Thursday, July 18, 2002 @ 1:25 PM
Rush Live At The Alltel Pavili
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REVIEW BY: Frontburner
What more could you ask for America's Independence Day but Canada's best? O.K., maybe it doesn't fit, but with all the hoopla surrounding our Al-Qaida buds plotting our demise for the last few months, I could use a break; how 'bout you? The heat was stifling, but the rock was even hotter. This was my fifth trek to see the Great White ones, but my bud who was with me had never seen them. I told him he was in for a treat and did they ever deliver. When I left this show, I felt as if it was the first time I'D seen them!
The stage setup was particularly strange in that there were three dryers (yup, as in laundromat) on the right side of the stage that were running constantly throughout the show. Their significance was never elaborated on; must be some kind of physical representation of the new CD cover. In any event, they hit the stage right on time with "Tom Sawyer." The crowd was into it instantly! Speaking of the crowd, this is the first show I can remember any time recently when the reserved seats were actually almost full (this was at Alltel Pavilion, an amphitheater). The lawn was crowded too, but not as much as I would've suspected. I would estimate 10,000 people at the show.
For the next three hours, they rolled through a veritable history lesson of their 28 year career (has it really been that long?!?). The set list below will reflect the entire show's repertoire (not necessarily in order). "Distant Early Warning," "New World Man," and "Roll The Bones" followed the incredible opening. Geddy Lee's voice is in great form & he played as incredibly as I've ever heard him, as did Alex Lifeson. Both were in rare form and very funny, particularly Alex later in the show when he went into an incoherent rant during "La Villa Strangiato." Neil Peart, the reigning drum champ, was precise and outdid himself during his solo. He was fairly unemotional and expressionless during the show and opted to jet after each set rather than take much time out front with the audience as did Geddy and Alex.
No matter! The light show was incredible as usual with the spinning kaleidoscope effect employed on all video screens as well as lasers used particularly effectively during "Red Sector A." The setlist was well spread out among most all of their albums. Some unexpected surprises and deletions in the set this time: no "Closer To the Heart" or "The Trees" in particular, but CTTH has been on three live albums so I must say I'm a bit tired of it, although it's always great live because of the audience singing along in the beginning a la "Exit Stage Left."
The sound was excellent. How could it not be for a three-piece band? Last time I saw Rush, they did the same thing: played an hour and a half, took a 20 minute break, then played another 90 minute set. More of the great classic bands could take a queue from this approach, particularly since Zeppelin and others have played the same amount with NO break way back when. Can anyone imagine The Stones, Who, Aerosmith, Kiss, Sabbath, Purple, etc., playing a show like this? It only enhanced my enjoyment of it!
The sound on the "Test For Echo" tour wasn't nearly as good as the other times I'd seen them, so this was an even sweeter gig. I must say this is one of the best concerts I've ever been to! If you've never seen Rush, you cannot fathom what you are missing!! If you like them even a little bit, it would be worth your while to check them out live; you too will come out loving them! The ticket prices were steep, thanks once again to our "friends" at TicketBastard (does anyone know of a website devoted to bringing them to complete and total ruin? Please get in touch with me if so as I will GLADLY participate!), but this is one show that really delivers bang for the buck!
Distant Early Warning
New World Man
Roll The Bones
The Stars Look Down
Between Sun & Moon
The Big Money
One Little Victory
Red Sector A
Leave That Thing Alone
Resist (Acoustic; Geddy & Alex Only)
The Spirit Of Radio
La Villa Strangiato
Bytor & The Snow Dog
2112 Overture & The Temples Of Syrinx
Cygnus X-1 (Beginning Only)