Along with Iron Maiden's `Live After Death', `Exit ... Stage Left' is one of the best live albums in *any* genre, and it's obvious to anyone with ears that Rush were on a distinct high when this album was released.
Many, including the band themselves, have stated that the album was overproduced but in my opinion the standard of the musicianship is second to none (indeed, Geddy Lee's four-string antics inspired me to learn to play bass in my teens) and the sheer energy of the performances far outweigh the slightly OTT production, and it's a lot better than the rather insipid `Show of Hands'.
There's very little filler here; a superb rendition of YYZ (complete with Peart drum solo), an absolutely thumping version of `The Trees' and, for me, the high point is the live version of 'La Villa Strangiato' right at the end which just oozes quality and boots the studio version on Hemispheres into low-Earth orbit - the live version showcases three exceptional musicians at their very best, and the album is worth the money for that track alone.
Downsides? Just two - `Spirit of Radio' and `Closer to the Heart'. Live favourites certainly, but I've never been keen on either track. Having said that, `Closer to the Heart' is worth listening to for the Glaswegian chorus ...
Most Rush fans will already own this album, but if you're wondering what all the fuss is about, it's a good enough place to start.