By-Tor and the Snow Dog
OK, so from a technical point of view, how do they do all those effects? At times it sounds like there are about 8 people up on that stage, and this all sounds pretty sophisticated for 1976. I guess it’s actually normal for that time – this is the era of Prog, after all, but it still sounds pretty accomplished from here. The live version of this is just as riveting as the original, and appears to have even more drums on it, if such a thing were possible.
In The End
I had actually forgotten this was on here. By now Geddy’s voice is sounding a little mellower – feeling the effects of an evening at full stretch, perhaps? The introduction is positively laid-back, and then – “One, two, buckle my shoe” – it’s on with the main event. Now, this is definitely slower than the recorded version. It sounds pretty menacing in places – and long, too. A bit of a tour de force, this – I think I prefer it to the original.
Working Man / Finding My Way
We must be nearing the end, now – round things off with a couple of old favourites which they can play in their sleep by now. Amazing to listen to the drums on this now – Neil’s playing takes this into another league – much more of a showcase for the whole band than just a guitar workout. The instrumental passage is bubbling along nicely, then falls over the edge of a cliff into ‘Finding My Way’ – neatly done, and so is the climb back up into ‘Working Man’. It all fits together really well, and just when you thought it was all over…
…”Ladies and Gentlemen, The Professor on the drumkit”. I remember the first time I heard this; I was (and remain) blown away – every band has to allow the drummer a solo, none – I mean none – of them come even close to this for musicality and sheer joy of playing. I keep expecting to hear blasts of horn, but this early version of the classic Peart solo has everything else, including the seeming ability to play four different rhythms at once. Short, sharp and to the point, this leaves us wanting more (but then, all Neil’s solos leave me wanting more…)
Thank you. Goodnight (then of course there’s an encore):
What You’re Doing
Yes, we’d like a little more, thanks – a quick blast through what now sounds like an old blues standard, and it’s all over, bar the offstage noises, which make me laugh out loud, because I’d completely forgotten about them.
That was a blast – haven’t heard it in ages, but it’s a real snapshot of the time; halfway between gigging out of the back of a van, and full-length stadium tours, the guys have all the stagecraft, and seem to be really enjoying their day jobs. Incidentally, I know it’s traditional to see this as the punctuation between phase one and phase two of the Rush career, but I tend to see Rush studio albums in groups of three, so this comes a third of the way through phase 2 for me – I can hear a difference between the ‘2112’ tracks and the others – but either way you look at it, this is a great live album – one of the best.