Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Concert Reviews: Rush live at The First Midwest Bank Amp, June 28, 2013

Rush is one of those bands you either love or hate. There's really no in-between. They've been compared to Led Zeppelin with their debut self titled album before going prog on us with their second album, "Fly By Night". Fast forward a few years, and the band went a little more mainstream with 1980's "Permanent Waves" and '81's "Moving Pictures". All the while they picked up die hard fans, mostly in the form of teenage boys and young men, who have stuck with them through all the highs and lows and highs again! So, it was no surprise to see a rather big turnout for the bands return to the First Midwest Bank Amp in Tinley Park, IL on June 28th on the second leg of the Clockwork Angels tour.

Going into this tour I was a little apprehensive. The band had let it be known that they would be bringing a string section on the road with them to play on select tracks from last years monumental concept album "Clockwork Angels", and I was a little nervous. Anyone remember Metallica's "S&M" album? Yeah...'nuff said. But at the same time I was kinda interested to see what other tracks they would pull out of their vast catalog of nearly 40 years of music, and how the strings would compliment the songs.

As the day grew closer I got more and more excited. Not sure what to expect from the 2 sets and nearly 3 hours of music by one of my all time favorite bands in the world. Let me tell ya, that first set was AMAZING! The band hit the stage at around 7:40 to a short intro film before going into 1982's masterpiece "Subdivisions", and off we were! The bands playing is just as tight and precise as it was 25 years ago. Rush is a band that always said that if they couldn't play at top performance, they would hang it up and call it a day. Glad to see that nearing 60 years in age, these guys still have their witts and chops about them.

This set featured mostly deep cuts and fan faves, which made me grin from ear to ear for the duration of the set. "Grand Designs", "Territories", "The Pass"...all personal faves of mine. But the real show stopper for me was "Analog Kid" from 1982's Signals album. A track that I have loved for as long as I can remember, but never had the chance to see them play it live until that night. The guys knocked it out of the park all the way. Geddy Lee sang and played his bass with a fierce intensity. Alex Lifeson's guitar riffs were spot on as always. And Neil Peart....well, what can you say about Neil. He's a master of his craft and consummate professional from start to finish.

There was a very brief intermission to get ready for the string section and a good chunk of CA in round 2. As the second set started, another short intro film was played to coincide with the CA tracks. After the film the band went right into "Caravan" and the blood started pumping again. The strings were not as bad as I was expecting. They gave a certain beefiness to the tracks, I must admit. And the string section really seemed to be enjoying themselves between songs as well.

"The Anarchist" and "The Wreckers" were stand out tracks for me at first. But once they went into "Headlong Flight" it was like a second wind for everyone involved. The band played with so much heart and passion that it really transcended into the audience and we were feeding on the energy in the place, full throttle!

As if all this manic energy in the room wasn't enough, the band surprised everyone when they brought out The Stanley Cup that the Chicago Blackhawks brought home earlier that day. I'm not a hockey fan, but I really thought that the band taking the time to share that moment with us was super cool! Geddy, Alex and Neil all took pictures with the cup before going into the classic instrumental "YYZ" complete with string section. YouTube footage can be seen HERE!

Closing out the night were 2 stellar encores in the forms of "Tom Sawyer" and "2112: Overture/Temples Of Syrinx/Grand Finale". We left that night with renewed energy and continued belief that Rush are still one of the greatest live bands to ever grace the stage. After nearly 40 years as a recording band, finally being inducted into The Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame earlier this year, and releasing possibly one of their greatest conceptual pieces with Clockwork Angels, I am STILL honored to be a fan of this band. And I hope we can keep them around for many more years to come.

Set list 1:
Video Intro (Gearing Up)
The Big Money
Force 10
Grand Designs
Analog Kid
The Pass
Where's My Thing (with drum solo)
Far Cry

Set list 2:
Video Intro (The Appointment)
Clockwork Angels
The Anarchist
The Wreckers
Headlong Flight (with drum solo)
Halo Effect (with guitar solo intro)
Wish Them Well
The Garden
The Percussor (drum solo)
Red Sector A
(Clockwork Angels String Ensemble exits)
The Spirit of Radio

Tom Sawyer
2112 Overture/Temples of Syrinx/Grand Finale
Video Outro (Office Of The Watchmaker)

1 comment:

  1. Glad you got to go to that concert. Your writing is still as professional as Rush's musicianship. Keep it up! The Captain


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