Classic Rock


Hemisphere­s (Deluxe Edition)


Bonus material is the cherry on this 40th-birthday celebratio­n of Rush’s ‘difficult one’.

Famously, Rush did not have a good time making Hemisphere­s. They arrived at Rockfield Studio in Wales in June 1978 – where they’d happily recorded A Farewell To Kings the previous year – with very little material written, and struggled. When they did come up with material, vocalist Geddy Lee found it hard to hit the high notes, the first mix at Advision in London (where Lee also re-recorded the vocals) was deemed a failure, and the album came together at another London studio, Trident, only after a break for the band to recharge their batteries back home in Toronto.

Forty years on, the ambition of the album still startles, even if Lee does occasional­ly sound like he’s about to burst. In The Trees the band found a model for their later, more commercial material, La Villa Strangiato is almost certainly guitarist Alex Lifeson’s best work, and for the suite that makes up the vinyl LP’s side one drummer Neil Peart’s lyrics moved away from the individual­ist narratives of 2112 and A Farewell To Kings and into territory that at least recognised that life really wasn’t that simple.

With lengthy sleeve notes for this Deluxe Edition written by Canadian Professor of Ethnomusic­ology Rob Bowman (who also provided the essay accompanyi­ng last year’s repackagin­g of A Farewell To Kings), it’s the bonus material that will interest fans most. First up is the band’s performanc­e at the 1979 Pinkpop Festival in The Netherland­s (minus the opening Anthem, some of Hemisphere­s, the closing 2112 and first encore Working

Man – did someone forget to hit the ‘record’ button?), which is followed by a previously unreleased version of 2112 recorded in Tucson, Arizona a year earlier. Kicking off with a driving

A Passage To Bangkok and a version of Xanadu that flits between deft atmospheri­cs and confidentl­y controlled chaos, it’s testament to the band’s ability to bring such complex music to the stage without compromisi­ng any of that complexity. The Trees is a little rougher around the edges than the version that appeared two years later on Exit…Stage Left, and there’s a slight, rather charming false start at the beginning of Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemisphere­s Part VI: The Sphere, as if Lee momentaril­y forgets what he’s doing. Closer To The Heart rumbles along nicely, and La Villa Strangiato – almost two minutes longer than the studio version – finds Lifeson in thrilling form, dancing his way between artful, feathery touches to a spiralling solo and grinding riff with gleeful abandon.

Fraser lewry

 ??  ?? Fish’s final fling, now fêted over five discs.
Fish’s final fling, now fêted over five discs.
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom