Ranking The Rush Live Albums
Not on this list: Grace Under Pressure (1984) - Technically never released as a tour album until Replay X3 (2006). But it does have a great version of The Weapon.
6) All The Worlds A Stage (1976) - 2112 Tour
The first live album by Rush, and it kind of showed. Neil had to take off his bass drum heads in order to get mikes near them and there was an excessive amounts of feedback. Some good tunes though.
5) A Show Of Hands (1989) - Hold Your Fire Tour
This is ranked kind of low due to crappy sound transfer to the video. Also, Subdivisions was pretty weak. This does introduce the longer version of Closer To The Heart and has a strong drum solo.
4) Different Stages (1998) - Test For Echo Tour
Nice two-disc deal which included 2112 in it's entirety. Gets points off for the drumming. During this time Neil screwed around with his drumming style using a traditional grip, ditching his double bass and condensing his kit a tad.
Got to see this tour twice. Actually witnessed the first major fuck up of a Rush show, Neil's triggers kept fucking up resulting in numerous glares at his engineer and Alex constantly cracking up. The next time I saw them (in Indy) I got front row center tickets, so close I could see Geddy's neck waddle and it was freakin' awesome. Great live album, Subdivisions is spectacular as is Between The Wheels.
2) Exit.....Stage Right (1981) - Moving Pictures Tour
I always have a soft spot for this one. The sound is awesome, the drum solo is great. The Trees and La Villa Strangiato stand out on this one.
1) Rush In Rio (2003) - Vapor Trails Tour
Easily my favourite live album just because of how loose the guys were. The drumming was great as was the drum solo, and the crowd (over 60,000 strong) was raucous. They actually sang along to an instrumental. I also have sentimental reasons for loving this tour and live album. This was me and my future wife's first Rush concert. We have been dating maybe a month. After the show she asked me,
"Is he (Neil) the best drummer ever?"
I knew it was meant to be.