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Rush Live in Nashville

By Tokemaster General, Contributor
Monday, June 7, 2004 @ 0:50 AM


An Even With Rush: 30th Annive

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REVIEW BY: Michael Fischer

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Get your bic lighter ready and fasten your seat belts, RUSH'ites, in honor to celebrate 30 years of Rush music.

The Mighty trio of Kings from the Great White North are back to share their on-stage magic like no other band in progressive rock history. I've seen Rush every tour since ‘Farewell to Kings’ and this tour is a real treat.

What a great night for a show! My ears are ringing and my soul is more satisfied than a 15-year old kid who just got laid by a porn star!

When 2112 came out in 1976 I was hooked. From that moment on I've been a true Rush fan and will remain forever. Funny to think I paid $6.50 for my first Rush ticket in 1977 to see Rush and Uriah Heep. Rush are once again performing 2 full sets with the "let's go out to the lobby" drive-in movie style intermission so mom can check on the babysitter while dad buys another round of $7 beers and stands in the bathroom line for an hour just to take a leak.

Tonight over 8,000 Rush fans of all ages experienced the Canadian rockers open their long-awaited 2004 world tour amongst the sea of dedicated rockers, old hells, wives, kids, mullets, and usual Nazi concert security. This show has all the elements of a killer Rush concert. Great lights and killer sound thanks to Clair Brothers Sound.

The vintage Rush “Three Stooges” intro this year was replaced with old hell "Jerry Stiller" on the videotron greeting the audience cracking a few one liners and introducing the band. Imagine Jerry in his Jewish NY accent saying, "Hey the Professor!” as our three usual suspects appear on stage to the roar of the crowd. Neil sits behind his gleaming black and gold hardware drum kit poised like a sleeping locomotive train about to fire up it's mighty engine, Sir Geddy straps on his P-Bass, (Geddy has a rotating snack machine along next to his washer and dryer this tour ), and Big Al slides into his signature white 335 and the band starts the show with a killer "R30 Medley" with that would knock your aunt Connie's socks off!

Rush opens cutting through teaser two-minute versions of "Finding My Way," "Anthem," "Passage to Bangkok," "Bastille Day" and "Hemispheres Prelude," while the giant video monitors display young images of Alex, Geddy and Neil over the last 30 years from 1974 to 2004. (Where has the time gone, eh? )

If you we're lucky enough to see Rush before 1980, the early ‘Farewell to Kings’ tour photos really give you goosebumps. It's scary to think how cosmic this band was in the day. Ah… the hair, the Rick Wakeman white cloak outfits, the 20-minute subtitle epic tunes. There are no vocals through the "R30 Medley." Just Geddy grinning, dancing around in circles (probably trying to remember how to play those songs). Personally I wanted to hear full versions of all the "R30 Medley" songs with vocals.

Rush then hits the mic with the "Spirit of Radio" (with vocals of course) and the journey for the evening begins. Set 1 had some great moments. They combined bits and pieces of the newer songs along with a few old surprises like "Red Barchetta." I was 20 rows back in front of Alex and my ears will be ringing until next summer. "YYZ" and the "Trees" are also great first set mentions. They close the first set with a cover tune off their new CD called the "Seeker," which was pretty rocking and the last tune of the set was "One Little Victory" with the giant wall of heat seeking flames.

Great dragon and character animation this tour (same By-Tor cartoon), lasers in "Red Sector A" and the background 3D screen imagery was entertaining and made for good eye candy. There's so much vivid color flying off the stage on a few songs, it would have even hurt a kids eyes. Hats off to the light crew (only 2 small fuck ups). Neil is so bad ass, when the midi sequencer screwed up and went off one beat in "Force 10," he came back in on the off beat to keep the band on track.

They rehearsed for 5 hours yesterday and have been in town all week getting ready for the show as the sound, light, video and tour bus companies are here in Nashville. So tonight was a special experience seeing them shake the dust off and do what they do best. They look happy being together as brothers.

Intermission: Time for a shot of tequila, beer and a hot dog. (The Atkins Rocker diet). We walked all the way up on the grass to huff a spleef of KGB to enhance our musical buzz and to avoid Nazi security. Get this, a 10-year old kid in a Led Zeppelin t-shirt came up and asked if we knew where to get any weed. First time I would have ever been busted by a 10-year kid. What the fuck are concerts coming to? Being it's Nashville and a Wednesday, half of the crowd was like a bump on a log. The soundman played crickets over the PA to be spiteful before the 2nd set (Or was that the new Deftones CD?)

The 2nd set Rush opened with "Tom Sawyer". I remember when they played this song live before it was released during the ‘Permanent Waves’ tour in 1981. Geddy said, "Here's a song off our new album not out yet.” I swear you could have heard a pin drop in the crowd like, "The hell with a new song!” We wanted to hear something old. Funny how the crowd reaction to that song has changed 100 degrees. Next to "Roundabout," "Tom Sawyer" is one of the greatest rock anthems ever recorded.

The concert mood and special effects are some of the best I've seen in years. A lot of smoke and Close Encounters vibes. Neil's drum solo is impeccable and always an honor to watch. He has a few new midi things going on along with the big band solo. Followed by sheer power and performance, Neil shines in the light of technical greats like Buddy Rich and energy drummers like John Bonham. A Rush concert without a Neil Peart drum solo would be a sin. (Without the Professor, there would be no Mike Portnoy). Air Supply would have been a much better band if they had listened to Rush.

The 2nd set was a little different than the last few tours. Had a great 4th gear, but the 5th gear needs some WD40. "Between the Wheels" was really good. I haven't heard that one in a while. The bass subs were on fire!

"Mystic Rhythms" was sweet too. That song makes time stand still. Only two acoustic unplugged tunes this year: "Resist" and an old ‘60s classic rock cover entitled "Heart Full of Soul," which was actually very good. Although I'd rather hear "Twilight Zone," let the guys have a little fun.

They perform a short version of their Biblical masterpiece "2112" Overture, Temples and Grand Finale. They did sacrifice the middle of "2112" for one of the best versions of "Xanadu" I've heard them play live. And yes, Alex breaks out the white Gibson double neck! At that point of the show I could have watched them play all night having high school acid flashbacks.

Rush ended the show with a heavy version of "Working Man." Alex's solo really smoked! (I bet he was thinking of a couple Naples Florida Sheriff's deputies). During "La Villa Strangiato," Alex's new trademark Jim Morrison rap about the plane crashing was pretty amusing.

Three Encore tunes: Rush returned to finish the show with two tracks off their new CD, "Summertime Blues" and "Crossroads." For a second it sounded good, and then I thought, "What the f-ck" -- 30th anniversary tour and $50 a ticket I want to hear "Something for Nothing" or an old song that's going to make me jizz all over myself. I prefer not to see pro bands play cover tunes live especially at the end of a show. They're Rush, they shouldn't have to. Those songs are not their calling card. They really had the crowd by the balls with "Xanadu" a few songs earlier. As always, the mood of the entire show would change 100% for the better when they played older material.

It was a fun encore, a little similar to the way they closed with "Finding My Way" back in the ‘80s except they played Clapton. "Fly By Night" or something by Rush would have went over a little better.

Rush ended with "Limelight" which will leave you hanging and wanting more, but hey that's showbiz. You can go home and pop in Caress of Steel on the headphones and listen to the "Fountain of Lamneth" on your own, eh.

Due to the fact this is Rush and the fact they did kick my ass tonight, just an absolute stellar performance! I give the Rush 2004 30th Anniversary tour a five star http://www.KNAC.com/ thumbs up! Concert starts at 7:30pm sharp! Intermission is quick kids.

1st SET...

R30 MEDLEY (Finding my Way, Anthem, Passage to Bangkok, Bastille Day, Hemispheres Prelude)
SPIRIT OF RADIO
FORCE 10
ANIMATE
SUBDIVISIONS
EARTHSHINE
RED BARCHETTA
ROLL THE BONES
BRAVADO
YYZ
THE TREES
SEEKER
ONE LITTLE VICTORY

2nd SET...

TOM SAWYER
DREAMLINE
SECRET TOUCH
BETWEEN THE WHEELS
MYSTIC RHYTHMS
RED SECTOR A
BATERISTA
RESIST + HEART FULL OF SOUL
2112
LA VILLA STRANGIATO
BYTOR AND THE SNOWDOG
XANADU
WORKING MAN

ENCORE...

SUMMERTIME BLUES
CROSSROADS
LIMELIGHT

OTHERS ROTATE...

HEART FULL OF SOUL
SEEKER
SHAPES
MANHATTAN PROJECT
LEAVE THAT THING ALONE
NATURAL SCIENCE



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