The Canadian power-trio Rush has been touring and playing their brand of progressive rock-meets-heavy metal (with a splash of new wave thrown in) since 1974 in its current, and now classic, line-up.
Extraordinary vocalist-bassist Geddy Lee, keyboard and electric guitar virtuoso Alex Lifeson and monster drummer Neil Peart rolled into the Saratoga Performing Arts Center last Friday night for three terrific hours of music, the centerpiece of which was a complete, note-for-note re-creation of their magnificent 1981 album, “Moving Pictures.”
“Tom Sawyer,” the smash hit song from that album, is still a daily staple on classic-rock radio stations all across the country, but to hear it live and in context was another thing altogether.
“Time Stand Still,” “Stick It Out,” “Leave That Thing Alone,” “Limelight,” “Vital Signs,” “Faithless,” “Closer to the Heart” and many other signature tunes from their four-decade-plus career filled the amphitheater and echoed out into the park.
Rush favored the ever-cheering Saratoga Springs audience by unveiling two new power-riffing songs, “Brought Up to Believe” and “Caravan,” both slated for upcoming release.
Unlike so many veteran rock vocalists who tended to sing in the higher registers, Geddy Lee’s voice has not lost one ounce of its soaring grace and power.
Fans in the audience came in all ages and spanned the entire range from excited kids to gray-haired aficionados. Rush’s music was dynamic, flawlessly played and surprisingly fresh and vibrant – especially considering the age of some of the tunes. The stage was well designed with a nifty, neo-retro steampunk motif that provided plenty of visual stimulation.
And if the crowd’s enthusiastic applause all night long was any kind of barometer of the quality of the group’s performance, then Rush was out of this world!
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
An excerpt from David Singer’s review in The Daily Gazette: “Rush can easily fall into cliché status given their songbook and sound, as many of their peer bands have, but their superior musicianship prevents any accusations from sticking: each member is a virtuoso on his instrument. You got more song than instrumental fun Friday night, but most in the crowd are there to hear the songs of their past. This is clear by the clusters of 30-something men celebrating before, during and after every tune.”