Bastille Day: Background
The French Revolution imagery was “inspired by Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, with proud and defiant guitar rifs and tempos. Neil’s first real themes of a class struggle and oppression. The opening line was what the Queen of France said: ‘If there’s no bread, let them eat cake.'”—Robert Telleria, Merely Players
Geddy’s high vocals in the piece evoke the “righteous anger” of that revolutionary period.—Christopher McDonald, Rush, Rock Music, and the Middle Class
“‘Bastille Day’ is a barnstormer of a speed metaller, one of the band’s heaviest three or four songs, wrapped around a tale of the French Revolution, vocals on fire.”—Martin Popoff, Contents Under Pressure
“‘Bastille Day’ is one of the finest hard rock songs ever recorded, with music to match the angry words of the French Revolution. . . . Neil expresses both the savagery of the mob and the reasons for its behavior. While at other times in the band’s career Neil’s mistrust of people acting en masse would bring out a palpabe loathing of such collective action [think ‘Witch Hunt,’ for example], on this song you can’t quite tell which side he is on. This impression is reinforced by Geddy’s passionate vocal. After all, the band now had the experience of playing in front of thousands of excited people and seen both the positive and negative aspects of communal experiences.”—Bill Banasiewicz, Rush Visions
“Rush’s Led Zeppelin influence is most obviously prominent on Caress of Steel in ‘Bastille Day’ (which discusses the storming of the Bastille in the French Revolution), though it is apparent on all three of the shorter songs on the album. The piece reappeared on the R30 CD and DVD as part of the instrumental ‘R30 Overture.’ Reportedly, Dream Theater‘s core members John Petrucci, Mike Portnoy and John Myung named the first incarnation of the band Majesty after a comment by Portnoy suggesting the ending of ‘Bastille Day’ was majestic.—Wikipedia
~ by rvkeeper on January 11, 2011.