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RE-ISSUE OF THE MONTH: RUSH 2112 REVIEW BY ANDY BARNES

Re-Issue of the Month - RUSH – 2112 (Deluxe and Super deluxe editions including 5.1 Surround Sound Mixes, Unreleased Live tracks and the first ever Rush Comic Book) – Released December 19th

After developing their craft through three previous releases, ‘Rush,’ ‘Fly by Night’ and ‘Caress of Steel,’  Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart launched 2112 upon an unsuspecting world, commencing a meteoric rise to prominence within the prog community of the 70’s and 80’s.  The title track in particular, unadulterated  magnificence, influenced by author Ayn Rand, split into seven movements outlining a futuristic world overseen and regulated by The Priests of The Temples of Syrinx where individuality and artistry is frowned upon. A chance finding of a guitar, an instrument long discarded in the past, creates a sense of wonder within a citizen, who excitedly announces the wondrous find to the Priests, only to see hopes dashed by ignorance and suspicion, instructed this just “another toy that helped destroy the elder race of man,” not one to be re-introduced into their perfect world.  The track, a sprawling, meandering monolithic cornerstone of 70’s rock, Geddy Lee’s instantly recognisable falsetto to the fore, Rush truly claiming their place as one of the greatest ever progressive bands while outlining within five more individualistic compositions, “Passage to Bangkok,”  “The Twilight Zone,” “Lessons,” “Tears” and live favourite “Something for Nothing” their ability to produce more recognisable song structure, carefully negotiating a dangerous line without falling foul more poppier mainstream elements, exhibited by many lesser bands of the era.

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As a teenager in the late 70’s, in the early introductory stages of rock exposure, it’s difficult to overestimate the effect 2112 had upon me, habitually transplanted to my record player, helping develop a taste for experimental, challenging music, which survives to this day.  Coincidently based on the subject matter, also resurrecting memories of alienation during formative teenage years . Picture the scene, during a tedious English lesson, our assignment for later in the week announced, bring to class a piece of music based around a futuristic world, surely I heard wrong….. but no, repeated once more, educational Nirvana unveiled.  Imagine the delight I felt, placing 2112 into the very Golden Disc bag I’d originally brought it home, entering Mr Parkin’s classroom, convinced I’d share in it’s entirety, not only the ultimate piece in relation to the project, furthermore, an opportunity to enlighten my fellow students to the sheer majesty of Rush. After nervously listening to John Lennon’s “Imagine,” my turn arrives. Mr Parkin removes the album from the sleeve, places vinyl on turntable and with a slight crackle, stylus touches groove, the instrumental opening of “Overture” springs into life.  I sit enraptured only to be disturbed after two minutes, Parkin whispering fiercely into my ear, “Are there any words Barnes!!” “Yes Sir, of course” I reply, “Just leave it a couple of minutes,” unconvinced, he stands arms folded against the wall.  Sweating slightly I pray for the first time, Lee, Lifeson and Peart bring “Overture” to an end.  After what seems an age, the explosive closing before Lee proclaims “And the meek shall inherit the earth,” Lifeson breaking effortlessly into “The Temples of Syrinx” riff and Peart laying bare one of his signature fills. I relax once more…….but no, what’s this, within what feels but seconds, Parkin moves swiftly across the room, quickly removing my prize possession from the turntable, exclaiming, “No, no, no…..we can’t hear a word he’s saying….that’s no good at all” to huge amusement from the rest of the class.  In that moment, I’m the lyrical subject, transported in front of the Priests, pleading “Listen to my music, hear what it can do, there’s something here as strong as life, I know that it will reach you” only to be ridiculed and rejected “Don’t annoy us further, we have our work to do, think about the average, what use have they for you,” “Forget about your silly whim, it doesn’t fit the plan.”   In hindsight it seems obvious, skipping to the calmer, clearer tones of “Discovery” an ideal plan, one which would have surely survived authority scrutiny, at the time however, unveiling the full twenty minute epic the only course of action to an impressionable thirteen year old.  

Whatever the influence behind 2112, perhaps a comment towards the perceived manipulation of communism, or general media tendencies to force feed  safe, conventional lines, my interpretation will always be one which highlights the majority’s in-ability to actually listen, instead make snap judgements based on initial knee jerk reactions. 

If you’ve never heard, or have ignored Rush in the past, give 2112 more chance than a tweed wearing, elbow patched English teacher unable to appreciate an absolute classic of a undeservedly much maligned genre.

www.rush.com