|Vintage Concert Bill: Rush - 'All The World's A Stage' Tour - May 1977|
|Written by Bill Lindsey|
|Sunday, 29 September 2013 04:00|
Rush/Styx/Starcastle/Max Webster - 4 bands for 5 bucks! - May 6th, 1977
"4 bands for 5 bucks" read the concert ad in the paper. When the four bands included Rush on their 'All The World's A Stage' tour and Styx on their 'Grand Illusion' tour, plus Starcastle and Max Webster in tow, how could an Uber Rocker go wrong?
Downtown at the St. Paul Civic Center it was. I had Rush '2112' AND the EXCELLENT 2 album live record 'ATWAS' in my collection plus I also owned Styx' big seller 'The Grand Illusion' and my buddy had borrowed me 'Crystal Ball'. So I was well aware of both those bands and knew many more of their songs from the radio airplay they both got from KQRS in the Twin towns.
I jumped on the city bus at Randolph and Edgecome Rd. close to my house. The #14 dropped my friends and I off right across the street from the venue.
The bus however was running behind schedule and we saw Max Webster waving goodbye as they exited the stage. I've never had another chance to see Max Webster, but always have liked the song 'Battle Scar'. So the bummer was all mine!
Starcastle was next and they put on a solid prog rock set. I could tell they were heavily influenced by Yes and I remember I enjoyed the song 'Fountains Of Light' among others. In those days I was forming my own bands and I remember being really interested in the whole set up of a concert presentation. I was mesmerized by the equipment they used, the PA system and the lighting rigs. I really enjoyed bands that had stage sets but they were few and far between in those days. I drank it all in though and remember quite a lot about each band no matter how familiar I was with their music at the time.
I would get to see Starcastle with Styx once again later that same year. Very solid prog band and I was entertained.
Styx was really hitting their stride commercially with the 'Grand Illusion' LP being their most current release. A few tracks were already on the radio including the title track, 'Come Sail Away' and 'Angry Young Man'. They had many FM radio staples at the time including 'Light Up', 'Sweet Madame Blue' and 'Crystal Ball' which were all in the set and played note for note. Decked out in '70s satins, scarves and playing a flawlessly tight set. It is no wonder that they have such a loyal following. I really liked the heavier tunes like 'Miss America' written and sung by my favorite Styx member, James "J.Y." Young. J.Y. seemed to me to be the 'rocker' guy in the band, whipping out the rawer sounding riffs and rowdy leads on his black Strat.
I liked early Styx but their overall sound was becoming a little too clean for my taste. Perfectly produced for FM radio airplay. I have a few of their records and listen to them from time to time and it really brings back memories of the '70s because it was ALL OVER the radio here in Minnesota. 'Miss America' is FOREVER though!! And J.Y. RULES!
Rush at this point in their career were a perfect balance of heavy rock and great musicianship. I thought the whole night led up to this moment perfectly with each band before the headliners getting a bit heavier as the night went forth. This was the first of several Rush shows I would attend in the next coming 3 or 4 years (damn, they toured a bunch back then!), but this was my very favorite RUSH experience.
The PA rang out and the lights went down, "PLEASE WELCOME MERCURY RECORDING ARTISTS, RUSH!!!"
'Bastille Day' bashed me in the earholes and off they went. They played 'ATWAS' pretty much in its entirety. I believe 'Trail To Bangkok' was slipped in there someplace too.
Side one '2112'! AWESOME!!
Hair blowing and flowing, bells bottoming and mustaches handle barred! Mid '70s Rush in my opinion was at their heaviest and most glorious. Yes! They would have bigger and well deserved success in the coming years. But for me this was the greatest era of RUSH! High pitched, screechy vocals and Rickenbacker bass from Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson (still sporting his long blond mane at this point in time) with Gibson guitars, sweet leads and amazing riffs like 'B-day', 'Anthem' and 'Working Man'! Early '70s style BIG drum kit and an every future drummer's wet dream solo from "The Professor" Neil Peart.
'In The End', 'What You're Doin', 'Fly By Night' and 'By-tor And The Snow Dog', all played and all kicked ASS.
The band was well on their way to platinum albums and a rabid following of fans (many who are musicians) who are all still fanatical about the band in an almost a geeky kind of way (as illustrated in the excellent DVD 'Beyond The Lighted Stage'). I LOVE RUSH! I must admit I have not followed every step of their long carrier after, say, 'Moving Pictures' and I haven't seen them in concert again since the 'Hemispheres' tour. BUT, in the mid seventies I really thought highly of them. Thoughtful and creative lyrics on top of HEAVY tunes that made the head bang and the mind ponder. One of Canada's greatest heavy exports!
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