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A Show of Hands

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★★★★☆
(32 Reviews)

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  • The cycle of four studio recordings, followed by a live issue continues with this third live set by Rush, from 1989. Tracks are taken primarily from the Power Windows tour of ‘86 and Hold Your Fire of ‘88 and also includes cuts from Signals and Grace Under Pressure.I like this live set. I think it’s a good representation of the eighties period Rush disks, and the performances here bring out some of the energy lacking in the over-produced, sterile-sounding studio versions. “Subdivisions” really comes alive with great guitar and drums, as does “Mystic Rhythms.” “Turn the Page” has a positive vibe often missing in rock. I also like the inclusion of “Witch Hunt” here, as well as “Closer to the Heart” with the added instrumental jam by the band. Of the three musicians, I think Alex Lifeson’s guitar work shimmers with more energy than the studio versions.Compared to their other live releases, All The World’s a Stage, Exit…Stage Left, and Different Stages, this set still has an over-produced feel to it. Heavy on special effects and augmented things like a recorded version of Aimee Mann’s voice on “Time Stand Still” rather than the real thing. When I listen to a live set, I want surprises, not exact recreations of the studio cuts. Yes, there are nuances here, but they are subtle textural things.Still, this is a group of three guys who, to the best of my knowledge, do not use outside musicians to augment their sound, something a lot of larger bands do for their shows. And, Geddy Lee often plays bass and keyboards at the same time, while singing too!

    Posted on February 17, 2010