As Rush have now departed these hallowed shores and have almost completed the European leg of the Clockwork Angels Tour I thought it was time to look over their brief stay in the UK.
While the setlist was for some too heavily biased in favour of the new album and not enough older songs from the band’s heyday that don’t often see the light of day e.g. Afterimage, Kid Gloves, I Think I’m Going Bald (can’t see Alex Lifeson ever playing this one!) there were some nice touches in bringing back Manhattan Project and The Big Money along with alternating the setlists which is something they should have done ages ago in my opinion. Now if they’d only play Hemipheres in its entirety that would be something to behold!
Reading some of the other gig reviews there appears to be some common complaints about poor sound quality in the larger arena’s like the O2. In this day and age it is surprising to still hear how much of a problem this can be. I can recall being at Wembley Arena back in 2007 and being sat near the PA stack and thinking to myself “god this sounds really distorted” and yet when I heard some of the recordings that were circulating after the show they had a clarity that almost made it feel like I was at a completely different gig!
Some of my gripes were the steep ticket prices and also how the tickets were distributed. For example the pre-sale last year didn’t really offer that great a selection of seats, hardly any front row seats were available. Also the rise of overinflated VIP packages with a promise of being within the first fifteen rows as well as legalised ticket touting through “partner” agencies. David Bowie certainly got it right when he predicted that music would become cheaper at the expense of the increasing cost of live events.
My biggest gripe was the lack of audience participation at some of the shows, which I covered in my review of the Manchester Arena gig. Now I have only been to the Manchester show this time around due to being strapped for cash, but have heard similar stories from other venues about the audience being somewhat lacklustre. I mean what’s the matter with people these days are they that miserable? Have they forgotten HOW TO ROCK or are they just getting too old! At least the Glaswegians know how to give the band a warm welcome! Take hint Manchester!
Take a look at this guy… He knows HOW TO ROCK!!!
And remember people that while “air guitar” is cool “air drumming” isn’t especially if you get featured in a live concert DVD!
So what does the future hold for Rush..? Given that they are all now in their 60’s I believe their decisions will be based on continuing to build on the phenomenal success of “Beyond The Lighted Stage” which finally proved to the world what Rush fans have been trying to tell everyone for years, that Rush were one of the most under-rated Progressive Rock bands of all time! Ultimately they will be capitalising on their success to date to ensure a secure financial “last hurrah” before they call it a day.
Here are my predictions on the future course of events…
1. Rush will start playing more festivals and fewer arena shows. They’re already contemplating a festival gig this year after appearing at SARstock. I can see this happening as they can play a shorter set to a more diverse audience hopefully resulting in generating additional sales of their extensive back catalogue and creating a new generation of fans.
2. The next album will probably not happen for another 5 years, yes that’s right, I’m not sure why such a long delay given that they can knock out an album inside of six weeks and have it polished for release in a matter of months.
3. The next album may well be their penultimate as if it takes another 5 years they will eligible for a free bus pass! I wouldn’t want them to carry on like the Rolling Stones at their age!
4. I doubt there will be an R40 tour but who knows what they might do. Personally I think there may be another tour in a similar vein to the “Time Machine Tour” (which I missed!) to fill out the arena/festival circuit and generate a few more needed dollars for the pension fund lol!
5. I can’t see “A Farewell to Rush” tour taking place as I just couldn’t imagine Geddy saying “thank you for supporting us all these years and goodbye!” 200 times over and still trying to sound sincere. I think that once the last tour is over and done they will announce that Rush is no more. A sad day I know for many but we all know that it’s going to happen sometime in the next few years.
6. My wish would be that they would release material still held in the archives e.g. soundboards from early shows (Caress of Steel perhaps..?), ultra rare footage remastered etc., for diehard fans eager to own a collection for completists.
Anyway hopefully the guys will prove me wrong on some of these points for at least a little while longer.
While I’ve missed out on seeing the remaining shows YouTube has been a godsend for the rest of us. You can now experience (sometimes) excellent footage right from the front row where you would never get tickets for! It all adds a totally new perspective on the gig. Back in the 1990’s (remember them?) outside of the band’s official highly edited live videos the only other source was through trading on message boards (National Midnight Star and through the Spirit of Rush UK fanzine) for people willing to either trade shows or make you a copy if you covered the postage. I can recall waiting weeks to receive several Rush concert videos to add to my collection, excitement so thick, you can cut it with a knife!
Are You Missing You Rush Fix?
If you are and you’re in the UK or will be there on Saturday 12th October 2013 then why not head up to Sheffield for this year’s Rush EuCon. Check the flyer below and their website!
My Rush Gig Timeline
Roll The Bones Tour (The first time I saw Rush live!)
10/04/1992 Sheffield Arena
12/04/1992 Birmingham NEC
13/04/1992 Birmingham NEC
08/09/2004 Wembley Arena
09/09/2004 Wembley Arena
11/04/2004 Birmingham NEC
12/04/2004 MEN Arena
Snakes & Arrows Tour (The first time my son saw Rush live at 8 years old!)
06/10/2007 Sheffield Arena (Missed with Row 9 Tix!)
09/10/2007 Wembley Arena x 2
10/10/2007 Wembley Arena x 2
12/10/2007 Birmingham NEC
14/10/2007 MEN Arena x 2
Clockwork Angels Tour
22/05/2013 MEN Arena x 2