Yes, it is not the best of recordings. And: yes, it is not the best of their shows. BUT: It was the one show of Rush that – when having been confronted with them by my brother – left a scar in my striving. No – not to play guitar or keyboard the way Alex Lifeson or Geddy Lee do it. That would’ve been lightyears out of reach for me. The vow I – no: we! my brother and me – made when having seen this was: Once in a lifetime we WILL see that band live on stage.
Which was a pretty difficult thing to accomplish as the closest they normally get to Vienna is as far as Hamburg or Berlin. So, when eventually they were announced for London Wembley in October 2007 we had to be stupid enough to book a mediocre expensive flight and hugely expensive concert tickets for that once in a lifetime experience – and it was worth every single cent! Oh! Yes!
What you need to know before listening:
- Geddy Lee plays bass, bass pedal, keyboard and sings (and the amps are always some kind of weird specially manufactured shape – like e.g. washing machines on some later tour).
- Alex Lifeson plays all guitars (and normally these days has an armada of pet animals on stage in front of him).
- The two write the songs.
- I adore a few – only very few – drummers; and Neil Peart is one of them.
- Neil’s drumset is always especially manufactured for the respective tour; it’s full circle and has all kinds of sample pads included – and he’s the only drummer in the world, I can listen to in a full-length drum solo (OK – except for Ginger Baker’s Cream and Blind Faith stuff, I think ;)).
- Neil writes awesome progrock-kind-of lyrics.
- What you hear is what the 3 guys play live. No joke. No tricks. No backing tracks or overdubs.
- The 3 are friends. They still are. Since 1969.
And now: Raising the curtain for “A Show of Hands”, Birmingham, 1988 (the quality is pretty awkward, but this was the only version acceptably in sync):