I believe I mentioned in a post earlier this year that Rush gets better with age. It’s true. Their shows are tighter. The new music is well rehearsed and road tested. The light show is well orchestrated. It’s an airborne jump boot spit shine. I don’t see how these guys do it after all these years but it is clear that their passion is as strong today as it was when they started out.
With over 30 years of music under their belt, there is no guest opener and there is no “cutting it short”. The Rush concert started at 8pm right on time with a music countdown over the PA. When the lights went down at about a quarter after, the show started with a video story in what has become custom to Rush concerts today. Intermission was around a little after 9pm. The show got going again somewhere around 9:20 and we were headed to the car around 11pm, making it home at near midnight.
With having so much music, with a new album, you’re never going to hear everything you want to hear as a fan. BUT, and this is a large fat lady butt, with Rush shows there is never disappointment because there are always the other songs that get pulled out of the vault for every tour. Missing from the song list was The Trees but instead from Hemishpheres they played Circumstances. La Villa Strangiato technically opened the show as a symphonic version was the background music over the PA right at 8pm.
Jerry Stiller opened the R30 Tour hoping the trio would play Bangkok. The melody made it into the R30 Overture, but not the entire version. The whole song, released in 1976 on the album 2112, did make it into this year’s tour. Two songs off of Permanent Waves also made it in; Freewill and Spirit of the Radio. SOTR ended the show before a short break and the encore. Speaking of openers and closers, three tunes from Moving Pictures, the band’s largest selling album, set the tone here. Limelight was the band’s first song of the evening. Tom Sawyer was the first tune in the encore. YYZ was the last song of the night. From the album Signals came Subdivisions and a live rarity Digital Man, which was so nicely performed it sounded like it was just recorded yesterday (Signals was released in 1982).
And then there’s the new music off the album Snakes and Arrows. The first four or five songs of the second set after intermission were all new. The band didn’t mix them in with the old and it didn’t quell the enthusiasm of the crowd, which has to be the largest crowd to attend a Rush show that I’ve been to. I’m not sure how many people can fit into the venue, but it certainly looked filled to capacity – maybe 12 to 15 thousand fans. Area thunderstorms didn’t turn any one person away. Their new hit single Far Cry opened the second set. Of the new tunes, an instrumental called The Main Monkey Business did creep into the first set.
But again, it’s the tunes you don’t expect that linger with me from any Rush show. This tour the song Mission from Hold Your Fire was a complete surprise to hear and what a joy to see performed in person. The album was given to me as a gift by my brother many years ago (released in 1987). Completely symbolic of his generosity, energy, and understanding, I remember getting it, as a cassette tape, and after unwrapping the present he said to me “let’s go for a ride.” So completely attuned to what it was like for a teenage boy to have a car with a stereo (mine was a ’73 Buick Regal with a thumpin’ Pioneer system), Dwan knew what the newest Rush album in my car meant to me. I’m not sure how long we drove around the hills of Morgan County that night listening, not ever speaking, to the newest inspiring music from Rush.
And that’s what makes Rush shows so entirely unique to me – the band always seems to brush the dust off the right songs to bring back memories that inspire and rekindle the best of what’s deep down inside. I certainly have come to understand that with age and responsibility also come the many layers that mask those younger learnings. Thank God there’s Rush to keep the dream alive!
Viva la Rush!