Geddy Lee - vocals, bass, synthesizers; Alex Lifeson - guitar; Neil Peart - drums, percussion
This show was recorded in Rush's homeland of Canada, just as the band was exploding worldwide. Although they had been superstars in North America, it was during this period that the band finally shed its Zeppelin sound-alike tag, and began getting recognized for the libertarian and sci-fi lyrics of drummer Neil Peart (inspired mostly by novelist Ayn Rand).
There are only three songs in this mini-set broadcast by the King Biscuit Flower Hour (from a show that lasted two hours and would be released as the Exit…Stage Left album), but there is enough to hear what the band was about during this period. "Tom Sawyer" is probably the band's best known song but excellent versions of "La Villa Strangiato" and "Jacob's Ladder" also showcase the band's musicianship.
The roar of the audience after each song makes it apparent how massive Rush had become by the time these tracks were recorded.
The band was formed in Toronto's suburbs by guitarist Alex Lifeson, drummer John Rutsey, and a bassist/vocalist who left after the first show. He was quickly replaced by Geddy Lee, who started with the band's second performance, and has been the front man and vocalist ever since. Lee and Lifeson soldiered through a busy Toronto club scene from 1968 until 1974, when the band was signed to Mercury Records. Rutsey, who played drums on the debut LP, left before the band began touring the U.S. because of health issues involving diabetes. He gave up drumming and became a body builder before dying in his sleep from a heart attack in May, 2008. Rutsey was replaced by Peart, who not only became the band's drummer but also its main lyricist.
It was WMMS-FM in Cleveland, who actually broke the band in the U.S. They added the song, "Working Man," in heavy rotation, which helped get the band touring slots with Uriah Heep and Manfred Mann's Earth Band. The band's career had its big breakthrough in the late 1970s, with the release of the futuristic LP, 2112. Since then, the band has remained one of the biggest hard rock acts in the world with 24 gold records and 14 platinum (three multi-platinum) records to its credit.