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on December 3, 1999
A favorite of mine for many, many years. I remember seeing Rush in the summer of 1979... my very first rock concert. I was stunned by their power and the sound the three of them made. "All the World's a Stage" was recorded when Rush was on the road promoting their "new" album, 2112. You could tell they had been working hard to get the songs as tight and disciplined as they sounded on the album itself. By-Tor and the Snow Dog is probably my favorite recorded live song, by any group. And I remember seeing it performed live in its entirety in that 1979 show I saw. I was proud to be a huge Rush fan before they really made it big in '81 with Moving Pictures. By-Tor was always the song I'd play to my non-believing friends when I told them what a great band Rush was. Phenomenal drumming and bass playing. This is the best live Rush album in their catalog. I haven't heard any bootlegs, but this is the best of the ones in their official catalog. Enjoy it!
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on April 21, 2006
Just recently I bought "All The Worlds A Stage" for the first time on cd. At first I didn't like it very much because it sounded pretty raw when compared to the smoother EXIT STAGE LEFT. I think with the release of EXIT they were playing better because they had been doing about 250 shows a year for quite a few years and they were maturing as live musicians, but still, this first live album shows them more raw and energetic, so it's good to have both in your possession. It sounds much better to me than when I first heard it in 1981. This remaster sounds quite a bit better than the vinyl album did (which is something that I can't say about all rock albums). If you don't have this live album, but have a lot of the studio albums, don't hesitate in aquiring this first Rush live album.
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on December 28, 2001
Rush were a struggling progressive hard rock trio during their early years, but by the time they released their first live album ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE in 1976, they had solidified their status as a force to reckoned with. When Rush went on this tour, their landmark fourth album 2112 was climbing higher up the charts and became their first gold record. With that stream of confidence, the band made a triumphant homecoming to Toronto and played for three glorious nights, which is all layered out for our listening pleasure on ATWAS.
Though the band hints at progressive ambition with awesome versions of "2112" and "By-Tor and the Snow Dog," ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE mainly focuses on the early heavy metal side of Rush. "Bastille Day" and "Anthem" prove to be a winning hard rock combo, and I love the way the catchy "Fly by Night" leads smoothly into the bluesy "In the Mood." "Something for Nothing" sounds even more powerful than it does on the studio version, and the Zeppelin-esque "Lakeside Park" relaxes you a bit after the first four pile-driving tracks. But without a doubt the best performance on here belongs to the five-part, 15-minute version of "2112." With "Discovery" and "Oracle" taken out, this trimmed down "2112" sounds infinitely heavier and epic in concert than on the 20-minute studio original. Alex Lifeson reigns supreme on this track, especially during "Presentation."
The aforementioned "By-Tor and the Snow Dog" just flat out rocks with some exotic, beautiful moments during the instrumental portion. "In the End" is a great power ballad with good singing by Geddy and hair-raising guitar work, and Neil Peart's drum solo during the "Working Man/Finding My Way" medley sounds like the one he did on the live "YYZ," but I still love it. The menacing "What You're Doing" closes out the set list, with the band members all leaving after the show is over.
If you don't want to get all four of Rush's early records in one shot, then ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE is the perfect coda for fans wondering how Rush were like in their beginning years. Also recommended: EXIT...STAGE LEFT, another live album which is just as good, if not better.
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on September 21, 2002
I bought this not long after it first came out on vinyl and it has stayed with me through tape and CD re-incarnations ever since. By far the best of the live albums, recorded shortly after the release of the cataclysmic "2112" which was to provide the Rush signature for the next three years. Dodgy vocals and the odd bum note certainly don't detract from the overall experience: "Bastille Day" puts it's studio version to shame, and "2112" (apart from the unforgiveable omission of "The Oracle") is as good an enticement to go out and buy the whole album as you are likely to get.
It's been said many times that the first 3 albums (actually only the first 2 and a half to my mind) are little more than Led Zeppelin tribute offerings. Certainly this similarity is accentuated in the live version: the feedback and pedal work from Mr Lifeson on "By-Tor" could just have easily have been a certain Mr Page on the live rendition of "Rain Song".But the knockers, pseuds and so-called "purists" should remember that even Led Zeppelin weren't the Led Zeppelin most people would claim to know when they first went on the road.
Buy it as an interesting historical document in charting the development of the band if you must. But much rather buy it for what it is.
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VINE VOICEon March 21, 2005
A live set recorded over three days in 1976, in many ways this is a great introduction to the early Rush material-- featuring four songs each from the debut album and "Fly By Night", two from "Caress of Steel" and "2112" (although admittedly including the length title track), this really gets to the good material without much of the fluff.

Opening with the monster combination of "Bastille Day" and "Anthem", the tone for the show is set-- if there's a complaint to be made about the live show, its that it leaves out any display of the quieter side of Rush-- mind you, the quiet side was a one or two song thing on each record, it'd be nice to have heard some of it.

If you like the early material, you'll like this set, that simple. The "Fly By Night" material seems particularly inspired, I much prefer this take of "By-Tor and the Snow Dog" to the studio.

Overall, its a good show-- they'd have better material to pick from the future, but for the time, its a good show, and besides, its hard to imagine Geddy Lee these days shouting "Come on, let's see some hands!".
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on November 21, 1999
This is one of the best live albums ever recorded. I bought it back in 1992, and I still love it as much now as I did when I first heard it. The playing is top-notch, and of course the songs are also excellent -- this is, after all, RUSH we're talking about here. I also think the live sound quality is terrific: it's powerful and heavy (much heavier than their later stuff, and heavier than any of their studio releases), and it's somewhat psychedelic at times. My favorite songs on this CD are "2112", "Anthem", and "By-Tor and the Snow Dog"; the instrumental section of "By-Tor and the Snow Dog" is, by itself, worth far more than the price of the entire CD (as a matter of fact, it's priceless). If I were you, I would buy this album immediately. If you don't, you'll never know what you're missing.
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on March 20, 2006
Rush's first chapter is always interesting to me. They started out like a heavy-metal, blues type band, " A baby Zeppelin" as someone quoted. Rush let their original drummer go. Even as a devoted Rush fan and amateur drummer, I still never heard the official reason why he left the band. However, Neil entered the picture. Many styles were covered over the next couple of albums. Finally, almost broke and written off, they created 2112. A new life, new success, and new direction. I believe that " All the World's A Stage " is a culmination of all that happened to them. While Rush were playing their hearts out and enjoying their success, you can almost hear them evolving musically on this CD. Hints of whats to come is on display. This CD is enjoyable to listen to, even though its not ranked as one of Rush's better live efforts. Its a great way to end a chapter, and move on to the next.
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on May 6, 2011
I discovered this album the year after it came out, and was blown away. I'd recently been exposed to Rush with '2112', and fell in love with (blown away by) side 1 the first time I heard it. Granted, I was in high school, but it opened my eyes to what rock could be after cutting my teeth on the Rolling Stones and Jethro Tull (no slouches themselves!). I went out and bought ATWAS as my first Rush album, and was not disappointed! It was followed quickly by Fly By Night and 2112, but this album still holds a place in my heart.

Interestingly, the thing about this album which helped captivate me is also what a lot of the detractors, including the band, talk about being a minus - the raw feel of the recording. This was their first live album, and the flow from one song to the next made it seem like you're actually there, or hearing a replay of a show you went to. I've even talked to the sound guy from that tour (Ian G), who told me they'd bypassed the soundboard effects and gone straight from the stage mix to the recording truck, thus losing some of the subtle mixing effects. Even so, the immediacy, the energy of the show are just amazing, and to this day it is in my Top 5 list of live albums.

Listening to the segue from Bastille Day to Anthem to Fly By Night and into In The Mood you'll be sucked in by the amazing level of musicianship and raw energy. Shoot, just opening the show with Bastille Day was amazing, second only to my first show in 1979 where they opened with side 1 of 2112. I still wax nostalgic whenever I see a mention of this album, it's simply excellent, and a great way to experience the "first phase" of their career. Later live albums (especially Exit Stage Left) are lesser in my eyes due to the overproduction, the overdubs, the fade-outs and fade-ins between songs, making it seem like a collection of live songs rather than the presentation of a live show. Call me an old fart, but give me ATWAS over all of their later live albums.
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on December 11, 2005
If Rush is known for anything besides 'Spirit of the Radio', 'Tom Sawyer', or Geddy's naturally high voice, it's their amazing live performances. This album isn't getting the credit it deserves mainly because "its their first live album and they could've done better selection wise" or whatever. The fact is, Rush does great on every album they work on, whether they add layers of synths or not. 'All the World's a Stage' is no exception.

The album opens up with 'Bastille Day', and they do this song amazingly. It's played close to the original version of the song, which isn't nessecarily a good thing. Which is why I like the next song, 'Anthem', much more. If you've ever heard 'Fly By Night', you'd know that 'Anthem' is one of the best songs on the album. The version they play in 'All the World's a Stage' is nothing like the Fly By Night's better, in my opinion. Geddy sounds like a Country Rock singer in this song; I don't particularly like country rock, but I do like Geddy. That's why I didn't have a problem with the vocals.

Alex Lifeson's guitars are incredible, especially on "Fly By Night-In the Mood" when he does his big solo. His solo in "Something for Nothing" is great as well, and "Lakeside Park" is good too, but the album doesn't kick off until the amazingly done "2112". This one song, 15 minutes long, will only seem like five because you're enjoying it so much! If it weren't for the audience's applause, you would expect it to be an actual studio recording! I love the intro to 'The Temples of Syrinx', it's played so fast paced and just...good. 'By Tor and the Snow Dog' is almost as good as it was on the 'Fly By Night album', and it's almost 12 minutes long!

The rest of the album is great, as you would expect with Rush. 'Finding My Way/Working Man' is two songs INTO ONE. Good songs, too. I'm not a huge fan of their first album, but those two are probably the best. 'What Your Doing' is another great song from their first album. It probably killed poor Neil to play something so simple!

Overall, I'd definitely reccomend 'All The World's A Stage' to anyone who appreciates live albums. Though not as good as 'Rush In Rio' or 'Exit Stage Left', it towers over 'A Show of Hands'. If you're a fan of live music, or Rush for that matter, 'All The World's A Stage' is just for you.
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on March 10, 2015
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