Rush's 90-minute concert video A Show of Hands is arguably better than predecessors Exit Stage Left and Grace Under Pressure Tour. The song selection is similar to the identically named live album, but the video was filmed at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, England, in 1988 on the Hold Your Fire tour whereas only about half of the album performances were recorded there. A Show of Hands, directed by Larry Jordan, is notable for featuring mostly newer, mid-'80s songs, although old hits like "Closer to the Heart," "The Spirit of Radio," and "Tom Sawyer" are obligatory choices. Rush's extensive use of rear-screen animation and film footage on stage is edited nicely with the performances of vocalist/bassist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson, and drummer Neil Peart. The main highlights are "Marathon," "Turn the Page," "Manhattan Project," and "Force Ten." Peart's astonishing drum solo on "The Rhythm Method" is improperly titled because it actually begins with the band performing the instrumental "YYZ." The encore medley of "2112"/"La Villa Strangiato"/"In the Mood" is a lot of fun, right down to the on-screen "warning" about the censored offensive and subversive remarks Lifeson supposedly mumbles into his microphone. It was just playful gibberish, but Rush is usually viewed as a serious band with no sense of humor. Some fans took the warning seriously and still asked Rush about it years later. People should remember that Lee sang on the Bob and Doug McKenzie novelty hit "Take Off" and Rush takes the stage to the Three Stooges theme!
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AllMusic Review by Bret Adams