Although keyboards dominated Rush's 1989 double live set A Show of Hands, it's a definite improvement over its somewhat flat predecessor, 1981 's Exit...Stage Left. The band's music isn't as hard rock-based as it previously was, evidenced by the more modern-sounding compositions selected for this third live album (the first Rush album to be produced completely by the band). The only tracks from the pre-1982 period to be featured are "Closer to the Heart," which is expanded to include a jamming section at the end, and the spooky "Witch Hunt," originally from 1981's Moving Pictures. The remainder of the album's track list is comprised of Rush's best compositions from 1982-1987, such as "Subdivisions," "Distant Early Warning," "Force Ten," "Time Stand Still," and "Red Sector A," as well as several tracks that have been forgotten over time ("Marathon," "Turn the Page," "Mission," etc.). Also featured for the first time on a live Rush album is a completely unaccompanied drum solo by Neil Peart -- the intricate "Rhythm Method." The inspired A Show of Hands is an excellent snapshot of Rush in concert during the mid- to late '80s.
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato