Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Why did I wait so long? Rush in concert.

Last night I ventured with friends to Sleep Country Amphitheater (what a god-awful name, people; seriously) to see Rush. Tickets were purchased months ago, and along the way friends new and old had gotten so excited for me to be seeing my first Rush show that I couldn't help but form some pretty high expectations. It took 2.5 hours from Salem to the venue, and we just barely squeeked in before the show started. This is after I swallowed a lot of bubbling road rage and about suffered an aneurism in the process while stuck in traffic on 405.

I'm a Rush fan, but not fanatic. (Well, I wasn't BEFORE last night...) I only own about half a dozen albums. Rose Hulman engineering student geek boys turned me on to them when I was in high school, circa 1988. Dabbled in them in college; became enthralled with Geddy's bass abilities and ventured to take up the bass myself and took a class and private lessons for a while. My instructor did a few basic lessons with me, then pulled Presto off of my rack, tossed it at me and told me to pick a simple bassline (or strip down a complex one) and learn it for next time. And so it went.

Through the years I've often connected deeply with some of the words coming from Geddy's mouth, most likely penned by Alex.

In short, the show was utterly fantastic. My first will NOT be my last, God and Geddy's vocal cords willing. Amazing for its technics, for their talent, for the energy in the crowd, and the simple amazing fact that after doing this for almost 40 years, these men belt out an amazingly exhausting 3 hour show without hardly breaking a sweat! Keep in mind this is near the end of a very long tour.

The stage setup was interesting, the light rigging was a show unto itself, and the use of the big screens flanking a ginormous screen behind the stage really gave everyone a great seat in the house. Lots of close-ups of Geddy and Alex's fingers on frets, the amazing Drum Cam above Neil's amazingly diverse and huge drum set, and the visuals they sprinkled through the set were mostly great additions.

Some of my favorites:

Limelight -- perhaps my favorite Rush song, was incredible... listening to the recorded version now, it seems so flat and calm. I'm ruined!

Faithless -- my favorite from Snakes and Arrows. I know every word, and the old guy behind me was like, "I've never heard that song. What?" Later he did know something off of that album, though.

I don't have faith in faith   
I don't believe in belief 
You can call me faithless 
I still cling to hope 
And I believe in love 
And that's faith enough for me

Presto -- contains my favorite lyric of all time, the only words I've ever thought about getting inked onto my skin: "I am made from the dust of the stars, and the oceans flow in my veins." Actually, the song as a whole is pretty damn cool.

BU2B -- a new piece, and I'm loving it. It's part of the upcoming album, but released early. A little harder, excellent yet simple lyrics.

Subdivisions - clearly I'm not the only one that loves this song as I think the entire venue knew the words.

YYZ - one of my favorite instrumentals ever.

Okay, the set list is here. Let's just say I LOVED IT ALL! Otherwise this post is going to get pretty long.

Neil's drum solo was... stunning. At first some good old fashioned drumming with a lot of complexity and flair. In the middle the set rotates, he stands up and turns around, and ventures into something totally different. Loved both halves.

They were all amazing. In most parts... Geddy's voice held strong. The set ramps up and swells in both energy and decibles, and I was almost breathless by intermission. Geddy finished the first half REALLY strong; the guy behind me said, "He sounds like he's 20!" and I had to agree. But the first piece or two after intermission were rough and had me worried. But somehow, it smoothed out and by the end of the second half everything was at a fever pitch so high it was almost maddening.

When you think you've hit the peak, then they encore and... good lord it rocked the entire states of Washington and Oregon. STUNNING.

Lots of great raving about the show on The Rush Forum. If I could I'd catch this tour again. Will be on the lookout for the next one.

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