The show marked the kick-off of the 2011 leg of the Time Machine tour the progressive gods have been doing since 2010. The show firs features a standard set of songs spanning the years, including a few songs from the band's upcoming new album, Clockwork Angels.
That's then followed by a set of what many consider to be the quintessential Rush album, Moving Pictures, start to finish. As such, this was a very nostalgic show for many, and there was a large number of families in the audience, clearly cases of rock and roll parents passing the musical torch.
The "time machine" concept of the production incorporated a massive screen along the back of the stage, which played an original film made for each song, complete with '90s-style computer graphics and stage shots. The screen, however, also became a control panel for the time machine between each song, sending you back to the date of the album's release.
The stage set was also built to echo the time machine theme, with what looked like reactors placed where amp stacks would normally go, and pods of "nuclear fuel" attatched to different sections of Neil Peart's horrifyingly claustrophobic drum kit. Pyrotechnics were also used sparingly at points throughout the show.
All of this was a very cool touch by a band that really could get by simply playing its songs and playing on a level that exempts it from the usual big-budget show tricks. After all, Rush is generally considered music for musicians, especially proven last night by Peart's 20-minute drum solo, played atop a rotating riser.
The self-proclaimed nerds of the highest order have only grown better in their "advanced years," as frontman Geddy Lee so elequently put it, playing for close to three hours with only one intermission between sets. It goes without saying that there wasn't a note out of place the entire night, and the interplay between these three legendary musicians is really quite inspiring.
It's rare that a band as revered as Rush goes through any portion of its back catalog without appearing to be simply going through the motions. However, the band members all appeared to really enjoy the Moving Pictures set, making for a really great show.
Personal Bias: I was raised to hate Rush by my blues-fan father. I now date a Rush fanatic.
Random Detail: Geddy Lee started the night in a shirt reading "Rash" in the classic Rush font.
Overheard: "Hit that shit! Oh. My. God!" -- female fan during that 20-minute drum solo