With an impressive light show and huge LCD screens flashing images of the band members, it was an audio and visual assault that never relented. Rush doesn't need the huge stage production for their intricately played tunes, but it does amplify and shift the concert into a fully encompassing live experience.
Knocking out tunes like "Presto," "Workin' Them Angels" and "Leave That Thing Alone," Rush were in top form, never missing a beat or note as the musical chemistry between all three members is off the charts. While most fans want to hear the older songs, Rush continues to produce high quality new songs that rock equally hard as the older tunes. "Faithless" from their latest album and a new track "Brought Up To Believe (BU2B)" meshed perfectly into their setlist.
After a scintillating version of "Free Will" and the explosive fireworks during "Marathon," Geddy Lee turned to his synthesizers for the swirling pads of "Subdivisions" augmented by its classic keyboard solo performed on a Moog keyboard. Lee then excused himself and the band said they needed a 30 minute break due to their advanced age.
The atmosphere of celebration continued with the classic rock staple "Tom Sawyer" which provided some hilarious moments as the screens in the background showed monkeys playing along to the song. Red lights flickered on the stage during "Red Barchetta" with Lee and Alex Lifeson frequently exchanging smiles while coming to the front of the stage to rock out.
Stretching out and obliterating normal time signatures, the instrumental "YYZ" was extra sweet with Lifeson delicately applying some smooth tremolo to spice up the song. "Witch Hunt (Part III of Fear)" blew my mind as Neil Peart played the cowbell part of the song via a foot trigger while fireballs exploded in the background.
Another new track, "Caravan," was stunning with its odd time shifts and written in a more comfortable vocal range for Lee. Taking another break, Lifeson and Lee exited the stage to give Peart the spotlight for a mind boggling drum solo that had him alternating between an acoustic and electronic drum kit. A new concert rule should be instituted that drum solos should not be performed unless your name is Neil Peart.
Strumming a 12 string guitar, Lifeson effortlessly led into the pristine "Closer To The Heart". The iconic "Starman" logo flashed on the screen for a double whammy of "2112 Part I: The Overture" and "2112 Part II: The Temples of Syrinx" before closing their main set with "Far Cry". For the encore, the instrumental bliss of "La Villa Strangiato" and live staple "Working Man" concluded their ironman twenty-six song setlist.
Personal Bias: "Subdivisions" is one of my favorite songs featuring synthesizers.
Crowd: Exactly like the movie "I Love You, Man." Rush probably breaks the world record for the number people simultaneously playing air drums, bass and guitar every night.
Random Notebook Dump: Former Major League Baseball pitcher Randy Johnson was photographing a few spots from me near the soundboard.
"The Spirit of The Radio"
"Time Stand Still"
"Stick It Out"
"Workin' Them Angels"
"Leave That Thing Alone"
"Brought Up To Believe (BU2B)"
"The Camera Eye"
"Closer To The Heart"
"2112 Part I: The Overture"
"2112 Part II: The Temples of the Syrinx"
"La Villa Strangiato"