I’ve been busy, traveling, unmotivated…blah, blah, blah…
Trying to get back into the swing here, finish up my trip notes and maybe move into the “beyond” part of this blog.
So, one of the things I’ve done since my last post was attend Rush. Let’s ease back into things with a quick review.
Alright, maybe a bit more then.
I’m lucky to have a friend who spent many years working for the band. So, when I called and asked him if he’d see about tickets he said yes. I was actually a guest of the lighting director and had a chance to hang out before the show and at intermission. (But, enough bragging.)
This tour dubbed the “Time Machine Tour” was the second time I’ve seen the band. (The other being on the “Snakes & Arrows Tour” a few years back.) This show was an improvement over that one…my major memory of that one mostly of it being LOUD. Same venue in Irvine, but this show was mixed perfectly. So, much so that my friend Dave (a true audiophile) went and thanked the A-1 at the break for a great job. The show opened with an amusing “true” story of the band “Rash”. Corny, fun and amusing…not Oscar material, but a nice winking inside joke with the legions of Rush fans who had packed the venue.
They opened with “Spirit of Radio” and frankly Geddy’s voice sounded somewhat bad on the first number. The band is tight, but I begin to worry what the ravages of age have done and how the show will unfold. Thankfully, it really seems mostly that he needed a warm up because by the time the second song, “Time Stand Still” led into “Presto” he sounded just fine. Maybe some adjustments to lower keys, but he was nailing the arrangements. And, the musicianship was never in question. All three make a huge sound tight sound and play with the easy familiarity of guys who’ve been playing together for over 30 years.
The rest of the first set featured mostly material from the 80’s and beyond. “Leave that thing alone”, “Workin’ Them Angels”, “Faithless”, “Stick it Out”. A new song “Brought up to believe” was quite striking, proving the band isn’t just rehashing the hits, but still has something in the tank. That new song then led to the triple punch of “Freewill” into “Marathon” and then “Subdivisions” to close the first set.
After a break and some time to grab a tour t-shirt, they played a second video about “Rash”. By the way, it bears mention that the stage set was quite amusing. Sort of a steam-punk look with a nod to sausage making…no joke. In fact at a couple points a crew member pushed a cart behind Geddy and dumped rubber chickens into the large machine that filled the spot most bands would place amp stacks…from the far end came an endless stream of sausage links…clearly, they guys are not pretentious…
The second set began with and featured the complete “Moving Pictures” album. It was a flawless version of a classic album. From there they played another new song “Caravan” that gave way to the expected Neil Peart solo. This one touched on swing music with video of guys like Gene Krupa and big bands samples playing along. If you have to have a drum solo…he’s one of the best at keeping it from just being boring repetition. The second set then featured another powerful trio of songs to close…”Closer to the Heart” into “2112 Overture/Temples of Syrinx” and “Far Cry from their last album.
The encores were: “La Villa Strangiato” and “Working Man” after which they played a very funny video supposedly live from backstage. The best line being…”I counted at least seven women in the crowd, that’s a new record for one of our shows….” Once again, pretty obvious they don’t take themselves as seriously as some of their more obsessive fans might…(also a subject of the video). It was a lot like the outtakes of a movie over the credits and it left the audience on a happy note, where normally there is a groan when the house lights come up and the encores end. A nice touch.
Since I was there because of the LD, it bears mention at how good the rig was for the show. Google up some photos, but imagine a six armed “transformer” suspended over the band and you’ll get a sense of how it worked. It was a vital element to the show and really added to the overall show. Great stuff, and worth seeing if they come around on a second leg of the tour. I mean, aside from ZZ Top, how many complete original bands from the 70’s are still out there…(Aerosmith maybe…but no one else comes to mind right now.)
Here’s a couple photos from my iphone: