.

Rush Live in Chicago 9/15/12


by Anthony Kuzminski

.
September 15, 2012 at United Center in Chicago, IL

Watching the Canadian rock band Rush perform in concert is nothing short of an astonishing miracle. Every time Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart step onstage, Rush fans are acutely aware they are witnessing something that should not be. Back in 1997 and 1998, Neil Peart experienced a dual tragedy that would permanently sideline any other human being for life. I won't bore you with the details and if you're interested in the lone trek he made to come through the other side, pick up Peart's book Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road to attempt to grasp the ache he experienced. However, as I watched the band onstage inside the United Center this past Saturday, I cannot help but feel they are at the peak of their powers on their current tour. During the show's second song "The Big Money", bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson were huddled around Neil Peart's drum kit as the let loose for a jam. Watching the robust resolve of these three men is a notable sight. The chemistry between the three is palpable. The Chicago crowd locked their eyes on the band as they came back to bring the song to a dramatic climax. It has only been fourteen months since Rush completed their latest tour and yet despite Chicago only being the fifth show of the tour, they appeared to be in better shape than most band's into a yearlong tour. The Time Machine Tour from 2010-11 featured the band performing Moving Pictures in its entirety. This time around, the band hit the stage with a vision for the future, represented by their latest studio album Clockwork Angels. The 160-minute show was split into two sets with the first hour consisting of older deep cuts followed by an hour long set focusing on Clockwork Angels and then 45-additional minutes of hits. Rush is not the type of band who is going to significantly shift their set list night-to-night but on the flipside, they sit down and rehearse extensively for each and every tour to the degree that their first show of the tour and their final one are almost on the same musical level. They hit the road with the bar set high and never dip below it.

After a quick video introduction beginning at 7:40, Rush took to the stage eliciting roars as they opened with the concentrated keyboard opening of "Subdivisions". For the next hour, Rush delivered definitive versions of many hits and rarely played album cuts. While Rush may not change up their songs the way Pearl Jam or Springsteen do, they tackle every tour trying to unearth some forgotten gems and the 2012 jaunt is no different. "Grand Designs", "The Body Electric", "Territories" and the "Manhattan Project" received their first live airings in more than two decades while the "Analog Kid", "Where's My Thing", "Bravado", "Force Ten", "Red Sector A" and "The Big Money" all making appearances for the first time at least two tours. That is at least ten songs not performed the last two tours at every show. Add on the nine Clockwork Angels songs and you have a show where nearly seventy-five percent of it is new from their last two tours. Rush does their catalog service never allowing it to overstay its welcome with each song taking a well-deserved break and when the time and tour is right, they will bring it back out where it will sound rejuvenated and refreshed. In a decade where certain artists claim to change the sets every night, these changes often consist of pedestrian material that fits in the vocal range of the singer and rarely giving into the audience's demands but Rush appears to be acutely aware of what their audience wants and the performances of these songs are infused with immediacy. "Bravado" found Lifeson throwing himself into his solo with such vigor it could only be matched by the concentrated drumming of Peart. The jazz-funk fusion of "Where's My Thing" was a vehicle for Geddy Lee's four string dexterity while the guiding drive of "Far Cry" which featured a eye-gazing pyrotechnic blast amidst soulful musical precision. "The Body Electric" was menacing in its heavy-footed stomping by Peart where he matched the rising intensity of Lee's vocals note-after-note. Consistent with recent tours, the staging featured state-of-the-art videos, lighting and props. The beauty off their stage is that while they help connect the crowd and further themes of the songs, it never overshadows the music. The animation scenes compliment the songs and pull those in the nosebleeds closer to the stage. The band is not afraid to laugh at themselves (notable through the mini movies and animations), but by being so endearing, it clears the palette to take their music seriously.

The second set opened with nine songs from their latest album, Clockwork Angels. Released this past June, the band has released their best and most complete record in more than two decades. It captures their musical virtuosity and takes the listener on a voyage of adversity and discovery. In a day and age where ticket prices often keep new songs on the sidelines, Rush takes an opposite direction of their contemporaries performing nine of them in a row. Musicians complain about fans showing a lack of curiosity in new material, but I personally feel it is their own fault for not finding a way to hold the audience's attention. Despite performing songs less than three months old for over an hour, the audience at the United Center did not just stand in rapt attention but sung along to every word. There are bands who sell more concert tickets, have had bigger radio hits and who may be know the casual observers, but Rush has a devoted fan base who is not just willing to listen conscientiously, but interact with them as well. You have the audience's interest and you should make good use of it. Besides performing the songs with eagerness, Rush paired these new songs with fascinating theatrics including pyrotechnics, divergent lights and top tier animation on the huge screen at the back of the stage.

A constant in Rush's music since their rebirth a decade back is the passage of time. From songs like "One Little Victory" to "Far Cry", they are delivering a rousing vision of survival. Clockwork Angels is one of the band's most accomplished long form recordings over the last three decades. There is a well drawn out journey executed from the album's opener "Caravan" to its transcendent closer, "The Garden". For the first time in their forty year history, there were additional musicians onstage with Rush an eight piece string section utilized beautifully helping flesh out the solemn and subtle nuances of the new songs. The expressive heaviness of "Carnies" carried forward with the strings while "The Wreckers" bloomed amongst fifteen thousand fans. It did not feel like a new song but a performance straight from their DNA. It is about finding a reason to strive forward in the force of unforeseen brutality. "The Wreckers" takes its name from looters who by lighting bonfires across shorelines would lead unassuming ships into a trap where their ships crashed. If the melodic charm of the song does not win you over then the searing lyrics will. The lighting emulated the rain on the screens while the storm of the song captures Rush at their preeminent. Peart's lyrics tell tales that question the very fortitude of existence. The travelers we cross paths with are not always of a good heart and as complicated as this is to grasp, the band harnessed this anguish into a song with not just teeth but also a chorus ready-made for FM dials. "Headlong Fight" was unremitting in their molten metal delivery of the song where Lee harmonized and screamed, "I have stoked the fire on the big steel wheels" in a structure that found the band carving a valiant new path. We are told if we follow the rules and treat people with love and respect rewards are infinite. Clockwork Angels throws this theory on its head. It challenges the listener much the same way each one of us is presented with unforeseen. It is impossible to not imagine the calamities Peart experienced when listening to these new songs. The performance by the three core members takes on an out-of-body experience as Rush excels in delivering each song with a thwacking and courageous blow sixty piece orchestras could not match. You look onstage and feel that three musicians should not be enough to put forth music of this magnitude, but anyone who believes that does not know Rush. It is not about how many musicians you have onstage but the gusto with which the songs are delivered and no one can tap into the heart of darkness like Rush.

After an hour of hopeful life lessons and reinforcement from the band, the eight-piece string section stayed on the stage to compliment some classics including a bracing "YYZ" which found the strings prominent and providing shades to the song not imagined previously. After the eight additional musicians left the stage, Rush went back to doing what they do best, performing complex and uplifting anthems for the sold-out crowd. The end of the show featured the crowd favorites "The Spirit of Radio" which took a frenzied crowd and put them into the stratosphere while the encore of "Tom Sawyer" and "2112 I-II & VII" to close out the evening. The band took a seventeen-minute break between the first and second sets and aside from that, the show consisted of more than 160-minutes of music and twenty-seven songs plus a few Neil Peart drum solos.

Most fans attend concert to hear the classic songs to remind them of who they once were. Few ever go to see who they are and more significantly, who they are capable of being. What differentiates Rush from other acts is an inexorable yearning to still create, still be heard and still make a difference. The philosophical tales that embody Clockwork Angels are enough to pull us from a tragic ending. Rush's utmost power is their knack to make their audience sense as if they are not alone in their passage. Rush fans who entered the United Center this past weekend in Chicago had more than reminders of the past but a clear visualization of their futures in the form of progressive hymns that have the capacity to steer you through to toxic dusk into the dew filled sunrise.

Anthony Kuzminski is a Chicago based writer and Special Features Editor for the antiMusic Network. His daily writings can be read at The Screen Door. He can be contacted at tonyk AT antiMUSIC DOT com and can be followed on Twitter

Rush Live in Chicago 9/15/12


Share this article


More articles for this artist .



advertisement

advertisement



News Reports



Latest Rock News Stories



Original Guns N' Roses Reunion Rumored For Music Festival (Week In Review)

Black Sabbath Making Final Album Plans Says Gus G (Week In Review)

Paul McCartney Announces North American Tour Dates (Week In Review)

Queen's Freddie Mercury Featured In Brand-New Charity Single (Week In Review)

Iron Maiden Reveal New Jumbo Jet Ed Force One For World Tour (Week In Review)

Ozzy Osbourne Guests On Billy Morrison's New Album (Week In Review)

Glenn Danzig To Guest Star On Portlandia (Week In Review)

Ritchie Blackmore Should Focus On Deep Purple Reunion Says Bonnet (Week In Review)

Asia Frontman John Wetton Issues Cancer Warning (Week In Review)

Soundgarden Working On Material For Next Album (Week In Review)

The Faces Celebrated In The Studio (Week In Review)

Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi Taking Part In Home Town Cancer Event (Week In Review)

Suicide Silence Says Music Business Is Failing Due To Greed (Week In Review)

Parkway Drive Release 'Crushed' Video (Week In Review)

Deafheaven Streaming New Song 'Brought To The Water' (Week In Review)

In This Moment Songs Get Lullaby Makeover (Week In Review)

Def Leppard Finish New Album, New Song Coming Next Month (Week In Review)

Motorhead Forced To Stop Concert After Only Four Songs (Week In Review)

Disturbed Ad Pulled Following Virginia Journalists Murder (Week In Review)

Former Neck Deep Star Taking Legal Steps Over Online Allegations (Week In Review)

Blues Star Larry Miller Suffers A Stroke (Week In Review)

Iron Maiden Map Out Initial Book of Souls World Tour Plans (Week In Review)

Shinedown Streaming New Song 'State Of My Head' (Week In Review)

Trivium Release 'Until The World Goes Cold' Video (Week In Review)

Slayer Recruit Machete Star Danny Trejo For New Video (Week In Review)

Lamb Of God Billed As Christian Band For Kimmel TV Appearance (Week In Review)

Keith Richards Feels The Rolling Stones 'Have To Record' New Music (Week In Review)

All That Remains And We Came As Romans Announce Fall Tour (Week In Review)

Jimi Hendrix Live 'Voodoo Child' Atlanta Pop Festival Video Goes Online (Week In Review)

Anathema Announce 4-Disc Live Set 'A Sort Of Homecoming' (Week In Review)

Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi Feared The Worst From Cancer (Week In Review)

Modern Baseball Cancel Festival Appearance Due To Mental Health Issues (Week In Review)

Leaves' Eyes Release 'The Waking Eye' Video (Week In Review)

Abbath Releasing First Post-Immortal Album (Week In Review)

Anvil Reveal New Crowdfunded Album Title (Week In Review)

Skyharbor Streaming First Song With New Singer 'Out Of Time' (Week In Review)

Godsticks Release 'Emergence' Album Documentary Online (Week In Review)

Tedeschi Trucks Band Release Live Video Of 'The Letter' (Week In Review)

Joe Louis Walker Giving Away Song From Forthcoming Album (Week In Review)

Robert Cray Releases 'Right Next Door' Video From New Live Set (Week In Review)

Dave Grohl Slams New Bands For Short-Changing Fans (Week In Review)

Metallica and Avenge Sevenfold Singers Do Zombie Auditions (Week In Review)

Motorhead Frontman Fears The Death Of Rock 'N' Roll (Week In Review)

The Who's Hyde Park Concert Film Coming To Theaters (Week In Review)

The Scorpions To Live Stream Concert Next Month (Week In Review)

Pearl Jam's Jeff Ament Helps Poor Kids By Building Skate Parks (Week In Review)

Lenny Kravitz Releasing Concert Film 'Just Let Go' This Fall (Week In Review)

Toadies Announce North American Tour Dates (Week In Review)

Abigail Williams Announce New Album 'The Accuser' (Week In Review)

Velvet Underground's Loaded Getting Re-Loaded For Deluxe Reissue (Week In Review)

Clapton, Joe Bonamassa Tribute Stevie Ray Vaughan In The Studio (Week In Review)

Pink Floyd's Inflatable Pig Going Up For Auction (Week In Review)

Defeater's New Album 'Abandoned' Streaming In Full Online (Week In Review)

Rammstein Release Live 'Ich Tu Dir Weh' Video From In Amerika (Week In Review)

The Devil Wears Prada Frontman Explains Space EP Songs (Week In Review)

Volbeat Members Added To Silent Rock Movie Cast (Week In Review)

Fear Factory Streaming New Song 'Regenerate' (Week In Review)

Whitesnake's Joel Hoekstra Streams Preview Of New Solo Album (Week In Review)

Joe Bonamassa Announces 'Live At Radio City Music Hall' Releases (Week In Review)

Glenn Hughes, Vinnie Moore Guest On The Lizards' New Album (Week In Review)

Swallow The Sun Releasing Triple Album This Fall (Week In Review)

Subscribe to Day in Rock Report by Email




Latest B-Sides News Stories


Surprise 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Teaser Goes Online (Week In Review)

Miley Cyrus Talks MTV VMAs, Criticizes Nicki Minaj (Week In Review)

Clint Black Announces 'On Purpose,' His First New Album In Ten Years (Week In Review)

Nashville TV Series Release Preview Of Steven Tyler Guest Appearance (Week In Review)

U2 Release Alternate 'Song For Someone' Video (Week In Review)

Video Of Motorhead Being Honored By Los Angeles Goes Online (Week In Review)

5 Seconds of Summer Share New Song 'Jet Black Heart' (Week In Review)

Fifth Harmony Release 'I'm in Love with a Monster' Video (Week In Review)

Macklemore Talks New Single 'Downtown' (Week In Review)

Nicki Minaj To Give MTV VMAs Opening Performance (Week In Review)

Fetty Wap Apologizes to Fans And Receives Hometown Honor (Week In Review)

More Lady Gaga American Horror Story Photos Go Online (Week In Review)

Antimatter Stream New Song 'Black Eyed Man' (Week In Review)

Mantric Streaming New Song 'FaithFaker' (Week In Review)

This Oceanic Feeling Premiere 'Put Down The Gun' Lyric Video (Week In Review)

Taylor Swift Joined On Stage By Beck, St. Vincent and John Legend (Week In Review)

Imagine Dragons Premiere New Song 'Roots' (Week In Review)

Hollywood Vampires Supergroup Stream Cover Of Classic Who Song (Week In Review)

Metallica Going All Out For Festival Performances (Week In Review)

Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard Launching US Tour This Fall (Week In Review)

Bruce Springsteen, Bill Murray Among Stars In Darlene Love's New Video (Week In Review)

Justin Bieber To Perform New Song At The MTV VMAs (Week In Review)

Demi Lovato Recruits Celebrities To Reveal New Album's Tracklist (Week In Review)

Hurtsmile Release 'Hello I Must Be Going' Video (Week In Review)

5 Seconds Of Summer Reveal Advice From Good Charlotte Brothers (Week In Review)

Public Service Broadcasting Release 'The Other Side' Live Video (Week In Review)

Lil B Invited To Try Out For The 76ers D-League Team (Week In Review)

Tyler, the Creator Banned From The UK (Week In Review)

Mark Ronson, Miguel and Rod Stewart In ASAP Rocky's Everyday Video (Week In Review)

Calvin Harris Leads Forbes' Highest Paid DJs List (Week In Review)

Selena Gomez Not Ashamed Of Her Purity Ring Past (Week In Review)


More News


Contact Us - Privacy - antiMusic Email - Why we are antiMusic

Copyright© 1998 - 2015 Iconoclast Entertainment Group All rights reserved.

Please click here for legal restrictions and terms of use applicable to this site. Use of this site signifies your agreement to the terms of use.