Saturday, October 06, 2012

Rush - MTS Centre, September 26, 2012

Rush performed for 9000 fans, without any opening act.  This wasn't quite as many people as their 2008 show, which was their first performance in Winnipeg since their 1982 show at the old Arena (which drew a 50% capacity audience of 8000.)

Rush drummer Neil Peart.

With their 20th studio album out, Clockwork Angels, Rush simply do not know how to slow down.  Despite the fact that their non-hit material can take some effort to get in to, Rush have enough strong, popular material to allow them to tour until they decide to call it quits.

I found this quote from the MTS Centre's website. "The RIAA has certified Rush for the third most consecutive gold/platinum studio albums by a rock band, topped only by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones."

The first set saw them utilize material from four of their '80s albums, half of which was from the synth-heavy 1985 album Power Windows.  I could have done without most of the tracks from this album in favour of some of the older classics like "Closer To The Heart" (which they did not play during the 2007 Snakes & Arrows tour), "Red Barchetta," "Limelight," "Fly By Night" (not performed live since 1978), "Freewill," "Trees" and "Something For Nothing."

Geddy Lee (59) really looked like he was having fun.  When not playing the keyboards, he would strap on his bass guitar and playfully shuffle over to guitarist Alex Lifeson (59).

 I wasn't as crazy about the previous studio album, 2007's Snakes & Arrows and when they performed about an hour's worth of it during the last tour, I felt quite disinterested.  For a three hour show, they could have cut it down by 30 minutes with less new material and I would have enjoyed myself more.  This time, they played 9 of the 12 tracks from Clockwork Angels during the second set and I found the new material easier to get into.

Lifeson played keyboards juring "The Garden," which Lee exclaimed was his favorite track from the new album.  During the title track, the lighting rig moved in a fashion probably meant to mimic floating angels.  For the second set and for the first time in their history, they performed with backing musicians, in the form of a string section.  Whether or not these seven or so really contributed to the overall sound, I couldn't say with any certainty.  Right behind them, gasoline bombs, fireworks and explosions went off.  I could feel the heat from the 16th row on the floor.  I can only imagine what nerve it took for them not to jump during those explosions, which always caught me off guard.  The heat must have made quite an impression on them.  Throughout the show, they played humorous short films ("Gearing Up," "The Appointment," and "The Office of the Watchmaker") one of which had the three members acting as scruffy dwarfs in an industrial setting and giving a government bureaucrat the runaround.  Cameramen, some of which were high above in the lighting rig, provided close ups off the band members so that no matter where you sat, you had a good view of the show.  I wish more bands would do this.

Drummer Neil Peart (60) didn't limit himself to one long solo, like he did last time.  Rather, he added some solos to "Where's My Thing?" in the first set, "Headlong Flight" in the second set, as well as stand-alone solo in the form of "The Percussor" in the second set.

Not wanting to become a nostalgia band, Rush are compelled to play plenty of new material, along with several old classics.  I question why they played four tracks from Power Windows, which, while a popular album, surely isn't what the long-time fans consider to be a classic.   

It goes without saying that the band performed like the virtuosos that they are.  Not only are they masters of their instruments, but no other musicians out there sound like the individual members of Rush.  Even in the songs that I wasn't totally into, I was enthralled by their craft.

Overall, I enjoyed this show more than the previous one and I would definitely see Rush again.

Set 1
01 Subdivisions (Signals, 1982)
02 The Big Money (Power Windows, 1985)
03 Force Ten (Hold Your Fire, 1987)
04 Grand Designs (Power Windows, 1985)
05 Middletown Dreams (Power Windows, 1985)
06 Territories (Power Windows, 1985)
07 The Analog Kid (Signals, 1982)
08 The Pass (Presto, 1989)
09 Where's My Thing? (with Drum Solo) (Roll The Bones, 1991)
10 Far Cry (Snakes & Arrows, 2007)

Set 2
11 Caravan (Clockwork Angels, 2012)
12 Clockwork Angels (Clockwork Angels, 2012)
13 The Anarchist (Clockwork Angels, 2012)
14 Carnies (Clockwork Angels, 2012)
15 The Wreckers (Clockwork Angels, 2012)
16 Headlong Flight (with Drum Solo) (Clockwork Angels, 2012)
17 Halo Effect (Clockwork Angels, 2012)
18 Wish Them Well (Clockwork Angels, 2012)
19 The Garden (Clockwork Angels, 2012)
20 Dreamline (Roll The Bones, 1991)
21 Drum Solo (The Percussor)
22 Red Sector A (Grace Under Pressure, 1984)
23 YYZ (Moving Pictures, 1981)
24 The Spirit of Radio (Permanent Waves, 1980)

25 Tom Sawyer (Moving Pictures, 1981)
26 2112 Part I: Overture (2112, 1976)
27 2112 Part II: The Temples of Syrinx (2112, 1976)
28 2112 Part VII: Grand Finale (2112, 1976) 

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