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Exit...Stage Left [Remastered] Live, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

4.5 out of 5 stars 164 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Live, Original recording reissued, July 1, 1997
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Product Description

Throughout their existence, the Canadian power-prog trio has steadfastly released a lengthy live collection every fifth album. Released in 1981, Exit is Rush's second (and best) such release, and it captures the band at the very top of its artistic (and commercial) curve--before keyboard and synthesizer work became central to its sound as opposed to providing mere accents. When they embarked on this tour, Rush had just released Moving Pictures, which continued their move away from longer suites and featured more streamlined song craft. Exit, however, offers a perfect blend of winding, fusion-leaning, virtuoso instrumentals ("YYZ," "La Villa Strangiato"), extended sci-fi epics ("Jacob's Ladder," "Xanadu"), sentimental ballads ("Closer to the Heart" in unison with the whole crowd, "The Trees"), and tauter songs ("Free Will," "Tom Sawyer," "Spirit of Radio") that represent the best of all worlds. Musically, they generated a huge amount of sound for three men (especially Geddy Lee's mammoth bass lines and Neil Peart's octopus-like percussion); lyrically, Peart's fantasia may be pseudo-poetry, but it is poetic, and it may be adolescent wisdom, but it is wise. --Marc Greilsamer
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 1, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Live, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Mercury
  • ASIN: B000001ESR
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (164 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,729 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
Suitably enough, Rush recorded a live album to top off the most successful period in their careers. Permanent Waves and especially Moving Pictures had secured reams of popularity for the power-prog trio, so a high-energy live compilation was the perfect coda to this hallowed chapter in the band's history.
The tracks here cover a fairly broad range of Rush's catalogue up to this point, but skip over the debut and Caress of Steel. Although this collection largely covers the band's shorter, more commercial songs, they never forget the progressive rock wings on which they once soared. I'd say the song selection is perfect. Alongside hits like "Freewill," "Tom Sawyer," and "The Spirit of Radio" are progressive epics like "Xanadu" and "Jacob's Ladder." One of my favorite moments on the album comes with "La Villa Strangiato," an astounding instrumental tour-de-force that concretizes the band's standing as musicians' musicians. Live, this song SMOKES. Lifeson's first solo in this song is infused with tenfold the passion of the original, and I can't help but get chills up and down my spine listening to it. Still, while the energy is there and the songs are great, overdubs render the album a wee bit too polished, and the band's blazing live ebullience is diluted somewhat.
Still, this album many wonderful moments. The precise, stunning drum solo during "YYZ," "Closer to the Heart" with the entire crowd joining in with Geddy on vocals, the ultra-high energy performance of "Red Barchetta," the serene melodies of "Broon's Bane" as a seque into the hard-rocking "The Trees"...the list is endless.
I was kind of disappointed by the album's dubious representation of the concert experience.
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6 Comments 30 of 31 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
There are several things you can judge a live album for, and this one ranks quite well on most of them. Some of the ones where it's "weak" are: mix (uneven at times, leaning a bit more toward Geddy Lee's bass), sound quality (between songs, specially) and the general live feel (arguably, there weren't too many mics pointed at the audience, so you don't hear very loud "roars" between tracks).
On the flip side, the album ranks so well on so many other fronts, that the downsides pale by comparison. The musicianship, above all things, is bound to leave you speechless: Geddy Lee's basswork and Neil Peart's drums are out of this world (take the "YYZ" looooooong solo by the latter as the best example, easily making the entire album worth buying). The fact that the band sounds just as well live as they do on the studio says so much about their work too. Some people argue this is bad: I dare to say this is where a musician gets to prove him/herself, by matching or exceeding the studio work.
All in all, given the items mentioned before, while not the best live album EVER, this is a great piece to add to your music collection to sum up the band's work as well as to enjoy outstanding performances of several of their classics which by now have become prog rock standards.
Comment 11 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
In case some of you are wondering if you should A)Upgrade your original Exit...Stage Left CD with the new remastered one or B)Wondering which version to get, I have some simple answers for you. You see I had the original CD and then bought the Rush Remasters version hoping for some audio improvements. The remastering done on the new CD brings practically zero improvements to the original mastering. Only the most intense audiophiles with expensive sound systems will likely notice a large enough improvement to make a difference. I'm pretty picky about audio fidelity and when comparing the two versions face to face I couldn't find any differences at all.

So now that the whole remastered question is out of the way we can cover another question: that missing song. This CD is missing a song that was originally on the double vinyl album the CD is supposed to replace. That song was A Passage to Bangkok. That song was left out because the CD couldn't hold the entire double album and a song had to be taken out to make room (this was before the newer 80 minute CD's). Personally I think they made a good call. A Passage to Bangkok is not all that great of a song if you ask me. It's not bad, but if you had to take one out that would be it.

The last question I hear between the two is cover art. You see, these Rush Remasters boast about not only having the music remastered but also the original album art being restored on the CD sleeve. To be honest the original Exit...Stage Left CD is true to the original album art so there is no need to get the new album for that either.

So essentially this version of Exit...Stage Left is still a winner and its only failing grace is the exclusion of the song, A Passage to Bangkok.
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1 Comment 13 of 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
Live albums usually lack something in recording and instrumental quality. Not this one. As a big Rush fan who has most of their albums, I truly believe they were at the peak of their careers when they recorded this album. Neil Peart's drumming is incredible and listening to him live makes it even more dynamic. The drum solo in YYZ is worth the price of admission alone. All the great songs from their previous albums are here. My personal favorite is "The Trees", which sends shivers down my spine and I like the live version better then the original version. This is, IMO, the greatest Live Rock album ever produced.
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Exit...Stage Left [Remastered]
This item: Exit...Stage Left [Remastered]
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