Classic rock band 'Rush' makes a stop in Chula Vista, CA as a part of their Time Machine Tour. The performance is fun for all rock fans.
When RUSH comes to town I don’t miss it, and that has been the case since 1975 when I attended my very first rock concert at the San Diego Civic Theater featuring RUSH opening for KISS. What a show, but that’s another story (see My First Concert here).
I have been a fan of RUSH since day one, playing their 1974 self titled debut record until the grooves had grooves in them. I anticipated their next release for some more of the same only to find out that things had changed dramatically. A new drummer named Neil Peart and a whole new sound and direction. The debut album RUSH released will always stand alone as a straight forward blues based hard rock record.
What came next was something I had never heard before. Their 1975 release ‘Fly By Night‘ launched RUSH into uncharted territory. Sophisticated arrangements, thought provoking lyrics, unusual and complicated time signatures and all this with a hard driving, hard hitting energy of epic proportions. Thirty six years later, with 19 studio records (number 20 titled ‘Clockwork Angels‘ will be recorded at the conclusion of this tour) 8 live records, a full length documentary film, a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame and a million or so live shows, RUSH is still at it, and at a very high level.
An army of semi trucks filled with Steampunk themed gear including Geddy Lee’s Time Machine/Sausage Grinder rig, Alex Lifeson’s custom Hughes & Kettner amps that look like giant old fashion radios and Neil Peart’s copper themed DW drums (equipped with a rotating drum riser), a GeFilter (a device of musical genius) and a ton of lighting gear pulled into Chula Vista, CA. After a lot of sweat and hard work the stage was transformed into RUSH’s playground.
Getting close to showtime and the seats are filling fast. A short time later, the lights go down and the first of three very well produced and impressive video’s begins to play. After the hilarious opening video exposing the boys sense of humor as they act their way through a skit featuring goofy characters played by Geddy, Alex and Neil ends,RUSH hits the stage with their opening song, ‘The Spirit Of Radio‘ a standard show opener during various tours. The stage settings and lighting rigs are impressive, almost theme park like. Picture Disneyland for hard rock. The energy level is high and the mix is spot on. After three songs, the aforementioned ‘The Spirit Of Radio,’ ‘Time Stand Still‘ and ‘Presto‘ Geddy proclaims “Good evening San Diego, it’s good to be back” much the delight of the rambunctious crowd.
Speaking of the crowd, RUSH is now performing for at least three generations that include grey haired grandparents to kids being led around by the hand by mom or dad, this is truly a family affair. One that parents can be comfortable with because RUSH is and always has been a class act, leaving the foul language for more appropriate times and places.
Next up ‘Stick It Out.‘ At this point, the cool night air and stiff breeze has me feeling a bit chilly and it’s funny, because I was not willing to stick it out. I will let you in on a little secret. Since I saw this same tour in Irvine, CA in the summer of 2010 and the first part of the set is a bit weak (I know RUSH fans are freaking out as I say this, but for me it was) I decided to head to the concession stand selling RUSH apparel to lay down some hard earned cash on some over priced long sleeved Time Machine Tour shirts for my son Russell and I.
While on this mission I hear the boys break into ‘Workin’ Them Angels.’ $80 dollars later and were set. As I return to my seat (which I never sat in during the entire show) they begin to play ‘Leave That Thing Alone‘ and then ‘Faithless.’ At times Geddy appears to be working pretty hard to hit those high notes he once sang when he was younger, but being the consummate professional that he is, he gets there.
Now RUSH plays a brand new song, well sort of. It’s ‘BU2B‘ (Brought Up To Believe) the B-side to the single ‘Caravan‘ which was released June 1st, 2010 and will be included on the upcoming ‘Clockwork Angels‘ CD. This is a pretty heavy tune compared to what RUSH has been putting out lately and has me looking forward to the new CD.
Now for me, this is where the show really kicks in and I never look back. RUSH breaks into ‘Freewill‘ off my favorite album by the band, ‘Hemispheres‘ and my energy level, along with many others attending the show goes through the roof (if there was one) I can feel it. RUSH is at the top of their game as the song moves to the section where Geddy lays down a killer bass line as Neil joins in with his equally impressive drumming, Alex begins to shred on his guitar, performing an epic solo. Next, they begin to play a favorite track of mine off ‘Power Windows‘ called ‘Marathon,’ and it is on.
At this point a thought enters my mind, I don’t know why (well actually I do) but it does. This amazing band of unbelievably talented musicians who have influenced countless bands and musicians over the years and entertained millions of rock fans around the world for over 35 years have not even be nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (or Lame as I like to call it) how can this be?
What a travesty, what an absolute joke that place is when they can’t even recognize the significance and impact that this magnificent band has had on rock music. I am standing here in awe of the greatest power trio in the history of rock music and those buffoons at the hall don’t even get it. I feel sorry for them that they have not embraced and enjoyed this juggernaut of innovative progressive hard rock music and reveled in their historic run through time. Just then I snap out of it as the rumble of ultra low keyboard notes blast out of the PA, ‘Subdivisions,’ oh yeah.
After their song about social outcasts and the unpopular, experiencing the pressures of growing up and fitting in concludes, Geddy announces “Due to the fact that we are 100 years old, we must take a break” and disappears off stage. The house lights come on and we are released from the grip of this mesmerizing display of sights and sounds.
With batteries recharged, the second half of the show gets underway with another video featuring the guys portraying different characters. Geddy as a snobby director, Neil as his cameraman and Alex playing a very fat Ray Daniels (the bands longtime manager) it’s quite funny, with a segment depicting German girls prancing around in Dirndl’s (traditional German dress) carrying pitchers of beer. When they walk through the set, director Geddy yells “Cut, cut, cut! Ladies, stop moving pitchers.” Frustrated, Geddy’s pretentious director character walks off the set and Alex’s character, Ray takes over counting out, 1, 2, 3, 4 and Rush breaks into ‘Tom Sawyer.'