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My Albuequerque review

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I saw Rush for the only time on this Time Machine Tour on opening night Tuesday in Albuquerque, in the gorgeous outdoor Journal Pavilion. The weather was perfect and the shed has no cover, so every seat has an unobstructed view, including the lawn, which was where my wife and I and our group sat. The only problem was the setting sun -- why they would face an outdoor theater to the east baffles me, so we had a pretty bright light on us for the first few songs.


I had a wonderful time as I always do, and I can't really speak to any mistakes, thanks to said wonderful time. Typically, though, they were very tight and have that kind of telepathy that only comes from playing with the same people for a long, long time.


Merch was very expensive -- as was the brew -- but the facilities weren't cramped and it was about 80 percent full.


The light show was special. Gone were the flying saucers and in their place was a static, spider-like rig that forked above the middle of the stage. The set -- which was built around the amps, giving them a cool, brassy look -- was like a Victorian version of a time machine, with dials and bubble glass. Steam vented out from behind them intermittently, creating a cool effect.


Anyway, I'll give a little comment on each song in the setlist. There will be spoilers here, so if anyone doesn't want to know, stop reading now.


Having said all that, don't think for a minute that this is a real Time Machine Tour -- Rush isn't busting out Bastille Day again, nor anything from the first three records save the one Warhorse we've all heard a billion times (see below). It featured no real big gems like Circumstances or Entre Nous, but I was pleasantly surprised by one choice.


Set 1 started with a video of Geddy, Alex and Neil playing some characters. I have to say I am not a fan of these videos they've done since R30, because they eat up about 10 minutes that could be used to play a couple of other songs. Also, they are fairly unfunny if not cringe-worthy (I'm looking at you, Jerry Stiller).


I did not look at the setlist before the show. On to the tunes.


THE SPIRIT OF RADIO -- Just an incredible opener, one they should open every show with. The crowd just goes nuts.


TIME STAND STILL -- Nice pick after the opener. Figured this would be played considering the theme, and it sounded beefier live than on the studio version. Lifeson plays keys on this song so that Geddy can do the nice bass line in the bridge.


PRESTO -- Here's the surprise. They had never played it live and it is one of my favorite Rush cuts from what I feel is an underrated album, Presto. This one brought me back to the band after I drifted during the synth period. Sounds much fatter and fuller live than on the tinny-sounding recording. A sweet Lifeson solo highlighted this one.


STICK IT OUT -- It's heavy, alright, but I couldn't believe this one was brought back -- I don't know anyone who was pining for this song to return. Geddy says "We're going back to our heavy period...This is from Counterparts" and you kind of felt elation then resignation in a split second. Still it rocked and they really ripped it up.


WORKIN' THEM ANGELS -- From Snakes and Arrows, using the same video as last tour. I'm sensing we aren't going all the way back in time tonight.


LEAVE THAT THING ALONE -- Another cut from Counterparts, using the same video from the Vapor Trails tour. At this point the crowd around me began to chat with each other. Another surprise song selection -- kind of a WTF? moment for me. It, of course, was played precisely, but it's one of Rush's least interesting instrumentals.


FAITHLESS -- Well, they said they were playing songs they never played live before, and this qualifies. Of the nine Snakes and Arrows tracks they forcefed us on the last tour, this one didn't make the cut -- so now it gets a spotlight in the first set. This one went over flat. The song has a very slow tempo, an overbearing lyric and lots of folks headed for a beer/piss break. I highly doubt it will ever be played again after this tour.


BU2B -- New cut was HEAVY DUTY. Alex's tone on this one was huge -- it sounds like a steamroller. It got a much better reception than Faithless.


FREE WILL -- What can I say? They tore me a new one on this cut. I never tire of hearing it live. On the giant video screens, it looks like Alex is fighting the solo, which is actually kind of cool to see. You guys who know can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the solo in that song is the most difficult piece of music Rush still performs. A real guitar hero moment for me.


MARATHON -- A blast from Power Windows, the only song from that record that was played. Another nice solo from Alex, with an old-school light show to go along with it. Not one of my favorites, but it got a warm reception, and I hadn't heard it live since 1990, so it was a deviation from the norm (pun intended).


SUBDIVISIONS -- This was not a deviation. I really wish they would have picked something else from Signals -- or just brought back Digital Man from the last tour. I had to make a bathroom run and this was my opportunity. I love this song, but at this point, there are no chill-inducing moments for me in this tune. End of the first set, which started off and ended hot and went into a lull between Presto and Freewill.


Set 2 started with another video, this one even longer than the first. It's actually got some funny stuff in it, and they begin to play around with the Time Machine concept in the video to the opening strains of Tom Sawyer. Moving Pictures time.


TOM SAWYER -- It's Tom Sawyer.


RED BARCHETTA -- The rowdy part in the middle after the solo was quieted down, which they've done on recent tours. I want them to rock it, but they do the little muted thing then roar back. All the background videos are cool featuring the moving guys from the album cover.


YYZ -- Killed. Monster, monster playing.


LIMELIGHT -- They've sped the tempo back up to closer to album speed, and the song is improved because of it. Alex plays the solo like these might be his last notes. He's really playing well.


CAMERA EYE -- This was never my favorite song, but boy did it kick ass live! Hearing it live gave me a deeper appreciation for it. Again, Lifeson is the highlight, and he and Geddy are clearly energized playing this one. The crowd is going ape the entire song, and it gets by far the biggest reaction of the night. I was with three people who had never seen Rush before and weren't all that familiar with them, and they were blown away. Bringing this back in the set was genius and I hope it stays for awhile.


WITCH HUNT-- Same as the last three tours. The fire is a big hit, and the crowd screams its approval at the end.


VITAL SIGNS -- Another one that gets a huge reaction. It sounded really electric, with some of Geddy's most athletic playing of the night.


CARAVAN -- The other new song. HUGE sound on this one and it's one that has grown on me. Having said that, it's a no-win for this one coming after Moving Pictures. It's vastly inferior -- as a song -- than the seven that preceded it.


DRUM SOLO -- Piss break. Sorry, but I'm not a big fan of Neil's swing stuff, and in general I think the drum solo is the most cliched of all '70s rock show trappings. I don't even know another band that does them anymore, and maybe Peart's the only guy who can get away with it.


CLOSER TO THE HEART -- A nice acoustic intro by Alex, which sounded improvised. Another trusty warhorse that hasn't been played in a while and the people around me loved that they brought it back. They may be sick of playing it, but it's a bona fide crowd pleaser and one I'd like to see be as permanent as Spirit and Tom Sawyer.


2112 OVERTURE / TEMPLES -- Another non-surprise. They only play the first two parts, as usual, but they played it pretty faithful and it rocked the house like it always does. Not a very adventurous choice, and one can feel the end coming with gems like Jacob's Ladder and Xanadu being left out.


FAR CRY -- The one keeper track from Snakes and Arrows, this one closed the show on a high note, with the whole light show experience that comes with it. A real rocker and the crowd is amped, although a lot of folks started to hit the exits.




LA VILLA STRANGIATO -- They introduced this with some polka, then launched into a ferocious version. Aside from Freewill and The Camera Eye solo, this one looked like the biggest challenege for Alex, who was really feeling it by now.


WORKING MAN -- Show closer. Meh. The only song from the first three records that was played, and they did the joke-reggae version to start the song and through the first chorus. The jam was badass, but they can play it in their sleep by now.


So, I had a fun time, but I can understand some Rush fans who are irked at the set. NO JL, no Xanadu, nothing but four songs from the first SIX records. Not really a time machine, if you ask me. And if they didn't play Anthem or Fly By Night or A Farewell to Kings on this tour, they are never playing those songs live again, which is a shame. Their best music was when they were young, hungry and ready and willing to rock out.


All in all, it was a great show, with awesome playing, a nice stage set-up and cool videos. I just wish my favorite band would surprise more than once a show, especially on a tour that implies they will be going back in time. Instead, they played it pretty safe.


And I can't wait for the next tour.

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That's a nice review. I agree about "Faithless" -- that and "Stick It Out" make no sense in this setlist, and if I had to pick the two songs that will get alternated out in the second leg (IF they do that this time), it would be those two.
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Kind of a bummer about Faithless, because this is a favorite from S&A. Nice review - thanks!
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QUOTE (Mara @ Jul 2 2010, 07:24 PM)
Kind of a bummer about Faithless, because this is a favorite from S&A. Nice review - thanks!

My pleasure.


I like the song myself, but there's no denying that it was met with noticeable apathy from my seat.

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QUOTE (1-0-0-1-0-0-1 @ Jul 2 2010, 04:04 PM)
That's a nice review. I agree about "Faithless" -- that and "Stick It Out" make no sense in this setlist, and if I had to pick the two songs that will get alternated out in the second leg (IF they do that this time), it would be those two.

I can't touch this review so I will just add my 6.66 cents.


First off I thought the boys kicked ass. It was an amazing show overall.


Personally I really liked "Presto" as a surprise. To bad it wasn't "Available Light" instead.


Remember, I purposely ignored this section since it was created so I could go into Opening Night as a clueless spectator.


"Faithless" was a strange curveball, "just a bit outside." I guess they chose that song since it could relate to the "BU2B" theme.

I would have liked "We Hold On" or "The Good News First."


I'm glad they brought back "Closer To The Heart." It's been a long time. Brazil right?


They changed it up again in the middle of the tune. Interesting take.


As I had mentioned before on here via my iPhone, the new lighting system was kick ass. It's true. Instead of the last lighting system that looked like three spaceships it was more like the Mothership Connection overhead.



I was actually waiting for the lasers to shoot out into the crowd during "La Villa" and it didn't happen.


Glad they changed it up and they are totally evolving with modern technology.


This band is going to be around for a very long time kids, so for all of you on here who love to rip this band apart or spread your negativity about them, get over it and drink the Canadian "Be Cool Or Be Cast Out" Progressive Punch!




Quit yer bitchin' before I start snitchin'!



The reggae intro on "Working Man" was strange, but "In The End" it worked out fine.




I just added the Universal Studios gig in L.A.!!!!


That means I will hit RUSH SHOW #50 THIS SUMMER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




2.gif RULES!!! HATERS DROOL! spit6ph.gif

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QUOTE (spindrifting @ Jul 3 2010, 10:08 PM)
"Rush will be around a very long time"

They're in their late 50's, enjoy while you can.

Amen! 1022.gif trink39.gif 1022.gif


I'm salivating for my August Rush Run!


Can't break this Rush Fever man.

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