RUSH (Live)

At The Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield, U.K., May 28, 2013

Currently riding the crest of a rather large wave following last month’s long overdue induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Canadian rockers Rush returned to the UK in support of their latest chart busting opus, Clockwork Angels.

With a low profile in the mainstream media Rush have managed to shift well over 40 million albums acquiring more gold and platinum albums than any other band besides The Beatles, The Stones and Kiss making them arguably the biggest cult band in the world.


With a fiercely loyal fan base that borders on the obsessive and many that have stuck with the band over a four decade career, Rush fans turned up in their droves to welcome the band back to these shores despite the austerity busting ticket prices.

Hitting  the stage with “Subdivisions”, Rush focussed mainly on their ’80’s output in the first section of the show  with the Power Windows album in particular featuring prominently with “Manhattan Project” and “Territories” making a welcome return to the set.

Static, stale set lists just don’t happen with Rush.  Each tour features a collection of songs carefully picked to avoid duplication with previous tours bar the essential classics such as “Tom Sawyer” and “The Spirit of Radio”, which they simply cannot get away without playing, and this tour was no exception.

For the serious Rush spotters hoping for some rarities “The Body Electric” played for the first time in almost 25 years and “Analog Kid” from Signals were greeted like long lost friends with Lifeson’s explosive solo on the latter receiving a huge ovation from the enthusiastic crowd.


The stage show was a staggering spectacle.  With a huge steam punk inspired design backed by an enormous video screen and ten smaller screens that moved independently of each other together with a colossal lighting rig with enough lights to illuminate a small continent, this was an impressive sight and none more so than on a stunning “Red Sector A” where everything both musically and visually just slipped into place

With many bands however, a grandiose stage set merely distracts from the music but with Rush, this was just the icing on a very tasty cake as the main focus was very much on the music.


Rush are unlike any other band around today.  They have constantly evolved musically over the years and stayed relevant on their own terms while remaining hugely successful commercially with the same line-up for almost four decades. In terms of musicianship Rush have few peers.  Geddy Lee switches from vocals and bass to keyboards effortlessly while Neil Peart’s drum solo which is spread across three spots throughout the night remains a highlight of a Rush show.  While other drummers bore, Peart’s utilisation of tuned percussion and electronic effects together with his superhuman dexterity makes his solo spots a drumming tour de force.  Guitarist Alex Lifeson sounds like no one else. His totally unique style instantly recognisable while his solos weave their magic into the fabric of Rush’s material.  Each member is such a vital cog in the Rush wheel that it would be inconceivable for the band to continue if anyone were to leave.


With the second set drawing heavily on their recent Clockwork Angels album, Rush played a fair chunk of the record with the epic “Headlong Flight” evoking the spirit of prime time, vintage Rush but brought bang up to the 21st century while  “The Garden” saw them in an altogether more reflective mood.  The seven piece Clockwork Angels String Ensemble brought a new dimension to the Rush live experience and added an atmospheric ambience to the likes of “Bravado” and a new slant to the live favourite “YYZ” which saw Lifeson playfully duelling with them throughout.

Fans of ’70’s Rush were not overlooked entirely as a cut down version of “2112” brought the evening to triumphant close.  Even after a three hour show Rush fans were left wanting more and how many other bands could claim that after such a long set?

With a fortieth anniversary looming on the horizon and the prospect of a celebratory tour to accompany this landmark, Rush fans have much to look forward to even as the current tour draws to a close.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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