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Progressive Rock Concert Reviews


Live In Chicago, IL, July 2010

Review by Greg Olma

Let me start off by saying that I am a Rush fan from the old days.  I first got into them back in 1975 (or was it 1976) and I have been an uber-fan since.  Even in the mid to late 80s when many of their older fans “jumped ship,” I stayed on and always found something to like about all of their releases.  That being said, I am also critical when I don’t like something about Rush.  Most super fans are more critical than the casual listener.  When Geddy Lee and company decided to go on tour this summer on the back of a couple of new tunes and Moving Pictures in it’s entirety, I was hopeful that they would be able to pull it off in grand style like Judas Priest did with British Steel the year before.  I should not have doubted my favorite Canadian band because they delivered on all levels.

As of late, Rush have been starting their shows with a video intro that really shows off their comical side. They definitely have a good sense of humor and they don’t take themselves as seriously as the fans do.  I won’t spoil the intro video by describing it, you’ll just have to go to a show and see it for yourself.  The guys hit the stage with fan favorite “The Spirit Of Radio.”  Of course they were welcomed like conquering heroes but being the true professionals, they didn’t spend their time basking in the glory.  I don’t think these guys are capable of giving their fans a lackluster performance.  Next up was “Time Stands Still” off of Hold Your Fire.  Although it is not a favorite of mine, they played it perfectly with Alex Lifeson augmenting on keyboards to fill in for Aimee Mann’s vocals.  The big surprise for me at the concert was the performance of “Presto” and “Stick It Out.” Both tracks come from often overlooked albums in the Rush discography and I for one was happy to see they brought back some of the deep cuts.  Before launching into the Counterparts classic instrumental “Leave That Thing Alone.” they played “Workin’ Them Angels” off of the excellent Snakes & Arrows disc.  Another surprise was the performance of “Faithless” off of the same album.  That was a track they did not perform on tour in support of that CD.  One of the main reasons for the tour was to showcase a couple of new songs so “BU2B” was next.  Lee introduced the song as “Brought Up To Believe” but the text-inspired title showed us yet again, their humor may not be “in your face” but it is definitely there.  If you liked the Snakes & Arrows album, then you will like “BU2B”.  It has the same feel as the other material on that CD.  They finished off the first set with “Freewill,” “Marathon”, and “Subdivisions” with “Marathon” being another surprise addition to the set.

Greg Olma
Greg Olma

After a short break and another video intro, Rush played the entire Moving Pictures record in song order.  I remember seeing that tour back in 1981 and even then they did not play the whole album.  The guys did a spot-on performance of all the tracks including my favorite “The Camera Eye.” I don’t believe that song has made it into the set list since 1981.  Hearing the whole record was a real treat for the older fans in the crowd.  After the last notes of “Vital Signs” were played, Lee joked by complaining that “that felt like a whole album” (I’m pretty sure that was the exact quote but I could be wrong).  New song “Caravan” was next and just like “BU2B,” it was very much in keeping with the Snakes & Arrows material.  Neil Peart’s drum solo followed and I have to say, it is one of the very few drum solos that I actually look forward to.  He is still incorporating a big band section at the end but the rest of it is new and it really showed that he is a master of his craft.  Making its way back into the set for this tour was “Closer To The Heart,” but to keep things fresh, the band changed the arrangement a little bit. I like the fact that they change things up on some of their more popular cuts because it keeps it exciting for the older fans also.  “Overture” and “The Temples Of Syrinx” from 2112 were followed by set closer “Far Cry.”

Greg Olma
Greg Olma

At this point in the show, Rush have delivered much more than most bands but they still had a couple in them to finish off the night.  They started off the encore by playing “La Villa Strangiato” like a German beer band but then they quickly went into the “straight” version we know and love.  Last up was a reggae version of “Working Man” that reminded me of the version they played on the 1981 tour.

Greg Olma
Greg Olma
I find it very hard to pick out a low point to the show.  I might have chosen a few more deep cuts but they really did deliver on that aspect during the first set.  I have been attending Rush shows since 1981 and even though that first show will always be at the top of my list, this last concert is a very close second.  Don’t miss out on one of the best Rush tours or you’ll be sorry.

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Greg Olma
This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 4 at
You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
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