Rush, Tweeter Center, June 27, 2007
One quick glance at the intense concentration reflected in Neil Peart’s face as he plays the stupid drum fill in “Summertime Blues” is all it takes to understand the essence of Rush. This trio take nothing lightly, not even a cover tune they could play in their sleep — attention to every detail and fiendish complexity are what make Rush so very Rush. Last Wednesday’s two-set show at the Tweeter Center was poised halfway between stadium-rock kicks and arty experiments. In other words, it was a typical Rush show, though one with surprising song choices like 1980’s “Entre Nous.”
EXPERIMENTAL ARENA ROCK? Fiendish complexity is what makes Rush so very Rush.
As a power trio, Rush are the missing link between Blue Cheer and Mission of Burma. The material from their current Atlantic album, Snakes & Arrows, which hides layers of melody behind walls of noise (and throws in a healthy distrust of Bush-era politics), bears that out. Rush’s fans are also like no others on the arena circuit: instead of jumping or waving lighters when a familiar song strikes up, they’re intent on hearing whether Geddy Lee can still hit the high notes or Peart is throwing in any new paradiddles. There were few signs of rust except perhaps in Peart’s tempo, which dragged a bit early in the show. But he did play for three hours in 90-degree heat. And they navigated the rock-to-reggae shifts on “Digital Man” and the prog epic “Natural Science” well enough, guitarist Alex Lifeson beginning acoustically before building to a big arena-rock riff.
Even with a pair of shaken-up sets that didn’t include “2112” or “La Villa Strangiato,” there were plenty of heady mid-tempo numbers clustered early in both, prog epics at midpoint, and fist wavers toward the end. And there were still moments that made you marvel at the virtuosity. Like the one an hour into the second set when Peart played an impeccable drum solo, got a rest for one minute while Lifeson played some acoustic, and then came back to thunder his way through “Summertime Blues.” As Frank Zappa once said, you can’t do that on stage anymore.
: Live Reviews
, Mission of Burma, Frank Zappa, Geddy Lee, More