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A Concert Review
My experience with Rush is a simple one - I basically liked the
songs I heard on the radio but never made it a point to expand my
musical knowledge of the band. They never instilled that "I
have to buy the CD the day it comes out" attitude, but I
wouldn't change the station when a Rush song came on. But, back when
I was in college, I knew this guy who basically thought that the
trio that is called Rush might as well be the Father, Son, and Holy
Ghost. I didn't realize how many people thought the same thing until
I caught Rush's show at The United Center in Chicago.
As the place was filling up I was trying to figure out exactly
what could draw such a devout legion of fans to fill up one of the
larger indoor venues in Chi-Town, especially since they haven't been
out in the public eye in years and their new CD, "Test for
Echo," didn't seem to be getting much attention other than
"hey, there's a new Rush CD out." I guess I would have to
wait about another three hours to figure out what that drawing power
is. In the meantime I saw a show, complete with about a gazillion
lights, more mirrors than, well, a house of mirrors, a giant video
screen, and a stage set-up that included what looked like a
cardboard cut-out of a Baywatch dudette, an old-style refrigerator,
some old-style blender and milk-shake looking things, and satellite
dishes with lasers. Oh yea, there was music too.
One thing I found out by seeing Rush live is that most of that radio
stuff doesn't do them justice as musicians and music makers. Sure,
the show had many of those hits I was used to; your
"Subdivisions," "The Big Money," "Free
Will," and their latest "Test for Echo," but I got to
hear many a many a many a song I have never heard before. And I
slowly started to realize just what those 18,000ish fans saw in this
|Alex, Neil, and Geddy
As I stood and listened and watched I realized that this Alex
Lifeson character is one kick-ass guitarist. As I stood and listened
and watched I realized that this Neil Peart character plays the shit
out of the drums with the best of them (and he can spin a drumstick
between his fingers which I always find cool, and he had this
drum-set that spun around so it was actually two drum sets, and he
never missed a beat). As I stood and listened and watched I realized
that this Geddy Lee character, although looking a little aged, still
can direct this trio through musical experiences. And you know, as I
stood and listened and watched I realized that this crowd knew every
word, every beat, and appreciated every ounce of the show that Rush
put on. It was cool.
See, for all of you people like me who only know these guys from the
radio, I will tell you that you are missing something. And I don't
think that even just buying a CD or two will add to that. The
ultimate experience to change your attitude about Rush is to be
there with the worshipers, follow their lead in the "shoving
your fist in the air," "pretending to hit that cymbal
crash" moment, and realize that as musicians this band of three
can blow away many a band of, well, many.
The band was great, although it did seem like it took a little
while for them to get into the music as much as the rest of the
crowd, and they had one of the better sound systems I have seen (I
really wish I could have surround sound speakers like theirs in my
living room!). The lighting effects weren't overbearing, but added
just enough, giving a little kick when it needed but not annoying,
and if you like a good solo, from guitar to drum, this band puts it
out there for you.
I can't really say that I am now a member of the Church of Rush,
but I can say I have been enlightened a little. This is a band that
radio can never do justice, I guess mostly because the really cool
songs are too long. You sure as hell won't hear many stations
playing the full blown version of "2112" that the band
played at their show. It's too bad.
The band played for nearly three hours - two sets with a "Geritol"
break of about 20 minutes in the middle. It was three hours I can
honestly say weren't wasted. I only had one problem with the show.
Hmm, I don't know if it's a problem, it's just my feelings keep
changing from "who cares?" to "What the hell does he
need that for? Who's gonna care if he forgets a line, it will just
add to this show being more special?" See, Geddy Lee was using
a "lyric monitor." Basically a little TV that scrolls the
lyrics to the songs so he doesn't have to worry about forgetting a
line. Part of me says that it takes away from some of the
spontaneity of a live show, but the technical part of me knows that
it can really screw some things up, lighting and laser wise, if a
song isn't played right. I guess it's just something that will
continue to keep me awake at night. I can say this, whether the
crowd knew it was there or not, they sure didn't seem to care, so, I
guess I shouldn't care either.
Oh yea, I have to rate the band! Well, I liked the show and the
crowd seemed to love it, so it's going to be the TWO BIG GIANT
THUMBS UP for Rush!
That's it for this one, I'm The Dude on the Right! L8R!!!