The unmistakable voice of Geddy Lee…the shredding riffs of Alex Lifeson…& Neil Peart, one of the five best drummers in musical history – RUSH laid it down in St. Louis, MO on the current Clockwork Angels Tour. After almost 40 years of creating hits, these three men are a force of rock‘n’roll to be dealt with…bringing that feel & style from the late 60’s/early 70’s – when the scene was blown away by the likes of The Who, Cream, & Led Zeppelin. Like the others, Rush has stayed true to their genre. A base layer of “classic rock”, mixed with a touch of synthesizers & a two-story video screen, the Canadian power-trio gives the audience a FULL ON audio/video orgasm.
The first time I ever saw a Rush concert, I was probably 13 years old…at the “Checkered Dome” in St. Louis. The arena has long since been torn down, but that memory has been burned forever into my brain. The first thing I remember saying to my brother was, “How does so much sound come from just three guys?” Roll the Bones, the band’s fourteenth studio album, was the first time I think I ever even heard Neil speak!
These guys do not just merely make albums or play songs – they create an “escape from reality” & transport you into another world…THEIR WORLD. You are surrounded by pulsing lights, waves of sounds, & video clips that make you forget it is (in fact) a concert. To hear songs like “Dreamline” & “The Trees” on the radio do not do them any justice – compared to seeing them LIVE. At times, you will find yourself fully entranced by what is happening all around you…& Rush does a very good job at treating each audience member as a premiere spectator.
Tonight, they didn’t look any different than the other time I’ve seen them perform…except for the fact that the band is aging. Geddy was sporting his classic “Three Stooges” t-shirt…with Curly giving his half-cocked smile, Alex was wearing all black with a sport coat “in full swing”, & Neil proudly adorned a simple t-shirt & his trademark skull-cap. They may not be making any fashion waves, but their global trend is with their music…& that’s what fans have come to expect. As far as looking older, they have been in the business longer than most touring acts…& much of their “youth” is retained within their performance energy. That being said…play some older Rush albums, then catch their show, & you will see how their maturity & life-long experience has enhanced the finer details of their musical abilities. To many, they sound better today than what they did in their “limelight”.
Mixing quite a bit of new music into a classic set list, the fans were not let down AT ALL. It was the “Night B” list…& included the opener of “Subdivisions”, “Big Money”, & “Force Ten”. For the second set – yes, I said SECOND SET (there was a twenty-minute intermission) – the string orchestra made its way out onto the stage. “Caravan”, “Clockwork Angels”, & “The Anarchist” led the way for the last half of the show. Ending with “Working Man”, the crowd was pleased…but definitely not done. “Tom Sawyer” would’ve (probably) left everyone satisfied, but the BIG THREE gave everyone a BONUS by playing “2112” in its entirety.
With age comes wisdom. Geddy, Alex, & Neil have been in this business long enough to have learned to give the fans what they want…but to also go the “extra mile” & give them what they weren’t expecting. Rush may not be as “wild & crazy” as some of the younger acts on the road today, but they have stayed true to their music…delivering a story with every song…& giving their loyal fans a great concert experience.
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