Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Not Another Rush Post - Best/Worst Live Songs

I can't help myself. I was horrifically bored the other night at work and decided to see what was up with our boys from Toronto. Apparently Rush will be adding more tour dates to their Snakes and Arrows tour which will run through August of 2008. The reasons they are doing this could be because:

1) They are paying for retirement.
2) They are trying to keep up a ridiculous lifestyle that many celebrities have.
3) Are into self abuse or..
4) Are actually enjoying playing and are itching to try out new material for their next studio album.

Hopefully it's reason #4, but who knows? They haven't said where the added dates will be but one things for sure if it's anywhere near Indy (or Virginia where my bro lives) I will be there post haste with my throwback Signals shirt and my lighter. Keep your fingers crossed. Anyways, I was thinking of the best songs Rush play live, so much so that it out performs the studio version, and I was also thinking of the songs that just don't do it for me live.

"I'd Rather Listen To The Live Version" Songs

Song: The Weapon
Best Live Version: Grace Under Pressure Live
This only came after I purchased Replay X3. I really love the studio version (still do) but I would rather listen to this live version now. The DVDs come with the audio disk to the Grace Under Pressure tour. The song is great live but the best part is that it is introduced by Count Floyd, that never gets old.

Song: The Trees
Best Live Version:Exit....Stage Left
Broons Bane, Alex's little ditty, is set up like a little intro to The Trees which adds a lot to the song. I love this version a lot. I don't know who the sound engineer was for this tour but they did a bang up job.

Song: Subdivisions
Best Live Version: R30 Tour
All live versions before this were not that great, especially when you had Alex spitting out "Subdivisions" during the chorus. The R30 version is more sonic, has a great sound, and it doesn't have Alex spitting anything. When they were here for the R30 tour my lovely wife and I had front row center seats. I ran out of beer and had to refill, during that time I missed this song. I still kick myself because it sounded great.

Song: By Tor and the Snow Dog
Best Live Version: Rush In Rio
You can't help the fact that this song was made in the 70's which really adds to the cheese factor of the studio version. But the Rio version is just too good especially when you watch the video of a cartoon Alex and Geddy running around. They actually did include this song in the All The Worlds A Stage, which wasn't bad, but the Rush In Rio version is fantastic. When I saw Rush in Virgina for the R30 tour during the solo of this song a bored Alex went behind Geddy and started barking. Cracked me up.

Song: Closer To The Heart
Best Live Version: Different Stages
Even though A Show Of Hands has a great version Different Stages is definitely superior. They started doing the extended ending for the Hold Your Fire tour, which really adds a lot to the song.

Song: YYZ
Best Live Version: Rush In Rio
The Studio version is fantastic but when you have 40,000 people singing, yes singing along to an instrumental you get goose bumps.

Song: Spirit Of Radio
Best Live Version: R30 Tour
This song was made for the stage, I've never heard a bad live version. But now I have Meat Wad's (Aqua Teen Hunger Force) voice in my head when Geddy sings "Salesmen!!!!" You have to see the show to get it.

Song: The Analog Kid
Best Live Version: Different Stages
I was pleasantly surprised when Rush finally brought this little gem out. I have no idea whether or not they ever played this live before the Test For Echo tour, but I'm guessing no.

Song: Red Sector A
Best Live Version: Rush In Rio
During Rush's art rock/synth days of the 80's Alex kind of blended in and was not part of the forefront as he was throughout the 70's and early 80's. This song was testament to that. This version is so good because they pick up the tempo and Alex has more of a presence.

Song: Ghost Rider
Best Live Version: Rush In Rio
Has anybody seen the movie Ghost Rider? It sucks complete balls. What makes it worse is the fact that I'm a huge fan of the comic. Thanks Hollywood for continuously fucking up my childhood comics. And thank you Nicholas Cage for selling out so much you only have a vague recollection of Raising Arizona. Oh, and I just like this song more live.

Song: Working Man
Best Live Version: All The World's A Stage
John Rustey was the drummer for the studio version, which was not great. Neil adding his own little flare helped this a lot, to the point of me actually liking it.

Song: Between The Wheels
Best Live Version: R30 Tour
I liked the studio version, but this version was just too damn good.

Song: Xanadu
Best Live Version: Exit....Stage Left
Again, the sound engineer deserves a lot of credit for this version being so damn good.

Song: 2112
Best Live Version: Different Stages
At the time (1997) it had been 20 years since 2112 came out. To celebrate Rush played 2112 in its entirety, I'm glad they did. Even though I still listen to the studio version from time to time I just cozy up to this version better.

Song: Bravado
Best Live Version: Rush In Rio
The extended ending of the live versions help a lot, plus the song feels a lot looser than the studio version. The Different Stages version was good but I really liked Rush In Rio just for the fact that I have never seen (or heard) Rush play better.

Song: What Your Doing
Best Live Version: All The World's a Stage
My wife bought me the All The World's a Stage long sleeve T-shirt last year, which I really like (not more than Signals throwback shirt mind you). One of my friends from school saw it and remarked:

"Man, that's when I loved Rush, back when their hair was down to their asses and they were rocking out."

I couldn't argue with that.

Song: Freewill
Best Live Version: Rush In Rio
Rush really opens up when they play this song live, it's really fun to watch and listen especially this version, again the crowd brings it, swaying and chanting during the solo. Fantastic.

Maybe They Shouldn't Have Attempted This Live

Song: Show Don't Tell
Version: Different Stages
Just didn't work.

"I Just Like The Studio Version" Songs

The following songs that were played live just didn't work for one reason or another. But the biggest reason would be because of the difficulty replicating an element that was best suited for the studio.

Mystic Rhythms
Turn The Page
Time Stand Still
Force Ten (except for the R30 version, which was pretty decent).
Red Barchetta (Just because Moving Pictures was an outstanding studio album).
Tom Sawyer (Ditto)
The Pass

Why Didn't they Ever Play These Live?

These songs would seem to me that they would be kick ass live. For some unknown reason they never did, or they did and I never got to witness it.

Lock and Key
Everyday Glory
Emotion Detector
The Camera Eye (I know, it last 10 minutes).
High Water
Best I Can
The Fountain of Lamneth (just kidding)
Cut To The Chase
Digital Man

Alright, enough Rush geekdom.....

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