When I found the clips of Rush performing 2112 in Passaic, NJ, December, 1976, I was instantly transported back to the spring of that year. Strangely, the Sioux Falls Arena gig doesn't appear in their 2112 tour date list. It happened, whether they want to admit it or not. I was there. I think they were with Blue Oyster Cult, but I was there for Rush. 2112 was, for me, something akin to a mystical experience. Not since Jethro Tull's Aqualung had I been so completely enthralled by any rock album.
I was deeply moved by the story line:
In the year 2062, a galaxy-wide war results in the union of all planets under the rule of the Red Star of the Solar Federation. The world is controlled by the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx, who determine the content of all reading matter, songs, pictures - every facet of life during the year 2112 ("The Temples of Syrinx"). A man discovers a guitar (ancient miracle) and learns to play new, different music from what he has ever heard. When he goes to present this to the priests of the Temples, they destroy the guitar. He goes into hiding and dreams of music; upon awakening he becomes severely depressed and commits suicide after a few more days in hiding. As he dies, another planetary battle begins ("Grand Finale") resulting in the (perhaps deliberately) ambiguous ending "Attention all planets of the Solar Federation: We have assumed control."This was back when joints were openly passed at rock shows without having to worry about winding up in prison for ten years. At fifteen, this was about as good as it got. Geddy, Alex, and Neil wore their little Temple of Syrinx white robe thingies. I found that very dramatic. It never ceases to amaze me when grown men really nail what a teenage boy would consider totally cool.
How do they do that?
Anyway, the whole 2112 side of the album is on Youtube in two parts. I only posted the second because the first is kind of boring, but Part Two is an awesome summation of an entire era of mid-seventies power pop.
Sensitive intro, followed by Geddy Lee's Vienna Boy's Choir thing and lots of power chords. Nice hair. Drama. A guitar solo by Alex Lifeson that verges on comic. More sensitive but rudimentary finger picking over a soothing waterfall sound track, power chords again, and then, the big, sensitive operatic climax: I don't think I can carry on, carry on this cold and empty life. Whoa no no noooo! (dramatic minor key solo). My liyifes blood, spills owovuuuuh! Shift to upbeat major key rock god guitar duo theatrics. Note tight knit pants. Neil Peart doing his trademark rapid fire heavy thudding thing. Then, the ridiculous voice. Feedback. Light another joint. Hold up lighter. Awesome!