Live At BB&T Center, Sunrise, FL, April 26, 2013
UG Team, on may 06, 2013 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: It's been a good past couple of years for prog giants, Rush. A couple of Juno awards here, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction there; let's face it, Rush has found the gold at the end of the rainbow, if they haven't already. They have already been touring well over a year in support of "Clockwork Angels" and this locomotive is still steaming ahead.
I had the honor of seeing them at their second show since their R&RHOF induction earlier in the month. Rush was out in full force, giving their standard show which by normal measures is not standard at all. Other than some mistakes by Alex that I could only discern from listening to the show later, Rush played a flawless show.
I was surprised at their ability to recreate exactly the studio sound of "Clockwork Angels".
Alex's tone was spot on compared to the album, though this sound led to the sacrifice of his tone that was prevalent on earlier material. He bungled his part at a couple of points (very noticeable "Tom Sawyer" pre-chorus misstep) and when he slid up and down the neck, the motion was audible much like that of a novice player. He is most certainly not a novice, just slightly out of practice. On the bright side, though a little less than normal, his ability to play in exact time without looking at anyone else was uncanny. Overall, an average night, maybe a little below.
I have always marveled at Geddy's forcefully true/clear bass tone and it was there during the show, though I thought that it was put too low in the mix. The ironic thing is that Geddy's bass was actually mixed in perfectly, but for Rush especially, the bass should be higher than usual. I truly wished that it would get higher throughout the night because Geddy was on fire. He was running around like normal and seemed much younger than 95% of the crowd. I am also a fan of how his voice has matured over the years. While his voice has definitely changed over the years like other singers', I think his voice has changed for the better.
Neil was beyond excellent and proved why many, me included, consider him the best drummer on the planet. My impression of his first drum solo was on par with that of Eddie Van Halen's live version of "Eruption". Though he seemed to be copying his studio playing exactly, his variety was an amazing sight to see and his only visible misstep of the night was when he dropped (and then quickly recovered) his drumstick during his drum solo. There was also a kind of amusing running joke throughout the night because he kept trying to flip and catch his drumstick, but he would always miss, then bounce it off of his body back to himself. The collective tone of his drums was, in my opinion, the best collection of tone of all the members on stage.
But, of course, the members of the stage did not number three, but ten. The seven-piece Clockwork Angels String Ensemble was a first-rate group of rock and roll musicians. They didn't read music, they always had real, not cheerleader plastered, smiles, and they were always moving around in their little area. Besides their musicianship, I enjoyed the natural stage presence that they exuded since none of their moves seemed coordinated, but felt like actual moves of enjoyment and excitement. In addition, they were masterfully put into the mix so that they still added texture to all of the songs while not overtaking the show, keeping a concert atmosphere instead of a production feel. // 9
Perfomance: The Clockwork Angels tour has been mostly a showcase of songs from that album and deep tracks, many of which have never been performed live before. I believe that this was done to satisfy hardcore fans after the Time Machine tour in which many of the band's mainstream songs were played.
The set list was:
02. The Big Money
03. Force Ten
04. Grand Designs
05. The Body Electric
07. The Analog Kid
09. Where's My Thing? (with short drum solo)
10. Far Cry
Set Two with Clockwork Angels String Ensemble:
12. Clockwork Angels
13. The Anarchist
15. The Wreckers
16. Headlong Flight
17. Halo Effect (with guitar solo intro)
18. Seven Cities of Gold
19. The Garden
20. Manhattan Project
21. Drum Solo (The Percussor)
22. Red Sector A
24. The Spirit Of Radio (without ensemble)
25. Tom Sawyer
26. 2112 Part I: Overture
27. 2112 Part II: The Temples Of Syrinx
28. 2112 Part VII: Grand Finale
I am a moderate Rush fan. I like their hits like "YYZ" and "Working Man", while not as large a fan of their deep tracks like "Grand Designs" and "Force Ten". Therefore, this set did not appeal to me as much as their Time Machine tour would have. But, I understand their direction; the man two seats over from me was at his forty-second Rush show. Nevertheless, their first set didn't register with me as well as it did those hardcore fans. Though I know that many people wanted to hear these deep tracks, the majority of the crowd only stood up once they started playing "YYZ". Still, they played the deep songs in the same way that they played the songs I knew. Since they excellently played the songs I knew, it is fair to assert that they played these deep tracks excellently as well.
However, one thing I gained from this show was a greater appreciation for every song that came after the first set. I already own "Clockwork Angels". I wasn't that particular towards it, maybe "Caravan" and "Seven Cities Of Gold", but not much else. Their performance of nine of the songs from this album has caused a new awakening in me towards the album. Now I thoroughly enjoy the whole album. The same thing goes for "2112"; I wasn't really a fan of it until after I saw it live.
Jumping into another dimension, Rush's stage had a very interesting configuration. They still had the washing machine-like things from the Time Machine tour and Neil's drums had the same paint job, though the bass drum had the "Clockwork Angels" album cover drawn on it. Also, Geddy's keyboard and both Alex and Geddy's pedal boards were constructed with the "Clockwork Angels" idea in mind. The moving video monitors were stationary more so than I would have liked and I don't think that they were used at all during the first set.
Though I had never been to a Rush concert before, I still had certain expectations of what the stage would be like. Bombs, fireworks, and fire were not incorporated into those expectations. Especially on the song "Carnies", Rush used a load of different fireworks and bombs that blew me back in my seat when I was unprepared. As a side note, the light show on "Red Sector A" was far above that of any of the other songs that night.
The only criticism I have of the stage is that it used all of the aforementioned features in moderation. While the features were precisely placed, I think they could've gone a little further in their complexity and/or quantity. I understand that the stage show is not meant to be the feature of the show, but with the way stage shows have progressed over the years, Rush's didn't impress me as much as it should/could have.
Another somewhat essential element to a modern day rush show is the movie that is showed onscreen before and after Rush plays. It was funny to watch and I wish that I could see it again to attain a better understanding of the storyline. From what I could tell, a watchmaker is trying to either build a watch or get a watch fixed while being heckled by the dwarves (Rush) who work in the shop where the watchmaker is. // 9
Overall Impression: Overall, despite my pessimistic criticisms, Rush put on a great show. They endeared me to "Clockwork Angels" and they amazed me with performances of songs that I have rehearsed hundreds of times. To be honest, after watching them play "YYZ", the highlight of the night, it made we want to stop practicing the song; there was no way that I could ever play it that well. When they played "The Spirit Of Radio", I could not help but have a smile on my face, and for "2112", I could not help but move to the music.
Geddy's down to earth mentality as well as his supreme playing combined with Peart's made this an unforgettable night for all. But, here is my pessimism again, I feel that it could have been better.
And for the record, it is possible to be a moderate Rush fan.
This concert took place on April 26, 2013 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida and lasted approximately three hours, twenty minutes of which were an intermission. Check out photos here.
Videos from YouTube: