Category Archives: Rush
The Coors Amphitheatre (now the Cricket Wireless) is pristine, even though it’s in the middle of nowhere, nestled in between open fields to the North and East, craggy cliffs topped with million dollar homes to the South, and fledgling housing developments to the West for the working stiffs…which incidently made me think of the urban sprawl depicted in “Subdivisions.” The venue itself reminded me of The Greek Theatre in Los Angeles: classy, spotless and very well maintained. I had a cheap lawn ticket and nestled myself halfway back, center/right of the stage with a perfect view. I was a good distance away from the rest of the lawn ticket holders, basically so I could have an uninterrupted viewing/listening experience…and well, to keep the more boisterous fans from being picked up by my mic.
The show was great! But I don’t think I’ll ever get lawn tickets again, I felt detached, too far away from the action. I guess it was too similar to watching the Rush in Rio DVD, I was an observer, rather than a participant. I really missed being “in there” with the rest of the die-hards, especially those in the orchestra/pit section who were pumping their fists the whole time. The crowd was VERY into it. I would say they were more vocal than the Irvine crowd. The band played effortlessly. There were no mess ups or glitches, no flubs or anything of that nature. Rush is like a machine, playing songs faithfully, and at times better, than the recordings on CD. And it was great hearing songs that weren’t previously featured on the Vapor Trails Tour, like “Red Barchetta,” “Subdivisions,” “Mystic Rhythms” and “Between the Wheels.” The cover songs were cool and I get the significance of their inclusion, but like any other selfish Rush fanatic, I just wish that playing time was allotted for more Rush songs…even though the show clocked in close to 3 hours. We were being spoiled, that’s for sure. And I can’t imagine the dexterity and stamina needed to play those challenging songs for that amount of time, and at their age? WOW. Coolest moment of the night, aside from the Jerry Stiller opening video, had to be the opening medley. And the moment the riff to “Bangkok” was played, the crowd let out this collective roar. It was a like a huge, deep and throaty “YEEAAHHH!!!” Absolutely hair-raising. And seriously, do we really need to keep hearing “Roll the Bones?” Great intro music was played before the show began. It was especially cool to hear dredg’s “18 People Living In Harmony.”
1. Classics Medley (Finding My Way/Anthem/Bastille Day/A Passage to Bangkok/Cyguns X-1/Hemispheres Prologue
2. Spirit of Radio
3. Force Ten
7. Red Barchetta (I forgot to breathe when I recognized the opening notes )
8. Roll the Bones
11. The Trees w/a snippet of “Day Tripper” (Beatles)
12. The Seeker (The Who)
13. One Little Victory
1. Tom Sawyer
3. Secret Touch
4. Between the Wheels
5. Mystic Rhythms
6. Red Sector A
7. Drum Solo w/ “One O’ Clock Jump” (Count Basie)
9. Heart Full of Soul (Yardbirds)
10. 2112 Overture/Temples of Syrinx/Grand Finale
11. La Villa Strangiato w/ “Pirates” rant
13. Working Man
14. Summertime Blues
Oh ya, I forgot to mention that a couple was thrown out of the Chula Vista gig for fucking in the lawn area…ya, that’s right…that’s what I said…FUCKING in the lawn area during “Between The Wheels,” what an appropriate song choice, right?. And they were about 50 feet away from me too! I saw two dark figures with flashlights in my periperal vision. They were PD, they forcused their attention on this tangled mass, illuminating them with their maglites. That was a sight hehe. Ahh the concert experience.
So in my community college days I finally let the Rush bug bite me. For years I was just about Dream Theater and Queensryche, having pushed Rush aside without giving them a proper chance, even though they had HEAVILY influenced my favorite progressive band, Dream Theater. I was familiar with the FM classic rock radio tracks but had never bothered to venture any deeper than that. While at work I overheard a couple customers walk by, an older gentleman and a younger guy. I caught only part of the conversation, he said something like “…and that was the 26th time I’d seen Rush.” I was astounded. How could a band have such a rabid, ultra loyal and dedicated fan base…especially a band that just “didn’t get.” So I decided to take a little chance. One day, on a whim, I ordered Moving Pictures and Exit…Stage Left from Amazon. That was one of the best purchases EVER.
Exit Stage Left was an awesome depiction of Rush in a live setting, and I also delved deep into Moving Pictures and discovered stunning gems like The Camera Eye, Vital Signs and Red Barchetta (this was my first time hearing the track!). I was floored by the detail, the technical wizardry, the shredding, Alex’s “lonely” sounding and sentimental yet rockin’ solos, Geddy’s intricate bass parts with that cool mid-range sound, and of course, Neil Peart’s god-like drum parts and poetic lyrics. Vinnie Paul of Pantera called Neil Peart “God on drums.” Pretty damn accurate.
So fast forward to the Staples Center gig in LA on the Vapor Trails Tour. It was the long awaited return of Rush to the stage after a long hiatus. Dbfield came along for the ride, we left Orange County fairly early and beat traffic. We sported our Dream Theater tshirts proudly hehe. While dining at the attached sports grill, a group of Rush fans sat at a nearby booth. I could hear one of the guys say “what’s with the Dream Theater shirts?” I’ve always felt that if you go to a live gig you wear ANOTHER BAND’S SWAG. Of course you’re there to support Rush, you bought the ticket didn’t you. Why not show your other favorite band some love?
Anyways, the show we received was much like the set depicted on the Rush In Rio DVD (one of the greatest concert DVDs EVER), with the exceptions being the absences of Closer to the Heart, Free Will and The Trees. However, we did get a couple seldom performed selections: Between the Sun and Moon and Vital Signs. OMG…when Vital Signs began, the Staples Center went ballistic. The synthesizer intro came over the PA, and the crowd began to roar and cheer. It was like a volume swell, a steady crescendo that eventually erupted by the time Alex and Neil joined in. We were seated in the middle deck, and we could feel a rumble beneath our feet. I swear it felt like the section was moving, as if an earth quake was taking place. That had to have been the song of the night. The set length was very generous, there wasn’t even an opening act on this tour, it was extremely cool. The set had to have clocked in at 3 hours with a brief intermission. The value was incredible. The set was a solid selection of songs, but there were many favorites of mine that were ommitted in favor of other well-known selections. This is a band with a wealth of quality material, it’s impossible to play all the good stuff within 3 hours. The new material sounded better live, with the standout track for me being “Earthshine.” Another very notable sequence was moving one-two punch of “The Pass” and “Bravado.” Wow, hearing those back to back was breathtaking. And of course there was the devestating Neil Peart drum solo, including big band excerpts. The drum solo had to be one of the most entertaining solos I’d ever seen. And drum solos usually allow a fan to take a pee break or grab another beer. Not this one. That solo mesmerized the crowd. I was sold, I was now a fan, and quickly became a die-hard. Very awesome first experience seeing Rush, I just wish the sound quality was a tad better. There was some distortion and a lot of mid range for some reason – I’ll blame it on the Staples Center’s crappy acoustics. But whenever I tire of a disc, mood or trend, I go back to Rush. Whenever I feel like practicing, I go back to some Rush tracks. Whenever I want to immerse myself in poetic story telling with vivid imagery, I listen to Rush. I may have jumped on a bit late, but I’m glad I didn’t miss this ride.
Distant Early Warning
New World Man
Roll the Bones
The Big Money
Between Sun and Moon
One Little Victory
Red Sector A
Leave That Thing Alone
2112 Part I: Overture
2112 Part II: The Temples of Syrinx
La Villa Strangiato
The Spirit of Radio
By-Tor & The Snow Dog