Rush is my favorite 70s power trio and one of my favorite bands ever. They are one of those bands that people either love or hate and most of their fans tend to be guys. But I don’t care about any of that. I’ve been a Rush fan since I was a kid and first heard Farewell to Kings on my brother’s 8-track and have been a fan ever since.
My friend Victoria (@veemoe) asked me on Facebook if I was interested in going and it took me about 3 seconds to type Hellz Yeahz! Victoria had an extra ticket and saw that I was a Rush fan. She had never seen them and was interested in seeing Rush. I told her she picked an excellent tour to start with. The Time Machine tour was special because Rush would be performing the Moving Pictures album in its entirety during the performance. Moving Pictures was on constant rotation during my high school and college days. The album’s lead song was the big hit Tom Sawyer and all of the songs on side 1 were big on radio and some still are. But side 2 had the cooler, progressive songs that were not big on the radio but were just as awesome if not more. There was no way I was going to miss this show. The venue was Greensboro Coliseum which is the site of my first Rush show in 1986! The Power Windows tour was a great concert, but I mostly went to see the older stuff. In the years since I shyed away from seeing Rush as I was not a fan of the newer material. To me Rush hit its peak with Moving Pictures and it shows as time has passed.
I had seen Rush a few years before on the Snakes and Arrows tour. But it was special seeing them at Greensboro which had changed dramatically since 86! Victoria and Kristen Collosso (@ladyroboto) had 3 tickets and we scored an extra one in the parking lot for my wife, Maura. At that point it dawned on me that I was probably the only male at this show attending with 3 ladies. Rush tends to be an all male, nerd crowd. I mixed up some drinks for the road and we were off.
The excitement of seeing Rush play several songs that I’ve never seen played live was getting me amped up. Our seats were on the aisle and since we had one extra, I floated between seats and the ailse. There was no way I could sit down for most of this show, I would be swaping between air guitar and drums all evening.
After some opening video skits with the band members in various character costumes, Rush opened with The Spirit of Radio, a great opener as Alex Liefson’s wailing guitar is joined by Neal Peart‘s booming bass drums. Geddy Lee brings the thundering bass and vocals that never get old. For an old school Rush fan like me Spirit along with Freewill and Subdivisions were the highlights. Some of the newer material has become a bit more familiar to me.
First set ends and there’s a short intermission where I take advantage of some liquid refreshments. Rush comes out for the second set and Moving Pictures. The familiar opening synthesizer of Tom Sawyer evokes a huge reaction from the crowd. A great opening tune and then its Red Barchetta one of my favorite songs. It takes you for a ride and Geddy Lee’s bass and vocals are showcased on this song. I recently read that it was recorded and 1 take! YYZ is an instrumental song that is Toronto’s airport code and at this point I realize that my arms may soon fall off! Limelight completes the fantastic first side of Moving Pictures. Rush is hitting the notes like they alwasys do. One of the amazing things about this band is their dedication to their music. They know what their fans like and they deliver with precision and accuracy at each performance. The sound system is just right and the coliseum had curtained off the upper deck so there was less echo.
Now it’s time for side 2 and The Camera’s Eye. This was the first song written for Moving Pictures and clocks in as the longest as well at over 10 minutes. Next to Red Barchetta, it’s my favorite song on the album. The background noise of traffic mixed with the building synthesizers are joined by faint snare drum roll and spare guitar notes. This song is a great example of why Rush is the premier progressive rock band. The time changes and leads take the listener on a journey.
Vital Signs and Witch Hunt close out Moving Pictures. I had heard Witch Hunt before and it’s hard edge and spooky sound always sound great. This was the first time I had seen Vital Signs performed and it was a real treat.One final new song of Clockwork Angels, Caravan went into a drum solo. Coming out of the solo, Alex brought out his acoustic guitars and played Closer to the Heart. This was one of the first songs that I got hooked on Rush so it was great to hear it. Then a real treat as they closed out the set with the first 2 songs from 2112 and another new song. The encore did not let up as Rush played La Villa Straingiato and Working Man, 2 great songs. La Villa is a long instrumental that closes out my favorite Rush album, Hemispheres. While Working Man was Rush’s first big hit on their debut album, Rush, which coincidentally I just saw was being reissued for a 40th anniversary edition! I left that show totally spent. The next day I woke up with an aching neck but it was worth it! Kristen writes a concert blog as well and I was flattered that she thought my air drumming did not lead me to topple down the stairs. I told her and the other ladies that I had been practicing for over 25 years and had my moves down!
This was also the first show I had seen where a band performed one of their classic albums. I have to say it’s a fantastic concept that I hope to see more of in future tours. I don’t know if I’ll ever see Rush again but it would be hard to top this show!