Spirit Of The Airwaves
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Spirit of the Airwaves (Live)
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This outstanding live broadcast captures a superb gig by Rush during the band s extensive Permanent Waves tour in 1980 at St. Louis Kiel Auditorium - the Permanent Waves album the group were promoting having been released on 1st January that year. The tour began on 12th January in Michigan, took in some Canadian dates and eventually wound up back in New York on the 23rd of May, before they headed overseas to perform a further 18 dates in the UK during June. At this stage, Rush were at a highpoint in their lengthy career. Since forming in Willowdale, Toronto twelve years earlier, Rush had released seven albums to increasing acclaim and sales. The band s line-up had been rock solid since drummer, percussionist and lyricist Neil Peart had completed the trio format with Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson shortly after the recording of the group s eponymously titled debut in 1974. Onstage Neil has always been a showman, inspired by flamboyant sticksmen Keith Moon, John Bonham and Ginger Baker. Initially the band was clearly influenced by British hard rock and heavy Blues groups, particularly Cream and Led Zeppelin - indeed Geddy Lee s vocal style has often been compared that of Robert Plant. Three tracks from the Rush album are included as part of this broadcast: Working Man, In The Mood, and just a snippet of Finding My Way. Neil Peart s recording debut with Rush was on their sophomore album Fly by Night released in February 1975. In addition to his magisterial rhythmic skills, Peart also assumed much of the responsibility for writing lyrics from a grateful Geddy Lee. The more complex arrangement and episodic structure of By-Tor and the Snow Dog was an excellent illustration of the way the band would develop as it highlighted Peart s favoured themes of fantasy and sci-fi. Beneath, Between, Behind and Anthem also represent their second record in this performance. Undoubtedly Peart influenced the band s shift towards a more Progressive rock orientation which was more fully reflected on Rush s next collection of songs, Caress of Steel , released just seven months after Fly By Night . Eschewing the lengthy pieces The Necromancer and The Fountain of Lamneth, which occupied all 20 minutes of side two of the album, only the short, snappy and Zeppelinesque Bastille Day was performed during this show. 1976 s 2112 was Rush s breakthrough album and their first to enter the Billboard Top 100 (it peaked at 61). It went on, however, to become a platinum seller. The whole of Side One of the album is a multi-faceted concept piece based on Anthem , a futuristic novella by Russian-born American author Ayn Rand (first published in England in 1938) - and all bar the short Oracle: The Dream is played during the first section of this concert. Representing 1977 s A Farewell to Kings is that album s magnum opus, Xanadu, whilst La Villa Strangiato is drawn from the following year s Hemispheres . It is another complex piece. Geddy Lee: We spent more time recording Strangiato than the entire Fly by Night album. It was our first piece without any vocals at all. So each section had to stand up with a theme and musical structure of its own. Finally, Rush s then-current album, Permanent Waves contributes The Spirit of Radio and Natural Science. The former was something of a departure for the band as it utilises a reggae style, which was explored further on later albums Moving Pictures (1981) and Signals (1982). A three-minute edit of the track reached number 13 on the UK singles chart and remains a strong fan-favourite. Natural Science is more traditional Rush fare, with multiple movements, and has proved a hugely popular live number ever since.
Top customer reviews
How can you go wrong when it has,2112/By Tor & The Snow Dog/Xanadu and disc closer La Villa Strangiata ?,throw in a excellent medley,superb drum solo and a couple of embryonic versions of 'Spirit of the Radio' and 'Natural Science' not forgetting a tight little 'Beneath,Between,Behind.
As i said sound quality is really good, marvel at Alex and Geddy's playing,revel in Neil's drumming,rolling round the kit like there's no tomorrow and smile at Geddy's helium filled yelps and screams as he tries to get all the words in..
This is a value for money release,no doubt it wont be official,but like a slew of other recent radio releases,it will be a copyright issue,its up to you if you wish to buy,hopefully Rush and all these other bands,will get there finger out and start issuing archive live releases,we know they have them.
One criticism 1:19 into Working man is a glitch bit like a 'jump' that you could get on vinyl this could have been fixed and messes up this song. It isn't my pressing the same flaw is present in the Spotify recording. Perhaps some of the other reviews were right that this was knocked off one the limited run records produced for publicity at the time rather than from the master tapes.
The rest is quite brilliant buy it.
1) The 'Spririt of the Airwaves' CD has the date as Feb 13th, 1908, while my CD boot says February 14th. From a trusted source, they played Kiel Auditorium Feb 11th - 13th, so I suspect the SotA disc is correct.
2) The song order is different between the two CDs. My CD bootleg has:
The Spirit of Radio
Beneath, Between, Behind
By Tor & the Snow Dog
[ and so forth ]
Note that TSoR, NS and BB&B follow 2112 on the boot, but BT&SD and X follow it on this CD. I wonder which is correct?
On my CD boot, 'Anthem' is not listed, but is included in the FMW track. Also, the CD boot has the 2112 suite as one song track, while the SotA breaks the pieces out into separate song tracks.
All in all, a decent disc, with not bad packaging (there's actually some liner notes with a general history of the band & albums, but nothing not already known by everyone. Get it if you're a completist ...
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