Friday, August 13, 2010

Rush at Gibson Amphitheater


Could any band really "open" for Rush? Instead of subjecting their fans to a potentially questionable opening act, more bands should follow the path that Rush has blazed by opening for themselves. Clocking in with a two and a half hour set, it is no wonder that Rush continue to sell out arenas across the world.


Dubbed the "Time Machine" tour, Rush dialed back the clocks to play their classic album Moving Pictures in its entirety. Giving fans a few extra moments to reach their seats, Rush displayed their sense of humor with a hilarious opening skit reenacting the "Real History of Rush" that somehow worked in the themes of sausage and a time machine while explaining the fictitious name change from Rash to Rush.


The intimacy and sound of the Gibson Amphitheater was spectacular compared to their last visit to Los Angeles when they played the expansive Nokia Theater. "The Spirit of The Radio" ignited the crowd early with its fleet fingered guitar runs by Alex Lifeson. Watching Rush operate live is an experience beyond description. Their musicianship is beyond reproach with each member equally revered as being at the top of their game.


Songs like "Time Stand Still" and "Presto" kept the fervent fans out of their seats while they sang and cheered along. As I was walking up the stairs to quickly check in my camera, I spotted a ten year old boy playing air bass along to "Stick It Out". It is safe to say that the Rush is still winning over new generations of fans with each tour. Newer songs like "Workin' Them Angels" and "Faithless" easily blended into the older material on the setlist.


"Freewill" was particularly sharp with an precise ending that left my jaw on the floor in disbelief. Stationed behind his Roland X7, Geddy Lee easily recreated the '80s synth textures of "Subdivisions" before crushing the solo on his Minimoog. Taking a thirty minute intermission allowed the crowd to recharge and grab a few more beers before the band returned with another video skit introducing the album Moving Pictures.


"Tom Sawyer" , "Red Barchetta", "YYZ" and "Limelight" all in a row? Are you kidding me? It was an auditory overload. The visual aspect was also impressive with live video feeds showing impressive fretwork and drumming . Even the lighting rig was impressive as it lowered and shifted its shape into a spider with its legs emitting different colored lights. Some of the small details such as eyeballs popping up underneath Peart's drumkit during "The Camera Eye" continued to improve the overall Rush experience.


Their new tune "Caravan" was stunning with its shifting time signatures punctuated by blasts from air jets positioned on stage. Undoubtedly the crown jewel of Rush's set though would be the drum solo by Peart that stylistically morphed from tribal to swing jazz. "2112" was greeted with chants of "Hey!" by the fans as Lifeson and Lee walked to the front of the stage to incite the fans. After the blazing "La Villa Strangiato", Rush fittingly closed the evening with "Working Man".

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