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Rush : Show Review : Chicago: 10.30.2002

by Dave Dalka

Photo by Paul Parks.
Rush, Setting Themselves on Fire!

Earlier this summer I went to see Rush and a friend and I found ourselves a little let down by the performance in terms of song selection and the overall quality of the performance. The rust from several years of not playing together after Neil Peart's unfortunate personal tragedies were present on that night, which would be expected of any group who had gone through a five year sabbatical.

Interestingly the official Rush website has this quote on it, "Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion: you must set yourself on fire." Apparently, Rush themselves were not totally satisfied with the shows this summer and this apparently lit a fire inside of them. They apparently spent considerable time and effort altering set lists, practicing and with Neil reconfiguring and lengthening his drum solo to a full eight minutes! On this night, the sound guys did an outstanding job as well, the mix was nearly flawless and they were indeed on fire! The interaction between Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson was sincere, playful and even more fun than usual. Geddy openly laughing during Alex's new spoken word segment was excellent as well. The use of different lighting from lasers to pyrotechnics, were simply phenomenal.

Besides the standard songs and a small smattering of songs from the Vapor Trails album, there were some gems that you don't get to hear all too often like Working Man. I could put in the standard Rush show review and say I wish they would have played "___________", but what is the point of that?

Highlights of the set included "Big Money", which after many years suddenly has a new relevance again in our society, the message of the song is even more real and timeless now. The fact that they added "The Trees" to the set list right after "Big Money" has an amazing irony with recent corporate events.
  Rush Setlist    
01 Tom Sawyer 14 Driven
02 Distant Early Warning 15 Ghost Rider
03 New World Man 16 Secret Touch
04 Roll the Bones 17 Dreamline
05 Earthshine 18 Red Sector A
06 YYZ 19 Leave That Thing Alone
07 The Pass 20 [Drum Solo]
08 Bravado 21 Resist
09 Big Money 22 Overture
10 The Trees 23 Temples of the Syrinx
11 Free Will 24 Limelight
12 Natural Silence 25 La Villa Strangiato
13 One Little Victory 26 The Spirit of Radio
Bytor & the Snow Dog
Cygnus X-1
Working Man
The Geddy Lee bass solo during Driven demonstrates the brilliance of this song and the amazing, unique and quiet superiority of Geddy's bass playing, whichcommands attention and still sets the standard for which all other bass players are judged by. It's also amazing to note that the old school Rush fans that used to be resistant to the new songs were openly cheering absolutely anything that was older than Vapor Trails. All these songs had "graduated" to the classics category. I guess good music with the passage of five years does that to a person's perception.

Based on this performance, it's clear that Rush is clearly capable of putting on an awesome and inspiring show as they now play to crowds in their fourth decade. This feat alone puts them in rare company. Based on the trio's accomplishments, class and complete lack of scandal whatsoever; you could easily argue they are ablaze at the top of this class. I intend on reading Neil's book as a result of this show. If Rush comes to a city near you anytime soon, I'd strongly urge you to catch a glimpse of Rush's current tour.

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