RUSH Gig Review

RUSH Gig Review
Wednesday 25th May 2011
The O2 Arena – London

By Yiannis (John) Stefanis

The week between the 23rd and the 29th of May was pretty stressful for me, involving a bad cold, a fast –approaching essay deadline and stress at work and. By Wednesday my cold was getting worse, I was nowhere near starting my essay and pressure at work kept mounting up, so what did I decide to do? I decided to follow the teenager’s approach of forgetting about everything and head off to the London O2 Arena where Rush, the best power trio in Rock music, had promised to perform a very long set which would include the classic 1981 opus “Moving Pictures” in its entirety.

I arrived at the venue a good hour prior to the show starting as I wanted to ensure that I would invest in every piece of merchandise available and it was not long before a massive bag was filled with all sorts of beautifully crafted memorabilia such as books, CDs, Tour programmes and T-shirts. Now that half my salary was spent on those goodies, my wife and I headed off to the arena where we found ourselves positioned in a nice spot amongst other Rush devotees, some of whom were young enough to be my children while others old enough to be my parents – a clear indication of the successful way that these amazing Canadians have managed to remain relevant these last thirty seven years!

Following a very short delay, this amazing night started with a truly humorous video entitled “The Real History Of Rush” which played on the concept of how the band would appear in a parallel universe where Neil Peart was a cop, Geddy Lee a fast food restaurant owner and Alex Lifeson a band manager with a soft touch for…sausages. The first song to fill the arena was the all-time classic “The Spirit of the Radio” and was received with a long cheer from the audience – an audience that clearly expected the set list to consist of some of the band’s proudest and most popular moments. Clearly, most people were waiting for a more late seventies/early eighties set as their reaction to songs like “Time Stand Still” and “Presto” was not exactly what you would describe as enthusiastic, however the band continued to produce their cleverly arranged tunes with surgically accuracy. Though “Stick It Out” would not have been my first choice from “Counterparts” its performance was breath-taking and the same applied to the now classic “Working Them Angels”, whose video was projected through a massive and cleverly presented screen hanging above Neil Peart’s impressive drum kit. The instrumental “Leave That Thing Alone” gave the band an opportunity to impress us with their technical skills and was followed by the quite emotional “Faithless” and the relatively-speaking ‘newbie’ “BU2B”. By the time “Freewill” and “Marathon” were performed, the crowd was pretty warmed up and so greeted the amazing “Subdivisions” with the respect and the enthusiasm that it so rightfully deserves.

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Following a twenty minute break, the moment that most of the people who had gathered at the O2 that night had finally arrived! As the first few notes of “Tom Sawyer” filled the massive hall this diverse crowd went absolutely ballistic – a momentum that continued with “Red Barchetta” and the beautiful instrumental “YYZ”. “Limelight” is another classic that was embraced by the band’s fans, while the ten minute opus “The Camera Eye” was accompanied by a truly fitting video which slightly distracted my attention from the band for a few minutes. “Moving Pictures” is not the longest album in the history of music, so it was not long before the last few notes of “Witch Hunt” and “Vital Signs” were being performed, much to our chagrin. Luckily for us, though, Rush had quite a few more goodies up their sleeves, as the second new sensational track entitled “Caravan” was included in the set list, followed by an amazing drum solo by “Sir” Neil Peart – one that was performed on a rotating twin drum kit which combined both acoustic and electronic drums. Having only few seconds left to catch our breath, we were presented with another classic, namely “Closer To The Heart”, followed by the first two parts of the amazing “2112” (see “I: Overture” and “II: The Temples of Syrinx”), while “Far Cry” provided the closing theme of the second set, after which the band said their goodbyes and left the stage.

Was that a long enough set for us? Certainly not – something that these clever Canadians soon realised as they returned for a small encore which consisted of breath-taking alternative renditions of “La Villa Strangiato” and “Working Man”, after which they finally left the stage for good. Was this a successful night for both the band and the fans? The band looked quite pleased with the crowd’s reaction, something that Geddy Lee did mention during the show. As for the fans, I am sure that most of us would like to have heard a few more classics such as “Xanadu”, “Driven” and the amazing “The Trees”, the latter really shining through its absence, however if that was to be the case, we would have needed a three and a half hour set. When I finally left the O2, after having enjoyed another humorous video, I did so conscious of the fact that I had witnessed another top quality performance – a view that was shared by many other fellow-attendees. Suddenly, having a cold was not important and, just in case you are wondering, I did rather well in my essay…further proof that this band is magic! Till next time, guys!

Rush Set List
—————–

First Set

• “The Spirit Of Radio”
• “Time Stand Still”
• “Presto”
• “Stick It Out”
• “Workin’ Them Angels”
• “Leave That Thing Alone”
• “Faithless”
• “BU2B”
• “Freewill”
• “Marathon”
• “Subdivisions”

Second Set

• “Tom Sawyer”
• “Red Barchetta”
• “YYZ”
• “Limelight”
• “The Camera Eye”
• “Witch Hunt”
• “Vital Signs”
• “Caravan”
• “Drum Solo”
• “Closer To The Heart”
• “2112 Part I: Overture”
• “2112 Part II: The Temples Of Syrinx”
• Far Cry”

Encore
———-
• “La Villa Strangiato”
• “Working Man”


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09:00-12:00 MANDOKI SOULMATES Living In The Gap (Red Rock Production/Cleopatra)
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