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Rush - 2112 (40th Anniversary Edition)

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Universal Music
Produced by Terry Brown & Rush

In 1976, three young musicians were close to having their record contract ended or at least not renewed. Their third album had not been successful and the tour was such a disaster for them they called it the "Down The Tubes" tour. They had one last chance, and the record label suggested doing something more mainstream that would make it easy to get airplay etc.

So those three hard-working, determined young men known as Rush did what they felt best. Ignored all the advice and wrote an album where all of side one would tell a story. A story about a dystopian future based on the eccentric work of a right-wing writer called Ayn Rand. End of the road then? Absolutely not. This piece of art not only became a hugely successful album but one that 40 years later is still loved, adored and copied by others. The album was simply named after the year in which the story was set, 2112.

So all these years on, comes another presentation of this work with extras, outtakes, rare live recordings, adverts, and several other artists doing their own takes on some of the tracks. The album has been newly remastered at Abbey Road studios and it sounds terrific. As did the previous remaster and the original vinyl album. Like many of these remasters unless the quality of the sound system it's being played on is high, there will be no huge discernible differences (maybe music engineers and soundmen would spot things with their professional knowledge and superior training that others would not). 2112 is such a good and powerful album it hardly matters what format it's played on.

It is hard to imagine any rock, metal or prog fan not owning a copy (or at least having heard most of side one), but for those people, the place to start is the original album itself, along with All The World's A Stage, to hear the full power of how it sounded live in Toronto in '76. There are other live recordings, but none as good as that first live album.

To Rush fanatics, this recent series of packages are well worth buying. This time in the extras department, the covers are a little varied, but none are direct copies of the original tracks, which makes good sense. The Overture goes of into something different for a section, for strange reasons, but is otherwise the same, and Billy Talent's version of Passage To Bangkok is the most similar to the original. It's after these that it becomes more interesting.

Steven Wilson's version of The Twilight Zone is shimmering, eccentric, and treated with his own unique stylings. The guitar and keyboard break is fantastic adding to the vibe of things being off kilter. Following this is an incredible version of Tears by Alice In Chains. Once again adding their own harmonic style vocals and pathos, this is gorgeous and shows once again how fine a band they are. These two tracks and versions are wonderful and deserve their own releases. Jacob Moon's version of Something For Nothing is certainly an interesting take with its very gentle acoustic opening and pop sensibilities (it does feel like it misses out by not having the thumping bass of Geddy rampaging through it though), and is creative enough to hold its own well, it's just not as good as those two stand-outs.

Lastly, the live outtakes are pretty good. It's fun to listen out for differences in the different performances over a couple of nights in the same venue (if digging out All The World's A Stage to compare) and these versions are also fantastic, which just goes to show how consistent the band were even back then as 20 year olds.

Without doubt this album and the 40th anniversary deserves to be celebrated as best as possible. On the whole this release does the trick. As mentioned previously this is probably not the best starting point for anyone who does not own the album already, so it's not in the essential category - 2112 as a simple 12" record or single CD format is an absolute must for rock metal and prog fans no matter age - but the album (both sides) continues to stand up as the absolute classic it is, and they've added enough to this version to tempt the hardcore into another purchase.

“ such a good and powerful album ”

Tracklist:
CD1 - 2112 / A Passage To Bangkok / The Twilight Zone / Lessons / Tears / Something For Nothing
CD2 - Solar Federation / Overture (Dave Grohl) / A Passage To Bangkok (Billy Talent) / The Twilight Zone (Steven Wilson) / Tears (Alice In Chains) / Something For Nothing (Jacob Moon) / 2112 (Live Outtake) / Something For Nothing (Live Outtake) / The Twilight Zone (Live) / 2112 1976 Radio Ad
DVD - Bastille Day (Live) / Anthem (Live) / Lakeside Park (Live) / 2112 (Live) / Fly By Night (Live) / In The Mood (Live) / Overture (Dave Grohl) / A Passage To Bangkok (Behind The Scenes with Billy Talent) / 2112 - 40 Years Closer Q&A

Written by Tom Cornell
More: 2016, Albums, Progressive, Re-release,

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