Reason #256: Exit Stage Left
Rush, being Canadians, have a fantastic sense of humo(u)r, and it’s a quality I appreciate in many of the bands I adore. A lack of a sense of humo(u)r is why I appreciate certain bands more than I like them (Yes comes to mind).
All one has to do is look at this cover to see that this band takes itself none too seriously. It’s a great cover, and while some have bemoaned the cloudy production I happen to like it…so much, in fact, that it remains my second favorite Rush live album (and there are, like, at least 300 of ’em). I think the rendition here of La Villa Strangiato is the definitive one; the drum solo (It’s not pretentious when it’s Neil Peart, haters!) is inhuman in its precision.
The epic Xanadu is pretty terrific although I think the studio album version is the best version, and the shorter songs like Tom Sayer, Red Barchetta, and especially YYZ shine on this album.
Look, you either love Rush, hate Rush or are indifferent to Rush. I happen to love them, so of course I’m going to be biased. I’m not a super fan of their late ’80’s period, but for Exit Stage Left they were a band at their peak, releasing this right after the mighty Moving Pictures, so…get it already, will ya?