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Rush - A Passage to Bangkok

Our first stop is in Bogota
To check Columbian fields
The natives smile and pass along
A sample of their yield
Sweet Jamaican pipe dreams
Golden Acapulco nights
Then Morocco, and the East,
Fly by morning light

We're on the train to Bangkok
Aboard the Thailand Express
We'll hit the stops along the way
We only stop for the best

Wreathed in smoke in Lebanon
We burn the midnight oil
The fragrance of Afghanistan
Rewards a long day's toil
Pulling into Katmandu
Smoke rings fill the air
Perfumed by a Nepal night
The Express gets you there

"A Passage to Bangkok" is the second song on Rush's album, 2112. Released in 1976, the song follows the album's title song 2112. The song opens with a driving guitar riff that appears throughout the song. The song's lyrics have been interpreted as relating to marijuana, as the song references places such as Colombia, Mexico, Cambodia, Jamaica, Morocco, Thailand, Afghanistan, "golden acapulco nights" (a possible reference to Acapulco gold), Nepal, and Lebanon. Many fans believe the song tells a story about drug smuggling with the train as a metaphor for world travel. The song's length is approximately 3:34. In earlier performances of the song (such as the version recorded on Exit...Stage Left), Geddy Lee would use a doubleneck Rickenbacker guitar, so that he could play rhythm guitar during Alex Lifeson's guitar solo. However, when the song was played on the 2007-2008 Snakes And Arrows Tour, Lee used his Rickenbacker 4001 bass to play the song. During the performance of this song on the 2007 Snakes And Arrows Tour, the video footage projected behind the band includes close-up shots of marijuana plants and scenes from the movie Reefer Madness, reinforcing the common intrepretation of the song. Green and purple lights were also used during the song in conjunction with a fog machine to create the illusion of marijuana smoke. A shot of poppy plants in a field is also shown, alluding to opium. The introduction and finale of the song both incorporate the Asian Riff. Tool frequently uses the main riff of "A Passage to Bangkok" as the intro for their own song "Cold and Ugly" (and "Jambi" at several shows on their 2006-2007 tour) when they play it live.

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