Moving Pictures On The Rocks

An Evening With Rush

Photos and Review By: Brandon Marshall



  One of the greatest bands playing one of the greatest albums performing at one of the greatest venues might seem like something you would see if you had died and went through the gates  into rock & roll heaven, but on August 16th and 18th, that dream became a reality for 20,000 lucky fans.


  Canadian progressive rock trio Rush has been a musical talent and influence beyond comprehension, with a career that has spanned 18 studio albums for nearly 40 years and are still in high demand throughout the world. Rush had gone on to create some of the most memorable albums in rock with releases like Moving Pictures. Released in 1981, Moving Pictures has gone on to be Rush's most successfully album to date with hit such as "Limelight", "Tom Sawyer"," Vital Signs" and more. Playing Moving Pictures in it's entirety for the first time during the course of Rushs 60 date Time Machine Tour that brings the band across North and South America and to Sao Paulo Brazil for the first time in nearly a decade.


  Have missed the first date on August 16th, I was going to make sure not to miss the August 18th date for anything. Rush can easily play larger venues in Colorado, but opted to play  two nights at the historic Red Rocks Amphitheater set in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Naturally carved out of sandstone dating back to 290-296 million years ago, Red Rocks is a wonder of the west. With a capacity just under 10,000, Red Rocks is a small venue surround by outcrops and large  sloped cliffs stage left and right giving the intimate open-air venue concert experience. Geddy Lee said "It's an amazing location. One of the most beautiful concert venues in America...or anywhere. I would hazard a guess that it's one of the most beautiful anywhere."Source: Red Rocks Wikipedia.



 As I arrived, I walked the grounds as usual and grabbed a beer on the patio watching the wild life feed in the late after noon sun while cleaning my gear in preparation. Once gaining my bearings, it was time for a rock show that will not soon be forgotten. As the sun set and lit up the rocks a blood red color, the amphitheater was now full of screaming Rush fans. The crowd was mixed with much diversity, an age range from 6-75 at my best estimated guess. I have a change to speak with people who had traveled from all over to witness this landmark event of new and old Rush fans alike.


 At about 8:00 PM, The music over the PA dropped and the crowd let out a might roar. The opening sequence came over the screen of Rush dressed up in lederhosen playing "Spirit of the Radio" with accordians and tubas. The film cut to Geddy Lee playing the character of a  butcher at Gershons' Haus of Sausage speaking with an eastern European accent arguing with a customer about a new form of radio the customer had invented that gives a new sound unheard until now. The customer then gave a sample in which different variations of  "Spirit of the Radio" where performed with Disco, Country and finally progressing to the current Rush sound and style. The customer by accident hit the wrong button transporting Rush back to 1979, hence the Time Machine Tour. To much anticipation, Rush took to the stage and opened up the evening with "Spirit if the Radio".



 Rush played a blistering 3 hour set with 26 songs though an extensive catalog. The trio also had a chance to play two new songs, "Caravan" and "UB2B" form the upcoming 2011 release Clockwork and Angles proving they are not a nostalgic band relying on "the hits". The new songs went over well with the audience and fit in with the set list perfectly. The concert was compiled with two sets. The first portion containing 11 songs focused on Rushs later works with songs such as "Time Still Stands", "Presto", "Subdivisions", "Stick It Out". With a 20 minute intermission, Rush took a well deserved break in between that time and fans rushed to the nearest beer stand. I decided to get my equpment back out and do some more work from different focal points around the venue. The lights went back down and the and the crowd got up from the seats. Another video played over the background screen with Rush filming a video for "Tom Sawyer". The same character in the first film, hit time machine button again bringing Rush back though the history of time from teenage Rush to mid-evil times and eventually to the point in history where reverse evolution had occurred as monkeys where playing instruments. It was time for Rush to take to the stage again and for many, the concert was just about to begin. Performing the groundbreaking album Moving Pictures in it's entirety seemed to be a highlight for many in the crowd. After performing all the 7 songs from the album, Lee joked around saying that "We have 1,000 more songs we could play for you". As the first set was compiled of the newer material, even after Moving Pictures, Rush continued to play from the back catalog and closed out the set with a reggae version of "Working Man".





 Vocalist and bassist Geddy Lee sounded phenomenal with his distinct tone having very little struggle with the high altitude and dry air. With his multi-instrument ability, Lee displayed his talents on the bass and keyboards simultaneously. Lee was nothing but smiles the entire evening and looked as if he was having as much fun as the crowd while onstage. Drum prodigy Neil Peart displayed his effortless talents with a 10 minute long solo in his 360 degree circular rotating drum kit. Peart went into a jazz frenzy of beats paying tribute to big band and swing music with the likes of Gene Krupa that captivated the audience. Alex Lifeson (guitar) who is often overshadowed demonstrated his unique signature riffing the whole evening and played an extended acoustic solo intro for "Closer to the Heat" that echoed through the amphitheater. Rush as a whole, sounded amazing with the chemistry between the three and proves after 40 years, they only get better with time.





Throughout the years, Rush has had bizarre stage sets and the Time Machine tour was no exception. With a working sausage factory on stage, Rush had a giant projection screen stage center and pyrotechnics during cretin songs.


Overall Rush was an amazing show and overall a great evening with good music and people. I have never seen Rush live before up until now, but one thing is for certain, I will be seeing much more of them to make up for lost time. As the 2010 concert season winds down, Rush has been my highlight of the summer concert season with the exception only to Iron Maiden and was  a truly unique experience that I will always remember.




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