US Air Arena, Landover MD, USA – April 26, 1994
(79:28) Intro, Stick It Out, Double Agent, Limelight, Bravado, Mystic Rhythms, Closer To The Heart, Show Don’t Tell, Leave That Thing Alone, Drum Solo, The Trees, Xanadu, Hemispheres Prelude, Tom Sawyer, YYZ
Rush’s tour to support Counterparts was one of the groups shortest tours, just 55 dates spread from late January to early May 1994. There have been several essential releases from this tour, first being the tour rehearsals found on First Part Of Counters (Cygnus 001/002) featuring a glorious soundboard recording of the complete set taken from Civic Arena in Pensacola, Florida. The best of the lot is the board from Philadelphia, A Night At The Spectrum (Watchtower 2002081/82), although missing the encores (they would appear later) the band is one fire and is a must have. Lastly is the incomplete soundboard recording taken from Landover, Maryland just a few days before the Spectrum gig. The first eight songs are missing and two others at the end of the show. Taken from a soundboard to DAT recording we have roughly 80 minutes of Rush music in excellent quality.
The recording has been available to the collectors market via Different Shows Live (Gypsy Eye GE249/250), a two disc set that features the SARS Benefit concert in Toronto 2003 on the first disc and the Landover material on the second. The Gypsy Eye title has been long out of print and made it an easy decision to acquire this new (old) Cygnus title. The recording is perfectly balanced, all instruments and vocals are clean in the mix with just enough audience mixed in for atmosphere, turn this up as it sounds incredible.
The set list for the tour is quite nice, in typical Rush fashion several tracks from Counterparts make the cut as the band like new challenges. This recording starts with a brief comical sketch from Geddy and Alex into a muscular Stick It Out. This song is like a return to the 70’s as the riff is bold with similarities with What Your Doing from their debut. Double Agent features some backing type vocal effects, this helps hide the fact Geddy was suffering from a cold and at times his voice was horse sounding. Signs of the shape of Gedd’s voice are even most prevalent during Limelight, he sounds like he needs hot tea with honey.
What is really nice about this tour is the extended bit of jamming at the end of Bravado, the band have always said it is one of their favorite songs and love to play it live so the extended versions are an extension of the enjoyment of their love of music. Love Mystic Rhythms, it is actually in a perfect spot in the set as it breaks up much of the guitar heavy pieces. The band would show off more of the comedic prowess during Closer To The Heart, Lerxst introducing Bill Clinton and Fabio, an all star line up! One thing was a huge improvement on this tour was having Xanadu fade into Hemisphere’s Prelude, I never liked the paring of the classic with Superconductor found on the previous Presto and Roll The Bones tours. YYZ has a brief Cygnus X-1 coda as well, even the brief snippet of the song gets me fired up and melds well with the Moving Pictures classic. Even though Gedd is in poor voice during this concert, the instrumental Rush is a force to be reckoned with.
The packaging is simple full color inserts adorned with live shots from the tour plus official looking graphics. Based upon my numbered sticker, there are at least 259 of these floating around the world. Been in a bit of a Rush mood as of late, between spinning some of the 180 gram vinyl releases of Signals and A Farewell To Kings, this title and another have been in steady rotation. I enjoy all eras of Rush music, for the Rush fan this is a nice title to grab.