Rush Reboot (bonus track) – Red Sector A (1984)

Feeling a little fatalistic this morning, so decided it was time to post this one as a bonus track. The backstory of Geddy’s roots (see below) are crucial to the soul of this song.

The song Red Sector A from the album Grace Under Pressure.


Pasted from Wikipedia:

“Red Sector A” is a song by Rush that provides a first-person account of a nameless protagonist living in an unspecified prison camp setting. “Red Sector A” first appeared on the band’s 1984 album Grace Under Pressure.

Lyricist Neil Peart has stated that the detailed imagery in the song intentionally evokes concentration camps of the Holocaust, although he left the lyrics ambiguous enough that they could deal with any similar prison camp scenario.[1] The song was inspired in part by Geddy Lee‘s mother’s accounts of the Holocaust.

Geddy Lee explained the genesis of the song in an interview:

The seeds for the song were planted nearly 60 years ago in April 1945 when British and Canadian soldiers liberated the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen. Lee’s mother, Manya (now Mary) Rubenstein, was among the survivors. (His father, Morris Weinrib, was liberated from the Dachau concentration camp a few weeks later.) The whole album “Grace Under Pressure,” says Lee, who was born Gary Lee Weinrib, “is about being on the brink and having the courage and strength to survive.”


Music: Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson
Lyrics: Neil Peart

All that we can do is just survive
All that we can do to help ourselves
Is stay alive…

Ragged lines of ragged grey
Skeletons, they shuffle away
Shouting guards and smoking guns
Will cut down the unlucky ones

I clutch the wire fence
Until my fingers bleed
A wound that will not heal —
A heart that cannot feel —
Hoping that the horror will recede
Hoping that tomorrow —
We’ll all be freed

Sickness to insanity
Prayer to profanity
Days and weeks and months go by
Don’t feel the hunger — too weak to cry

I hear the sound of gunfire
At the prison gate
Are the liberators here —
Ao I hope or do I fear?
For my father and my brother, it’s too late
But I must help my mother
Stand up straight…

Are we the last ones left alive?
Are we the only human beings
To survive?…

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