Listen to a 1981 Rush Show as the Band Was Ascending to Peak Prog

On Mar. 27, 1981, Rush visited Montreal on the Moving Pictures Tour, where they recorded a short set for the King Biscuit Flower Hour.

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Listen to a 1981 Rush Show as the Band Was Ascending to Peak Prog

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Canadian prog pioneers Rush were on the cusp of widespread popularity in the early 1980s, having released a string of increasingly popular albums in the late ‘70s including 1976’s 2112, 1977’s A Farewell to Kings and 1978’s Hemispheres. As it turned out, their pinnacle was just ahead, with career milestones Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures on the horizon of the new decade. Touring in support of Moving Pictures, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart arrived in Montreal to record a show for the King Biscuit Flower Hour radio program. The performance was part of a longer, two-hour show that would eventually be released as a live album, Exit…Stage Left.

At this point, Rush were expanding their sound beyond the initial comparisons to the gritty guitar work of Led Zeppelin, with more developed and eccentric lyrics from Peart and increased instrumental complexities, like the use of bass-pedal synthesizers and diverse percussive effects. Their songs became longer and more deliberately composed, a style that would become something of a trademark in years to come. This recording includes a pristine performance of Moving Pictures opener “Tom Sawyer,” with its unforgettable descending synth line and future-politic lyrics, and includes excellent versions of “La Villa Strangiato” and “Jacob’s Ladder.”

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