Before this gig I mentioned to a colleague at work that I was going to see Rush and got met by a blank look, when I mentioned it was a near sell out at the SECC and the tickets were £70 a pop, his look turned to one of disbelief. That is the beauty of Rush, a huge loyal following that consistently turn out in their thousands every tour but completely off the radar to most non rock fans.
On arrival at the SECC it was business as usual, a packed hall and an air of anticipation. Taking their cue from the ‘Clockwork Angels Tour’ moniker the show went like clockwork, starting promptly at 7.30pm for the first half. After a short video introduction which showed the band being constructed for the show, the trio arrived on stage and the familiar pumping synth intro to ‘Subdivisions’ filled the hall.
It was soon evident that the guys were in fine form and that the stage show promised to be something special with a huge lighting rig used to great effect throughout. Geddy Lee was in good voice, his range may have dropped over the years but to me he is sounding better than ever, certainly better than on the last tour where he sounded a bit strained to my ears.
‘Subdivisions’ was followed by a quickfire one/two of ‘The Big Money’ and ‘Force Ten’ with the large video screen at the rear of the stage being put to good use and providing a visual feast to accompany the music.
The music, as always, was first class. The remainder of the first half continued with live favourites including ‘Limelight’ and ‘The Pass’ along with more unusual tracks in the shape of ‘Terriories’ and ‘Grand Designs’.
The instrumental track ‘Where’s My Thing’ also got an airing and gave Geddy, Alex and Neil a chance to show off their immense skills. It also included the first of three drum solos from Peart who had chopped his usual elongated solo into bite size pieces which were entertaining.
The first half was rounded off with ‘Far Cry’ which made for an explosive end with the first pyro of the night. Geddy then informed the crowd that they needed to take a break as they were a million years old and the guys exited the stage and left the crowd hungry for more.
The lights dimmed again shortly afterwards and another video intro kicked things off this time with the band portrayed as gnomes, apart from Alex who was reportedly a troll! We were soon back to the music though with ‘Caravan’ kicking off a number of tracks from the excellent Clockwork Angels album. For this second set the band were joined on stage by the Clockwork Angels String Ensemble who added depth to the live sound. ‘Clockwork Angels’ was up next followed by the heavy staccato opening riff of ‘The Anarchist’.
For this part of the show the lighting engineer went into overdrive with great use of colour and patterns following the music perfectly. One of the best effects was during ‘The Wreckers’ where the backing screen was showing a storm lashed ship whilst the lighting made it look like it was pouring rain on stage, highly impressive. The screens again were used to great effect during ‘The Garden’ with smaller screens coming down from the lighting rig and showing great animation which enhanced the performance. We were also treated to more pyro and a barrage of flames during these tracks, you could tell the ticket money had been well spent!
All the visuals didn’t detract from the musical content which was as impressive as always. Alex’s guitar playing is always a joy and Geddy’s bass playing was as jaw dropping as ever. Peart popped up again for his third solo spot of the night during which his kit was used to trigger synth sounds as he played like a man possessed. More classic tracks followed, still with the string section in place, this added a new element to the older numbers especially on ‘Red Sector A’ and the awesome ‘YYZ’.
The set was rounded off with ‘The Spirit Of Radio’, the crowd singing along with every word. After a short break the band were back and throwing a pile of t-shirts into the crowd they launched into the first of two encores in the shape of ‘Tom Sawyer’. This was followed by ‘Overture’, ‘The Temples Of Syrinx’ and ‘Grand Finale’ from 2112 which brought the night to a spectacular end.
Once again Rush proved themselves to be one of the finest bands on the planet with a show to match. Keep that to yourselves though, because if more people were aware of how good a Rush show is the tickets would be like gold dust, even at £70 a throw!
Review, crowd photos and gallery by David Wilson
Main photos by Iain Scott
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