Hemispheres In Frankfurt (Cygnus 019/020)
Stadthalle, Frankfurt, Germany – May 28, 1979
Disc 1 (68:36) Intro, Anthem, A Passage To Bangkok, By-Tor & The Snow Dog, Xanadu, Something For Nothing, The Trees, Cygnus X-1, Hemispheres, Closer To The Heart
Disc 2 (49:19) A Farewell To Kings, La Villa Strangiato, 2112, Working Man, Bastille Day, In The Mood, Drum Solo
The culmination of Rush’s progressive period was most certainly 1978’s Hemispheres, like its predecessor A Farewell To Kings, the record was recorded in the United Kingdom as the English environment was certainly influencing the group. The record would boast such enduring classics, The Trees and La Villa Stangiato as well the side long epic title track, a song that would almost break the band due to its musical and lyrical complexity, such was the painful birth of the record that the band would look to “tone it down” on upcoming records and change their musical output for the next decade.
Thankfully there are many recordings that document the 78-79 tour to support the record, there are many very good audience sources and four soundboard sources that commonly circulate. While boasting a shorter set list than Tucson or Detroit, the recording from Frankfurt, Germany at the tail end of the tour is a superb document of the band in all its glory (FYI: the bands performance a week later at the famous Pinkpop Festival is the fourth SB). There has been a previous release of this show, Farewell To Frankfurt (Shout To The Top STTP 134/135) but that release is probably a decade old by now and finding a copy could be difficult, thankfully the folks at the Cygnus label have addressed this. Boasting the claim of being from a 1st generation copy, this new version of the tape is very nice. To my ears it has a warmer, more full sound, the high frequencies are not a harsh and brittle sounding as the STTP version and it has a wonderful bottom end to it, for me this is an upgrade. As with the other Cygnus titles, their mastering is excellent and very well done. Keep in mind, the source material is excellent, this is prime Rush and is a concert you need to hear!
The packaging is very nice, the front cover give a nod to the old STTP version and features fonts and graphics from the official Hemispheres record. The cd’s have pictures on them, both the same, and you get a collectable sticker as well. Another well executed release from the folks at Cygnus, keep them coming.