Rush have never been a band concerned with hit singles. Sure there's been one or two over their illustrious career spanning almost four decades, but it's through complete albums where Rush reign supreme. A haul of consecutive gold and platinum albums rivaled only by The Beatles and The Stones is testament to the enduring appeal of Canada's finest.
Arguably the most celebrated of all of these is their masterpiece Moving Pictures (although a strong case can be made for the likes of 2112, Permanent Waves, Hemispheres, A Farewell to Kings and ... you get the picture?), which is an incredible 30 years old this year. Rush boarded their "Time Machine" for a world tour highlighting their quadruple platinum opus in its entirety as the jewel in the crown of an epic 3 hour show.
The eye watering ticket prices reaching a wallet busting £80.00 ($130.00) didn't seem to deter the Rush faithful who turned out in their droves to welcome Rush back to the region since their last show in 2007.
Opening up in true Rush tradition, fans were treated to a humorous video set in a Gershon's Sausage House featuring a cheesy bar band being watched by a sausage munching "fatboy" Alex Lifeson, "grumpy traffic cop" Neil Peart, and "jovial bartender" Geddy Lee. The scene revolved around the bar band being zapped in a time machine and playing "The Spirit Of Radio" in different styles from an Oompah band to a Hippy combo before the real band hit the stage to "The Spirit Of Radio".
The appropriately monikered "Time Stands Still" made a very welcome return to their set and how this wasn't a huge hit remains a complete mystery, but that's the music business for you.
One of the real strengths of a Rush show is that the set list changes so much from tour to tour, meaning that vast swathes of the songs played during the show are totally different from those played on their Snakes And Arrows tour, so the likes of "Presto", "Stick It Out", and "Marathon" from the excellentPower Windows album received an airing, as did a reworked version of "Closer To The Heart". Not ones to overlook their loyal longstanding fans either, Rush chucked in uber-classic 2112 "Overture/Temples Of Syrinx" and a Reggae-infused take on "Working Man" from their 1974 debut album ensuring that all sectors of their fanbase were more than catered.
Never a band to rest on past glories, Rush played plenty of material from their latest album, Snakes And Arrows, including "Workin' Them Angels" and "Faithless" alongside brand new songs "Caravan" and "BU2B", featuring one of Lifeson's most punishing riffs in decades, from their forthcoming release Clockwork Angels. If these two songs are anything to go by, fans are in for a real treat when this sees the light of day.
The centre piece of the marathon show, however, was the performance of their classic Moving Pictures opus in its entirety in celebration of its 30thbirthday -- and what a joy it was to hear such rarely played gems as "Vital Signs" and the moody "Witch Hunt" alongside concert staples "Tom Sawyer" and "Limelight". But, it was perhaps the colossal "The Camera Eye" that really stole the show. What a pleasure it was to hear this album from start to finish in a live setting, confirming that this really is one of the finest albums in Hard Rock's history.
The "Time Machine" theme was encapsulated in a fantastic stage set, featuring a Wallace and Gromit style brass contraption stretching across the stage and encasing Lifeson's amps, which belched smoke and fired jets of flames and fireworks at opportune moments. The gargantuan spider-like lighting rig was possibly the most ambitious set up the band have ever used, adding to the overall drama and atmosphere of the show as it ascended and descended over the band, firing out beams of light in a myriad of directions.
The attention to detail was incredible from the revolving gramophone unit at the side of the stage to the bulbous 3-D eyes protruding from the base of Peart's enormo-kit. The tickets may have been expensive, but you could see where a large chunk of the money went.
As usual, the musicianship was peerless, whether it was Lifeson's spectacular solo during "La Villa Strangiato", or Peart's drum extravaganza that ran through a whole range of styles from Tribal, Electronica, and Big Band and ensured a huge standing ovation, to Geddy Lee's incredible bass runs and musical dexterity. It really was the musical equivalent of watching Brazil's 1970 World Cup Winning team -- a "team" absolutely at the top of their game.
How Rush can top that show is open to debate, but bearing in mind the significance that next year is 100 years prior to the setting of the legendary 2112, how about a pre-Centenary celebration of 2112 featuring the whole album in its entirety? Now THAT would really be something.