Official Seattle review

Started by Headbanger, July 05, 2004, 08:37:50 am

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Rush still packs punch, from past to present

Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Canadian progressive rock trio Rush took fans on a musical journey of great breadth and depth during a performance that featured 30 songs and lasted more than three hours at White River Amphitheatre Friday night.

Rush's set list balanced hits with seldom-played material. The combination made for a thorough overview of the group's career, complete with green lasers, a great light show and some pyrotechnics thrown in for an added kick.

Classics such as "Working Man" and "The Spirit of Radio" were packaged alongside lesser-known songs like "The Trees" and "Between the Wheels." And although a few songs, "Tom Sawyer" and "Subdivisions" in particular, sounded like the out-of-date classic rock radio staples they are, Rush showed the songs have aged gracefully.

The night began with an instrumental that teased the crowd with bits of several of Rush's best songs, including "Finding My Way," "Anthem" and "Bastille Day." The monstrous riffs seemed empty without a full song to support them, but it would have been impossible for the band to play the songs in their entirety without making the performance more than four hours long. Plus, it was a great way to start a show.

Vocalist Geddy Lee's near-falsetto voice is the group's trademark, and his shrill singing held up well during the night.

When the video screens onstage weren't showing Lee singing, they were focusing on Alex Lifeson's remarkable guitar work or Neal Peart, whose enormous drum kit was hard to miss.

Watching Peart perform was like watching a master work at his craft. His drum set enclosed him in 360 degrees of instruments that included a mind-boggling number of cymbals, cowbells, tom-toms and snare drums, and he played them all as if they were extensions of his hands. The kit even rotated so Peart could reach the drums behind him.

On Rush's latest offering, "Feedback," the band pays tribute to its influences by covering their classic recordings. The disc features covers of Buffalo Springfield, Cream, Eddie Cochran and other artists.

Several covers from that album made their way into Rush's set including an acoustic version of the Yardbirds' "Heart Full of Soul," Robert Johnson's "Crossroads" and a rousing performance of the Who's "The Seeker."