Hyperspace (Gypsy Eye 170)
Allentown Fairgrounds, Allentown, Pa. September 30, 1980
(74:50) 2112 (I.Overture ~ II.Temples Of Syrinx), Freewill, By-Tor And The Snow Dog, Xanadu, Limelight, The Trees, Hemispheres (I: Prelude), Closer To The Heart, Beneath Between & Behind, Tom Sawyer, Jacob’s Ladder, A Passage To Bangkok, Natural Science
Rush started road testing material as early as their first tour, songs that would eventually be found on forth coming records were played live and then further developed in the studio. As the band got more successful they would actually play a short selective series of dates and debut some new songs before a live audience.
With the very fruitful period of the late seventies giving way to the eighties the band found themselves progressing their sound from very complex and long pieces to shorter songs that were equally intense but much shorter in length. They were also making the records in very close to home in direct attempt to spend more time with their families. These ideas blossomed on the Permanent Waves record and would be honed to perfection on the Moving Pictures record.
The tour in support of the Permanent Waves would be their last to feature the epics as the band not play 2112 or Hemispheres in their entirety again, save for 2112 which would be resurrected on their 1996 tour. The band did play a short tour in the fall of 1980, after the tour for the PeW was complete, it not only gave the band the chance to play some newer material but also a chance to restructure their set list. There are only four recordings from this tour, three of them are audiences sources and fall in the average range so it is exciting to have this recording.
The source used here is a soundboard source, what one would refer to as a bare bones recording probably done for the band to listen through. It was released to the masses as Something Old Something New (Digital Reproductions: DR 93080), a release that featured all know tape in excellent quality. This Gypsy Eye release has cut some of the between song chatter and cut The Spirit Of Radio out completely to squeeze the show onto on CD. The tape cuts the last few minutes of Natural Science and the rest of the show and encores have never surface.
While it would have been nice to have the complete tape this release is excellent sounding and is a great addition to ones collection, bootlegs from the tour are scarce with the St. Louis Soundboard and the Fort Worth audience tape being the most widely circulated.
The recording begins with the first two pieces from 2112, Overture and The Temples Of Syrinx. The songs in conjunction with one another make for a very effective opener, this duo would remain for the following moving Pictures tour. The sound has a perfect balance but with the audience so low in the mix has a dry feel to it. Freewill is played almost nonstop and has a fresh and exciting feel to it, you can hear the keyboards, subtle as there are.The guitar solo is a big part of this song, one of the most intense it is strange to here in such an environment as you usually get allot of crowd reaction, the crowd here is non existent but does not detract and is an excellent version.
Geddy speaks to the crowd and gives the promise of an evening of music and introduces the next song, By-Tor And The Snow Dog. Neil is incredible on this song, he adds fills all over the place, the song has been in their repertoire for years and the band play it without thought and it seems to flow effortlessly. You can really appreciate all aspects of the music, the effects Alex uses add much dimension to the feel of the song and the whole band is entranced as they transition into Xanadu. Geddy plays some wonderful bass notes I have not noticed on audience recordings as they are so subtle and usually lost in such recordings, here every nuance is clearly heard. The song itself is an example in synchronicity from the three master musicians, again one can only listen in pure enjoyment as Gedd perfectly blends the keyboards and bass together.
The version of Limelight is in Geedy’s words “brand new” and is very interesting to listen to. The song is all there but the opening riff is is very straight forward and the keyboards are rather simple and not as effective as they would be on the finished version. Gedd is also working on his vocal delivery and Alex has not yet perfected his solo but this is what we are listening for, to hear a great song in its working phase. Strong versions the Trees and the first part of Hemispheres leads to the combination of Closer To The Heart and Beneath Between and Behind. The songs were linked together on the PeW tour and proved so effective that they would be played in this manner throughout the Exit Stage Left tour a couple years later. Beneath is one of my favorites from Fly By Night and live versions are wonderful, it is nice to have one in such quality.
Tom Sawyer is the second of the new songs, the keyboard intro is the same but Neil drums are a little different, he would actual simplify them and Geddy’s opening vocals are a little too enunciated. Alex plays a very busy solo but the after solo jam that features some of Neil’s best drumming is pretty much intact. As with Limelight these versions are an exciting listen and wonderful to hear in such quality. Another highlight is the next song, Jacobs Ladder. The song has that great almost funky intro found on the Exit…Stage Left record before giving way to the ethereal, get introduces as an “old quiz show theme”. The build up is great, Neil plays some great snare drum rolls, the band do not push it and just let it happen, there seems to be a small cut at the 2:24 mark but very little music is lost.
Alex is in a feisty mood, he cannot contain himself and starts playing when Geddy is still introducing A Passage To Bangkok. Gedd uses a lot of echo on his vocals that give a harmonizing effect and the keyboards are perfection, adding much dimension to the song. Natural Science is the last song but sadly is cut at six and a half minutes, as are all other circulating versions of the tape. To me this is a huge step for the band, they make one of their most musically complex pieces and keep it to just over eight minutes. I am sure this some took a great deal of concentration to play live, as usual the band nail it. Sadly the last two minutes as well as the encore have never circulated but what we have here is a very satisfying chunk of a superbly played concert.
The packaging is typical for Gypsy Eye, color inserts were pictures from the Era, all packaged in a jewel case. Even though there is a small amount of music missing the Sound quality and rarity of material makes this a very nice release to have in your collection, any Rush fan would be more than happy with it.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)