It's The End Of The Week As We Know It: Part 76 - RUSH!

I was going to write about something completely different this week, but plans change. After all, it's not every day you wake up and learn that you're going to see Rush.

Ultimate Guitar

During a particularly stressful day at work - one of those days where every little thing that gets asked of you starts to build up to the point where you want to lash out irrationally at unsuspecting pedestrians on the street - my frustration and general fatigue deflated when I stumbled into a conversation with a fellow coworker and music fan in the bathroom, which is sadly the only stress-free room in the office building.

He prompted a question: Are you a fan of Rush?

A fan... hmm, I replied. I wouldn't say I'm a fan per se, but I definitely appreciate Rush.

Well they're playing tonight in San Jose and a couple friends bailed on tickets. Want in?

That sounds good... only thing is write this column for a guitar website every Thursday night, which generally takes a while... I don't know, I may have to sit this out.

Okay, well let me know.

I returned to my desk, blinked a few times, and realized the pure stupidity of merely entertaining the notion of not going. What was I thinking? Of course I'm going to go see Rush tonight!

So here I am, finished with work and able to cram a few minutes of writing in before we leave for the show. As is my dedication to my UG readers and my insatiable thirst to hear my own voice spew out nonsense in a word processing document every week, I'm still going to get this blog in. IN I TELL YOU!

So before the show, I'll give some of my current thoughts Rush.

Like I said before - never been a huge fan, yet I hold a great respect for the band. I suppose I always found Geddy Lee's voice to be a little shrill. I figure his voice is an acquired taste, but I haven't listened to too many Rush albums to develop an appetite.

Outside of the band's reputation as wise progressive rock masters and expert musicians, my knowledge of their music is rather limited. I have Moving Pictures and know the hits, but I couldn't go toe-to-toe with those Rush fanatics on band trivia. And if the movie I Love You Man, is any indication, Rush HAS those fanatics... mostly dudes.

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I did manage to see their recent documentary Beyond The Lighted Stage, which was extremely well done. The guys came off as very intelligent and level headed, which is probably a testament as to why they have been able to have such a lasting career. They just really came off as likeable dudes. No douchebaggery present.

So although I'm not super knowledgeable about the band, I root for them. Nerd rock, prog rock, thinking-man's rock whatever you call it, Rush has sustained a decade spanning career and needless to say, I'm intrigued to see what the virtuoso drummer Neal Peart, innovative bassist Geddy Lee and axeman Alex Lifeson have to deliver live. It's gotta be good right?... they're RUSH!

Talk amongst yourselves and I'll get back to you after the show...

(5 hours later)


Uh. Yeah. Rush is pretttayyy, prettayy, pretty amazing.

They played for nearly 3 hours. Pyro, flares, revolving drumkits, brilliant light show, kooky screen animations... a live string section! The show exceeded my expectations for sure!

Because my brain is still trying to wrap itself around the concert experience (and since it's 1:30 in the AM), here's a fragmented review:

Rush can PLAY. I knew that going into the show, but seeing it live really makes it quite apparent that they have been playing together for 30 years and are such a tight band. Individually, each member stands out and has incredible chops, but as a unit, they gel perfectly. Even with Neal Peart's busy drumming, all musical elements mesh together.

And speaking of Peart he's truly an amazing drummer. Encircled by two drumsets, his riser would rotate at various points in the show and he'd take some interesting drum solos. One of his drumsets was electric, which triggered various sounds and note values. This enabled him to really make music out of his drum solos. Kinda speechless...

A significant portion of the set involved songs from Rush's new album, Clockwork Angels; it didn't matter that they favored the new stuff because the new stuff is great songs like The Wreckage, The Garden and Caravan, accompanied by the live string section, really came off as symphonic rock at its best.

And of course, the hits were spot on and packed a punch - YYZ, Tom Sawyer, 2112 and The Spirit Of Radio, killed. Crowd went nuts. Crowd ate up every minute of the 3-hour set. Crowd went home happy.

So anyway, that's me popping my Rush cherry. Safe to say, this concert definitely inspired me to start exploring more of Rush's catalog. Maybe you have a similar experience. For any Rush fans in here, please share your thoughts and feelings on the band and why you dig them so much.

Now it's time for some sleep... pardon any typos.

On the Next 'End Of The Week As We Know It':

After hearing ex-Iron Maiden singer Paul Di'Anno's onstage criticism of Bruce Dickinson's gay operatic vocals, Maiden, not wanting to seem fruity, fires Bruce Dickinson and welcomes back Di'Anno.

Sebastian Bach's new project, which will apparently revolutionize popular music as we know it, is pure gold; Bach skyrockets to international fame and has Justin Bieber, Bon Jovi and One Direction open for his international tour.

Enraged after learning that Disney has banned Machine Head from performing on Disney owned property, the band retaliates by ritualistically breaking all their children's Disney-related toys and movies.

By Zach Pino Twitter: @zachpino

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    My first rush show was awesome, it was during the Snakes and Arrows tour. I snuck down to the main floor for the second half of the show and was about 8 rows back right in front of Geddy. The thing that amazes me about them is that they are incredibly tight and their performances are flawless, truly great musicians. Also I saw myself on the big screen during Spirit of the Radio (right after "Concert Hall!!!") which was pretty awesome. Glad you decided to go to the show after all haha.
    mat hazelwood
    This guy's first Rush experience matched mine almost perfectly. Everyone comes out of a Rush concert thinking those guys are the best individual musicians I've seen in a long time. Slappa da bass!
    I WAS THERE! i was hoping to see some article on it, but i figured it wouldn't happen, cuz it just just another Rush show on their tour. But no! The San Jose show was incredible! This article must've been written by a twin I didn't know about, because it pretty much explains my night last night. I've seen Beyond the Lighted Stage, I listen to a decent amount of Rush and know stuff about them to be considered a big fan. Very entertaining show, although there was an absence of Limelight, Freewill, Red Barchetta and Working Man. I was hoping for The Body Electric (which they played), Xanadu and La Villa Strangiato haha. My seat wasn't the best, but I still loved the show, watching from Geddy's side, surrounded by cool middle-aged people. Not many 17-year-olds like me there.
    Totally agree with you about how seeing a band live makes you go from appreciating them to being a fan.
    I really need to get more into these guys. I remember I stole Roll the Bones from family when I was a kid and listened to it a lot, but never really followed up later in life.
    Spirit of Rich
    Hi, nice piece, really enjoyed reading that. Just wanted to say, as a Rush fan of 30 years, that I really envy the journey you're about to go on in discovering the Rush back catalogue. My discovery happened one long, hot summer in the early eighties during my mid-teenage years and my love of those songs and the band has never waned, they've been the soundtrack to my life ever since. Enjoy, mein freund!
    That was a great column. I've gone to Rush shows with a few people who aren't huge fans and/or haven't seen the band live before, and they always leave with a new-found respect for the band. I'm seeing them tomorrow and Monday. I decided a year or two ago that I'm seeing every concert of theirs when they're in my neck of the woods. Saw them twice on the Snakes and Arrows tour (once in Boston, once in LA), saw both LA shows on the Time Machine tour, and seeing both shows now. Excited? Hell yeah....
    Rush is one of.those bands that id like to get in to... if anyone could.reccommend a place to start id appreciate it.
    mat hazelwood
    Kingdom of Hearts, or 2112, Spirit of Radio...or Moving pictures as the article stated, you can't go wrong wherever you start
    I just saw Rush for the 2nd time recently in Philly, during the Clockwork Angels Tour. I took my Wife this most recent time. She was completely blown away, even though she only knew a few songs.
    Been a huge Rush fan for years but this year was my first time seeing them live. A truly life changing experience. I do a radio show in Flint, MI so naturally I did my top ten hard rock/heavy metal albums of 2012 and Clockwork Angels topped my list.