Review: 'Rush' in concert, pleasing three generations of fans
Classic rock band 'Rush' makes a stop in Chula Vista, CA as a part of their Time Machine Tour. The performance is fun for all rock fans.
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This is the main feature of the Time Machine tour,RUSH playing their monster 1980 hit recordMoving Pictures in it’s entirety to celebrate it’s 30th Anniversary. Now for me this record is a double edged sword. On one hand it was another record by these master craftsmen that I loved, the problem was, so did everyone else. Moving Pictures movedRUSH into uncharted territory for popularity, and for me this was a problem, a selfish problem, RUSHwas my band. That may sound funny but as I said I have been a huge fan since day one.
Who were these sweater around their neck, Jordache Jean wearing wannabe RUSH fans bringing girls to the show, that’s right girls to a RUSH concert. Who ever heard of such a thing? RUSH shows were in small venues filled with long haired pimply faced screaming dudes that worshiped these Gods of progressive hard rock. Who were these people? I hated them. Now RUSH was playing large sold out arenas and I was pissed, I really was. Good for the band, bad for me. I told you this was selfish, but damn it, that’s how I felt at the time. I have mellowed a bit in my old age and enjoy RUSH shows with all the other fans, man, woman, boy or girl. I like the fact that the guys are getting the recognition they deserve. Are you listening Rock and Roll Hall of Lame?
Anyway, back to the show. Since Moving Pictures was and is such a popular record, RUSH has made numerous songs off the album staples at their live shows. ‘Tom Sawyer‘ and ‘YYZ‘ have been played live on every tour since the release of the record, and I’m pretty sure ‘Limelight‘ also has, along with ‘Red Barchetta‘ getting regular rotation as well. The other three tracks, ‘Witch Hunt,’ The Camera Eye‘ and ‘Vital Signs‘ not so much.
Since I have seen RUSH live so many times, the first four songs I mentioned were not as intriguing to see live as the other three. I was especially excited to see ‘The Camera Eye‘ played live, and I was not disappointed. ‘The Camera Eye‘ in typical RUSH tradition is by far the longest song off the record, clocking in at just over eleven minutes. The music compliments the lyrics of the song perfectly, taking you on a journey through a bustling city (New York to be exact) but really all cities around the world with faceless people frantically and methodically trying to make their way through another day. It is such a beautiful and powerful song, rich with Geddy’s brilliant keyboard work throughout as Alex ( a very underrated guitarist) performs a face melting solo. Next up, ‘Witch Hunt‘ the dark and ominous tale of vigilante type censorship from those who pretentiously think they know what’s best for us.
Visual Effects For The Ages!
Did I mention all the amazing visual effects that accompany this piping hot, delicious feast of tuneage? No? RUSH could perform on a cement slab with three white spotlights placed upon them and that would more than satisfy the throngs of dedicated fans, but no, not RUSH they give you every pennies worth. Not only with their stellar performance but with their visual show as well.
The video’s I already mentioned. The lighting features more colored lights than I could count, including an overhead, mechanical, moving spider like rig that descends and transforms into various configurations. A large video screen that represents something you might see on a Steampunk device, flames towering into the night air from all around the stage, fog, and pyrotechnics, almost to much to take in, but I enjoyed trying. The attention to detail was staggering, everywhere I looked there was something new to see and discover. During ‘The Camera Eye‘ I noticed moving eyeballs peering out from around Neil’s drum riser, wow. Remember this was my second time seeing this tour, so I wanted to take it all in. Not only musically but visually.
To conclude the Moving Pictures celebration was the song ‘Vital Signs‘ a tune depicting human emotions and needs as circuits and mechanical devices, almost computer like.
Next up another new song from the forthcoming record called ‘Caravan.’ A longer number that plays even heavier and more progressively than ‘BU2B.’ Neil breaks into one of his legendary drum solo’s which features three parts on both his acoustic and electronic sets. The first segment is more of an improvised solo allowing Neil to stretch out and just riff, and riff he did. The next part is played on his electronic set that is more cerebral and subdued but equally as impressive. The third, as his drum riser spins back around to his acoustic set (this guy really is the ‘Professor on the drum kit’) is a jam with a triggered big band that he plays along with. Some of Neil’s influences come from the big band era. Masters of the skins like Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich are some of his heroes. At the conclusion of his mind blowing solo, Neil, being Neil, (one who shy’s away from the spotlight) disappears from behind his drums as the lights go out.
Alex (he is somewhat of a ham) gladly takes the spotlight and playing an acoustic guitar performs the song ‘Hope‘ which morphs into ‘Closer To The Heart‘ as Neil and Geddy rejoin him onstage. Then, that all to well known sound for RUSH fans, the intro to their sci-fi epic ‘2112‘ kicks in, and we all go nuts. Since ‘2112‘ is originally a twenty minute anthem, RUSH performs only the first two parts of the song, ‘Part 1: Overture‘ and ‘Part II: The Temples Of Syrinx‘ I was secretly hoping Alex would continue into ‘Part III: Discovery‘ but it was not meant to be. The last time RUSH performed ‘2112‘ in it’s entirety live was their 1997 tour in support of their Test For Echo record. Someday I hope to witness it again.
They closed the show with ‘Far Cry‘ from their Snakes and Arrows album. I know they had been playing for almost three hours but it seemed to end all to soon. After a short time with the crowd demanding an encore, RUSH reappeared on stage and Alex and Geddy generously tossed a hand full of tee shirts to the appreciative crowd. Then they began to play a strange polka flavored tune that led them into ‘La Via Strangiato‘ a monumental instrumental song off Hemispheres.
I know the boys need to change it up and entertain themselves as well as us now and then, but this is onetime I wish they had not altered the intro to this masterpiece, but so be it, it still rocked! The last song of the night was a reggae fueled version of ‘Working Man‘ their first radio hit from way back in 1974 (do you think they have played that song a few million times?). It was a raucous version with Alex, Geddy and Neil pulling out all the stops and blasting us with a scorching rendition of this rocker. At the conclusion, Neil and Alex gratefully waved goodbye to the crowd as Geddy yelled into the mic, “Thank you so very much, we hope to see you all again sometime” and disappeared stage right.
Now normally at this point of most concerts the crowd makes a mad dash for the exits, but not so tonight, a third video began to play and most of the crowd stayed to watch. This one featured actors Jason Segel and Paul Rudd playing their characters Sydney Fife and Peter Klaven from their movie ‘I Love You Man‘ in which RUSH made a concert cameo. This time our heroes find themselves backstage in RUSH’s dressing room hoping to get a double neck bass guitar signed by the band but are soon busted by Geddy, Alex and Neil themselves. A strange and comical exchange ensues and Fife and Klaven are unceremoniously booted out. But it has a happy ending as Geddy steps out and hands them the signed bass.
This was a magical evening spent with the greatest rock band in the world putting on the greatest show on earth…period.
SpaceTrucker blogs at Rock Choice.
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