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After four respectable studio albums throughout the 1980's - comprising Signals though to Hold Your Fire - it was once again time for Rush to release a live record. After all, they did have a penchant for releasing one live album for every four studio recordings. Meticulous band, I know. Anyways, "A Show of Hands" was their third offering outside of the studio and would turn out to be another impressive addition to the series of live releases the band had been issuing since 1976.
Ironically enough Rush chose the Three Stooges theme to open their shows on this tour. I say ironically because Lifeson, Peart and Lee are anything but stooges. Their ability to release quality album after quality album had been well documented by this point. A Show Of Hands would turn out to be no different. Every song on this album is played well and there are few points when the release really drags on. Subdivisions & Distant Early Warning are the obvious standouts having been the best tracks on their respective studio albums. Live they are just as inspiring. Marathon and Mission are two other highlights. The latter from Hold Your Fire sounds much more sincere and emotionally driven in a live setting moreso than in the studio, while the same can be said for the former. Mystic Rhythms is another track that comes across sounding like a million bucks on this album despite it's subdued nature. The song's heavy atmosphere carries over well from the studio to the stage, also. Witch Hunt is a pleasant inclusion on this release and is another song that lives up to its past studio brilliance. It is a great song that benefits from some over the top keyboards. And as expected, Closer to the Heart closes the album in fitting fashion.
There are some lackluster moments on this album, however. Turn the Page sounds quite goofy and Time Stand Still is simply average compared to the rest of the pact. However, the obligatory Neil Peart drum solo and Red Sector A more than make up for those minor complaints.
All in all, this was business as usual for Rush and the end result is another fine live recording. Though 'A Show of Hands' may not be the first thing to spring to mind when one considers Rush's extensive list of live releases it is nevertheless a fine representation of what the band had to offer while touring in the 80's.