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Rush were formed in 1969 and released their first album in 1974, when I was at junior school. I did not know much about Rush at that time, was more interested in playing out on my bike with my mates I suppose. Not long after the release of this debut album, the then drummer, John Rutsey left the band and was replaced by Neil Peart. A concert was recorded for radio at the Agora Ballroom in Cleveland (ABC) 26th August in that year during Rush's first tour of United States with the new drummer. The recording of this concert seemed to lay in obscurity for a while and has now seen the light of day. It was released as a 'bootleg' for a while called the Fifth Order of Angels.
I must admit I thought I knew everything there was to know about Rush, but from purchasing this album I have now learnt that they made two other songs I had never heard of, as they were never released on a studio album, and that they did a cover version of Bad Boy written by Larry Williams (which was covered by The Beatles). Just goes to show that there are always surprises in life I suppose!
The Band were (and still are):
Geddy Lee - Vocals and Bass
Alex Lifeson - Guitar
Neil Peart - Drums
Full track listing:
1. Finding My Way (Lee, Lifeson) 5.07
2. The Best I Can (Lee) 3.06
3. Need Some Love (Lee, Lifeson) 3.21
4. In The End (Lee, Lifeson) 6.13
5. Fancy Dancer (Lee, Lifeson) 3.54
6. In The Mood (Lee) 3.18
7. Bad Boy (Williams) 5.37
8. Here Again (Lee, Lifeson) 7.53
9. Working Man (Lee, Lifeson) 9.13
10. Drum Solo 2.54
11. What Youre Doing (Lee, Lifeson) 4.26
12. Garden Road (Lee, Lifeson) 3.03
13. Anthem (Lee, Lifeson, Peart) 4.21
14. Beneath, Between & Behind (Lifeson, Peart) 3.06
15. Fly By Night (Lee, Peart) 2.46
So, then, what of this early example of Rush music? It is raw, it is gritty. There is no production as such, but it is fresh sounding. If you are not a fan of Rush or have never heard of them, then I doubt this album would appeal to you, however if you like your hard rock loud and gutsy, then step right this way. The album begins with Finding My Way, which is taken from what was then their current album at the time, their debut 'Rush.' It is plain to see from the outset that this is going to be a great album. It is loud, it is frenzied. This is followed by The Best I Can, which was to be from their forthcoming album Fly By Night, for which I will use the initials FBN from here-on. It is very similar to the version which would grace FBN, but with a slightly different vocal for the chorus. Need Some Love is next, which is taken from Rush, then we have an early version of In The End. This has always been a favourite of mine, and this is an excellent version of the song that would be released on FBN. A young Geddy Lee used to sound a lot like a high-pitched Robert Plant (of Led Zep fame) and the vocal here is a prime example of this.
'You can take me for a little while, you can take me, you can make me smile...
...In the End...'
The fifth song on the album is one of those songs I had never heard before, Fancy Dancer. It is a stomper of a song and is heavy rock and roll at its best. Imagine Elvis hot-wired, and you will get the picture. A simple riff, simple lyrics, but good nonetheless. However I can understand why they never released this on studio album due to the direction they were taking music-wise. Although FBN has remnants of the music style of Rush, Peart's lyrics where taking them to another level. In The Mood is next, a swinging favourite from Rush and this is followed by Bad Boy, the Larry Williams song. Then we have Here Again, a slow number from Rush. The highlight is Working Man. This has always been a favourite to both the band and to fans. The gritty guitar riff, the truly excellent guitar work by Alex Lifeson. Fan will notice that during the instrumental bit there is an early version of the instrumental piece from By-tor and the Snowdog (which would be released on FBN), and that is good to hear. This is followed by an incredible drum solo by Neil Peart. The concert ends here, but there are two encores, What You're Doing from Rush, and the second song that would never be released on a studio album, Garden Road. This very early Rush , with a heavy rock and roll riff and screaming vocals.
'Passin' down this garden road, I've passed it many times
Beauty flashing in the air, Garden's many vines
Today I see the answer that I was wrong
Oh man, my questions on this garden road...'
The albums ends on a sour note I guess with the three bonus tracks recorded at the same venue a year later. The recording is not too good and a bit distorted at times. These songs are a trio from FBN, and they are: Anthem, Beneath, Between & Behind, and Fly By Night. But this does not ruin the overall experience of this album. I would have liked to have heard an early version of Before and After, though, as that is my favourite song from the Rush album, but alas that wasn't to be. It is also interesting to hear the crowd's response to the concert, which is quite quiet on the whole, a 'far cry' from their 2011 Time Machine concerts! Overall, however, the album is great. Play is on your Ipod or headphones, or whatever with your eyes closed and it is like you are there at the concert itself nearly forty years ago, taken back in time if you will. It kicks, it rocks and it is worthy of every Rush fan's collection.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Finding My Way
2 The Best I Can
3 Need Some Love
4 In The End
5 Fancy Dancer
6 In The Mood
7 Bad Boy
8 Here Again
9 Working Man
10 Drum Solo
11 What Youre Doing
12 Garden Road
14 Beneath, Between & Behind
15 Fly By Night