Cruzan Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Rush completed the North American leg of its "Time Machine" tour in West Palm Beach on Saturday on a stage that seemed to unite the past, present, and future for all
participants at this venue. The creative antique stage design -- complete with copper
hardware, drums, amplifiers, and other mechanical gadgets -- served as
the perfect metaphor for this time-travel journey. Occasionally, steam blew out of pipes,
creating a magical, clockwork atmosphere. The lighting included retro
colors of amber, orange, and green. This colorful stage synched nicely
with the dynamic musical patterns of Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart.
The concert opened with a comical video, "The 'Real' History of Rush Act
1," that included a galactic introduction of humorous characters
portrayed by Lee, Lifeson, and Peart in a future
setting. The band "Rash" played a bizarre Polka version of "The Spirit
of Radio" at Gershon's Haus of Sausage. Lifeson's character, a fat man who
loves to eat sausage and revisit the past, tinkers with a machine that
serves as "a device of musical genus." This time-machine device assisted
Rash to play "The Spirit of Radio" in different styles of disco,
country, and Rush's traditional style. At the climax, Lifeson's character
emphasized "Never touch this button," and yet he still managed to press
it -- transforming these main characters from the future to the present
stage as "Rush," thus playing "The Spirit of Radio" live. Quite an
introduction as the crowd rose to its feet and cheered. As the
band and the audience came together, the spirit of Rush was well alive.
Beyond the lighted stage, the audience was full of intense, air-drumming fans. This crowd included a range of fans from preteens to retirees. From the classic Rush fan with an original 2112 faded T-shirt to a professional with Prada glasses and a $50 Rush polo shirt, this audience was as diverse as the music itself. Notable were the dedicated female Rush fans in the audience, including a lady next to me air-drumming to Peart for most of the show. I asked her at the intermission how long she had been a fan, and she replied, "Since 1984, when Grace Under Pressure came out." This audience could produce endless memoirs of their lives based upon what was happening around the time a Rush album was released.
Lee, appearing in his "Rash" T-shirt, seemed relaxed, displaying some unique bass-playing moves especially on the instrumental "Leave That Thing Alone." When speaking to the audience, he mentioned his fun as a "silly moment" on a "steamy night." Geddy's bass playing lived up to his proficient reputation, and he played with vigor and passion.
Lifeson's skillful performance was brilliantly experienced through his guitar arsenal and custom time-machine amplifiers. To compliment his ensemble of Gibson, Fender, and Paul Reed Smith guitars, Alex's custom Hughes and Kettner amplifiers took the appearance of an antique TV-radio combo from an older time period. He also seemed at his best on this steamy night sweating with each note.
Neil displayed his amazing talent and abilities through his focused performance. Living up to his reputation as rock's best drummer, he proved to be the time machine of the band, thus keeping precise timing of syncopated rhythms. Neil's consistency was evident throughout the evening. Neil's drum solo included a mix of his styles. Neil's endurance sustained until the very end as Geddy and Alex turned up the speed on the solo for "Working Man." Neil kept perfect time.
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Definitely worth seeing in real time, this is what makes Rush Rush.
-- Jeffrey Cotton
Video: The 'Real' History of Rush Act 1
The Spirit of Radio
Time Stand Still
Stick It Out
Workin' Them Angles
Leave That Thing Alone
Brought Up to Believe
Video: The 'Real' History of Rush Act 2
The Camera Eye
Closer To The Heart
La Villa Strangiato