering as they finish it and go back into the verse riff. It’s another classic.
11. Tom Sawyer
Tom Sawyer is another of Rush’s best known songs, one of their singles. It was released on Moving Pictures. Again, because I’ve heard it so many times, it’s become one of my least favorite Rush songs, which isn’t to say that I don’t like it, or that it’s a bad song. Many people could probably tell you that Tom Sawyer is their favorite Rush song. In fact, it is the theme of MacGyver in Brazil.
12. La Villa Strangiato
La Villa Strangiato is right up there with Xanadu as one of my favorite Rush songs. The version they did in 1981 is certainly a lot different than the one they do now. They recreated a lot of the synth that is on the studio version, which they usually leave out now. The song, again, showcases the talent of all three members of Rush. Essentially an instrumental, Geddy threw in some lyrics. Quoted from the Liner notes:
We also should include a (loose) translation for the new lyrics to the Danforth and Pape section of La Villa Strangiato. "Patty-cake, patty-cake/ Mother’s going to buy you shoes/ Father’s going to buy you socks/ Baby’s going to have red cheeks." Enough said.
I’d say this likely one of my Top 5 favourite albums of all time, and I’d recommend it to pretty much anyone.