Rush American Airlines Center Wednesday, November 28
Last night at the American Airlines Center, which was filmed for a future DVD release, Canadian trio Rush took some bold chances by not playing a predictable set. They gave staples like "Limelight," "Working Man" and "Freewill" a rest. Matter of fact, the show was a reminder that you should probably own all of their records before buying a ticket to see them live.
See also: - Evan Chronister talks about his love of Rush
The band is still a fantastic sight to see, and a total powerhouse, since there was no opening act and only a brief intermission in the middle of the set. They were able to, like they've done on many of their last few tours, captivate an audience with a handful of popular tunes mixed with deep cuts and new songs.
Though there were some rough spots early into the set with missed notes and cues (and Lifeson's guitar briefly dropped out), everything ran smoothly after that. There were tracks from Roll the Bones, Power Windows and Grace Under Pressure, but there was also a whopping 10 songs from this year's Clockwork Angels.
Joining the band for all 10 of those songs, as well as a few older chestnuts like "YYZ" and "Red Sector A," was an eight-piece string section. This addition was certainly welcome on some of the standouts from Angels like "Wish Them Well" and "The Garden." Certainly a different way to appreciate Rush, since their concerts have always just been Lee, Lifeson, and Peart with the assistance of some backing tracks and samples here and there. Peart took the solo spotlight not one, but three times. Getting his Buddy Rich/Gene Krupa fix out with the first two, he played an extremely melodic solo on his third time out.
Briefly leaving the stage after "The Spirit of Radio," the band quickly came back for an encore that generated the loudest applause of the night. Pulling off their signature tune "Tom Sawyer," they ended with a shortened version of their opus A-side, "2112."
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Personal bias: Like a lot of the bands I've covered in the past year, Rush is one I've enjoyed since the '90s, but finally got around to seeing for the first time this year. I proudly own all of their live DVDs since Rush in Rio, so I had done my homework beforehand.
Random note: A guy walked into the floor area showing off a vanity license plate that read "BY-TOR," in reference to "By-tor and the Snow Dog."
By the way: The set-up on the stage was like previous tours. Mixing steampunk with props from Dr. Frankenstein's laboratory, there wasn't any room for chicken roasters or toy dinosaurs this time around.
Set list: "Subdivisions" "The Big Money" "Force Ten" "Grand Designs" "The Body Electric" "Territories" "The Analog Kid" "Bravado" "Where's My Thing?" "Far Cry" "Caravan" "Clockwork Angels" "The Anarchist" "Carnies" "The Wreckers" "Headlong Flight" "Halo Effect" "Seven Cities of Gold" "Wish Them Well" "The Garden" "Dreamline" "The Percussor" (drum solo) "Red Sector A" "YYZ" "The Spirit of Radio" "Tom Sawyer" "2112" Parts I, II, and VII