Friday, February 19, 2010
Friday Night Videos: 2112
In 1976, A three-piece band from Canada called Rush made one of the best rock albums of all time.
Entitled 2112, the album is two parts. The first part, which was side one when the original release came out on vinyl, was a masterful concept suite in seven parts. This concept suite was also named 2112.
With music written by frontman and bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson, and lyrics written by drummer Neil Peart, 2112 tells the dystopian story of a futuristic world that has been taken over in 2062 and is ruled by "The Priests of the Temples of Syrinx," who represent the Red Star of the Solar Federation.
By Peart's own description the lyrics were inspired by "The Genus of Ayn Rand," specifically her novella Anthem.
These "Priests" which are rulers from the Red Star control the world in a very Orwellian fashion; they determine the content of all reading matter, songs, pictures - every facet of life.
2112 begins with Act I called Overture, which is primarily an instrumental piece ending with the line "And the meek shall inherit the Earth," in reference to the Beatitudes from The Gospel of Matthew.
It then continues with an aggressive sounding self-introduction of The Priests in Act II, Temples of The Syrinx, in which the Priests describe the Totalitarian Socialist state they have created. In this self-introduction, The Priests describe how "It's one for all and all for one, We work together, common sons, Never need to wonder how or why," and "All the gifts of life are held within our walls."
In Act III, titled Discovery, a man discovers an ancient device which we soon learn is a guitar. He learns to play the guitar, and in Act IV of 2112, titled Presentation, he wishes to share its wonder with the Priests, in the belief that they will see the magic of the music and understand the value it might offer society.
However, the all-controlling Priests will have none of it, telling the man "It's just a waste of time," "Another toy will help destroy the elder race of man," and "Forget about your silly whim, it doesn't fit the plan."
After being denied by The Priests in Act IV, the man has a dream in which an oracle shows him a wonderful future in Act V, titled Oracle: The Dream. In this dream the oracle shows the man a future in which "The Elder Race" still learns and grows and aspires for individuality.
However, in Act VI, titled Soliloquy, when he awakens to find that nothing has changed and The Priests still control the world, he is so distraught that he commits suicide. As he dies, the the final act takes place in Grand Finale as another planetary battle begins, resulting in the ambiguous ending "Attention all planets of the Solar Federation: We have assumed control."
Fans of Rush have long since pondered the meaning of Grand Finale, but to me there is no question. Overture tells us that "The meek shall inherit the Earth," so undoubtedly the man's death was not in vain.
The quality of this video is not the best, as it was filmed in 1976 during the band's All The World's A Stage tour.
Additionally, while the sound quality is good this live version does not present 2112 in its entirety. It offers Acts I, II, IV, VI and VII in completion, with only a part of Act III, and it skips Act V completely. That's the internet for you... but I am ever-grateful to have found this clip.
2112 is an amazing piece of music that is amazingly representative of much of what we see happening in our world on a daily basis in its battle of Freedom versus Socialism.
If you would like to hear the complete studio version of the song, you can do so by clicking here, and if you would like to read the complete lyrics of 2112, they are available here.