For 38 years Rush has been the underdog band, they never seem to get the credit they deserve but keep on rocking nonetheless. Even after selling millions of albums, sold out arenas around the world and performed at the highest level they never seem to get the main stream attention other lesser bands get. After all these years these bands come and go and Rush continues to rock the building. Considered one of the best live acts in the business, going to a Rush concert is a geeky orgasm. Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart are three of the best musicians in rock. All three of them are respected and considered among the best in their respective instrument. Neil is by far the most influential drummer of the last 30 years. Most kit players these days have been influenced by Peart one way or another. Geddy is also a pretty good musician. As a bass player he’s easily one of the top performers in the game but what really sets him apart is the way he can multi task during a concert often playing the keyboards and bass at the same time while singing.
After more than 35 years of touring they decided to give it another shot, this time to promote their new album, Clockwork Angels. As a long time fan I was glad to hear that this new album was actually something to look forward to as their last few of their recent work was lackluster at best. For those who don’t know, going to a Rush concert means going to see at least 2 and a half hours of music, at least. For the Clockwork Angels tour we are getting around three hours of music with a 15 minute interlude. The first part of the concert was a surprising one as they decided to dig deep in to their 80′s catalog. Some if these songs hadn’t been played for 30 years. It was welcoming to hear a set of music that reminded us of how deep their catalog is.
Subdivisions was the opener, a staple song of their 80′s repertoire and one that many identify themselves with when it first released. The Big Money and Force Ten followed keeping the same style that includes keyboards as their main instrument; creating atmospheres that are very different from their early 70′s prog albums. Next up they played three songs that aren’t as well known to casual fans but were also good additions to the style they were playing. Territories was quite a treat. The Analog Kid was the first real highlight of the night as all three members executed their parts to perfection. They ended the first section of the night with an instrumental song called Where’s my Thing which included Neil Peart’s obligatory solo, followed up by the first change in style of the evening, Far Cry from the album Snakes & Arrows.
The second part of the show is when they really let things go. Featuring a string section that included a group of very enthusiastic players, Rush decided to highlight their new work playing 9 songs out of their new album. Caravan started off the second half just like in the album, this is easily my favorite song of the new album and they gave it the whole Rush Production treatment, which was great. Fireworks, moving lights and extra screens accompanied all new songs. Each song featured very well thought out videos, as well as their own individual production. The Wreckers and The Garden were probably the best songs in this set. My only complaint is that they’ve been alternating between Seven Cities of Gold and Wish Them Well between cities and we got to hear the latter which is not nearly as good. Dreamline was next followed by a very interesting electronic drum solo, The Percussor. Red Sector A followed, one of the highlights of the show for me, specially in the lighting department. Finally the third part included their greatest hits which really rocked the house. YYZ, The Spirit of Radio followed by the encore which included Tom Sawyer and 2112 were more than enough to send all fans happy.
This was my fifth time seeing them. I have a couple of notes I want to add before giving my final score. Geddy’s voice is nowhere near what it once was. I don’t really enjoy the style he employs to cover up the flaws aging has brought. I know i’m being a little bit picky but I’m doing a review so I have to bring it up. Their playing is still flawless and their production values are good (not up to the Vapor Trails or R30 tours though). I also saw a real decrement in the crowd size. I use to see them sell out the house. Even with the new album they had a good 20% of the arena empty, a sign that maybe their days as a big time act are finally coming to an end. I was still pleased by what I saw but wasn’t surprised anymore. It’s still one of the best concerts out there. If you’re a fan and haven’t seen them go out and buy a ticket before they completely lose it. They aren’t that old yet, they aren’t in their 60′s yet, and may still have a good 5 years of good playing to go, but that doesn’t mean i’ll be attending another 3 hour marathon. I think I’ve seen them enough times.
SCORE: 8.1 out of 10.0
The Big Money
The Analog Kid
Where’s my Thing
Wish Them Well
Red Sector A
The Percussor (Drum Solo)
The Spirit of Radio
2112 Part I Overture
2112 Part II The Temple of Syrinx
2112 Part VII The Grand Finale