Friday, April 19, 2019

Rush 15: A Show Of Hands

Right on schedule, another set of four Rush albums was followed by a double live album. A Show Of Hands spotlit their most recent tour promoting their most recent album, with a couple of recordings from the previous tour to fill it out. With the exception of “Witch Hunt” and the closing “Closer To The Heart”, all the songs come from those last four albums, so nobody can really complain about repeats.
The band prided themselves on perfectly replicating their records onstage, so there’s not much difference outside a few vocal embellishments and the occasional intro. We can marvel at Geddy Lee’s ability to play bass and sing at the same time, for instance, on “Turn The Page”. Technology allowed them to play the orchestral accompaniment to “Marathon”, as well as import the voice of Aimee Mann for “Time Stand Still”. It’s also possible to enjoy the band’s unique sense of humor, beginning with the Three Stooges theme that opens the album, and Neil Peart’s four-minute drum solo, cheekily titled “The Rhythm Method”. (Keen-ears listeners will recognize some patterns carried over from “YYZ”, but those are forgotten once he starts hitting the MIDI pads.)
As the CD had become standard, A Show Of Hands was the first Rush live album that didn’t have to leave off a track that wouldn’t fit on a shiny silver disc. Of course, the LP and cassette ran the same length anyway, and diehard fans would happily pony up the cash for the companion videotape, which included songs not on the album while omitting some that were.

Rush A Show Of Hands (1989)—3

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