Happy to oblige, Mark! Spoilers follow (nothing TOO major, IMHO).
It was a great night. I caught up with my best friend from high school, the guy who introduced me to Rush’s music in 1985. The first Rush show I saw was in the spring of 1986, supporting the Power Windows
album. As per my quick note above, the first half of this concert felt like old times. I loved the deep cuts from Power Windows
, which is an album I still listen to often. It gets mixed reviews from the Rush faithful because of the heavy use of synthesizers, but I love it.
It sounds like they are playing two from two set lists, which the fantastic site Rush Is a Band
calls (A) and (B), which differ in five songs. Last night being the second show of the tour, we got the “B” setlist
. Having such a huge catalog of songs, it goes without saying that some classics (Limelight, Free Will, The Spirit of Radio) would be left off. This was also driven by the fact that the new album’s songs are so long, and they played so many of them, that it took up half the show. I'm not complaining, because the new stuff was great, but it was a little surprising to have several contiguous albums not be represented, as if Rush didn’t do anything interesting from 1977-1980 or 1992-2006.
The set design and the video graphics were very steampunk, so I imagine that, somewhere, pmbuko’s eyes were burning. Behind Geddy, there were four set pieces: a large gramophone type horn, a brain in a clear container, a set of Monty Pythonesque curly horns, and a functioning popcorn popper. Underneath were the words BASSY, BRAINY, HORNY, and CORNY. The appropriate word would light up depending on what song was being played. You can see it in this
fan-uploaded pic, which also shows off Geddy's steampunk synthesizers.
Geddy announced the intermission with the explanation that at their advanced age, they were going off for blood transfusions. The second set was announced with another cool video segment in which the band were gnomes who annoyed and tormented a government worker who was there to talk to the Watchmaker. Yeah, it made that much sense to me also.
The second set featured an 8-piece string section that played on all songs, not just the many that they played from the new album, Clockwork Angels
. Geddy noted that it was the first time in their nearly 40 years of touring that they’ve ever been joined onstage by other musicians.
Another twist was that instead of one long solo, Neil did three shorter drum solos. The whole band was flawless. They play as well as ever.
I skipped the $35 tshirts and got a $20 program. As usual, it’s full of fun.
All in all, a great night with a nice blend of the familiar and the fresh! Highly recommended.