Saturday, February 5, 2011

Review: "All The World's A Stage"

“I hope they play Bangkok.” *pause* “Nah, they never play Bangkok.” - Jerry Stiller

The first of many live albums for Rush, All the World's A Stage was recorded while they were on their tour promoting 2112.  This would begin the tradition of releasing a live album after four studio albums, a tradition that would last until the early 2000's.  The cover, with an empty stage set, emphasizes a less obvious tradition, that of the band members never actually showing up on the album covers. 

The song selection is pretty even split between Rush, Fly By Night, and 2112 (including a slightly cut version of '2112' coming in at under 16 minutes), with a couple of songs from Caress Of Steel also thrown in.  It's a pretty hard-and-heavy set, with not a lot of slower and/or quieter pieces included.  It's interesting to see, from a historical perspective, which songs the band considered to be their standards in those early days before they were to achieve greater popularity.

The production isn't as smooth as later live albums would be, but there's a lot of energy here, and that makes up for a lotYou can see how far the group has progressed musically when hearing some of the early songs from the first album being played alongside their then-recent stuff (it also makes abundantly clear how much the drumming had improved with Peart sitting behind the drum kit).  If you want to try a sampling of the band's early years, you could do worse than this album.


  1. Jerry Stiller is a Rush fan?

    And did they, in fact, play Bangkok?

  2. Jerry Stiller is a Rush fan?

    At the beginning of the shows for the 30th anniversary tour, it starts with a video of Stiller waking up from a weird Rush-induced dream, hoping he hasn't missed the show. At one point he says the above-quoted words.

    And did they, in fact, play Bangkok?

    Not on ATWAS.