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LIVE – Rush, San Jose, CA, November 15, 2012

| 28 February 2013 | Reply

CAtour Venue: HP Pavilion

City: San Jose, California

Reviewed by: Robert Kitay


Rush is one of my all time favorite bands and I never miss a Rush concert.  I’ve seen them so many times that I always have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Sure they usually dust off one or two deep cut gems that might be a surprise, but in general I seem to know what to expect.  But wow, this concert was not what I was expecting at all.  This concert had the huge screen behind the band, it had the pyrotechnics, it had the impressive light show, it had the funny videos featuring the band, it had the odd stage props (a popcorn machine in this case), and of course it had the superb musicianship that you expect at a Rush concert, but this concert included surprises beyond what anyone could have expected.

The first thing that stands out is a setlist that I don’t think anyone was expecting.  This concert was very heavy on the ‘80s synthesizer era, very heavy on the new “Clockwork Angels” tracks, and very light on the ‘70s era songs.  In fact, after playing the entire “Moving Pictures” album on the previous tour, they only played two songs off that album this go around, only one song off “Permanent Waves,” and one song from the 70’s era albums.   Who would have thought that they would have played as many songs from 1985’s album “Power Windows” than from “Moving Pictures” and all previous albums combined?  I certainly didn’t.

The concert also contained a couple other big surprises.  Instead of playing one long drum solo as he always had, Neil Peart actually played three different drums solos, one contained within “Where’s My Thing?” during the first set, a second mini drum solo within “Headlong Flight” during the second set, and finally a longer stand alone drum solo later in the second set.

And finally, probably the biggest surprise of the concert was the use of a string ensemble during most of the second set.  This actually wasn’t a complete surprise to me as Rush stated in interviews before the tour that they were going to do this, but it was a complete mystery as to how they were going to do this.  I believe that this is the very first time that Rush has included any other musicians on-stage other than the three of them.  The strings played during most of the second set, with the exception of “The Spirit of Radio.”  The addition of the strings made an interesting twist to the music.  I especially thought that “Manhattan Project” sounded fantastic with the addition of strings.

So, what did the crowd think of all the changes?  I might have expected to hear some complaints while leaving the arena, especially regarding the setlist, but I didn’t hear any at all.  I know many Rush fans lost interest once Rush entered the synthesizer era, but those fans must have stayed home because I heard nothing but positive comments on the show as I left the arena.  I think Rush has earned the right to play whatever they want, and we, as fans, should just feel privileged to be go along for the ride wherever it takes us.  Certainly, those that complain that bands play the same old setlist every tour have no reason to complain.  This was definitely not the same old Rush concert.


Set One: Subdivisions – The Big Money – Force Ten – Grand Designs – The Body Electric – Territories – The Analog Kid – Bravado – Where’s My Thing? (with a drum solo) – Far Cry

Set Two (with string ensemble): Caravan – Clockwork Angels – The Anarchist – Carnies – The Wreckers – Headlong Flight (with a mini drum solo) – Halo Effect – Seven Cities of Gold – The Garden – Manhattan Project – Drum Solo – Red Sector A – YYZ – The Spirit of Radio (without strings)

Encore: Tom Sawyer – 2112 (Overture, The Temples of Syrinx, Grand Finale)

Category: Live Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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