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RUSH: R40 LIVE 40TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR @ Air Canada Centre (June 17+19, 2015)

Words+Images: HUMsandy

Past

     Present

           Future

Quantum experiments suggests time can run backwards … Your past influences your present which changes your future.

For the RUSH faithful the present is the only unifying quantum-string theory, the doors of perception are cleansed and everything appears to the Starman as it is — boundless and infinite.

With a cloudy future for Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart, the boys have embarked on what is considered they’re “last full-scale tour” for the 40-plus years of RUSH‘s accomplished historic-defining career.

A homecoming of sorts, RUSH played two sold out nights at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre (ACC), reminiscent of RUSH‘s past Toronto stops, whether consecutive nights at Massey Hall or Maple Leaf Gardens. The ACC shows were also filmed for future theatrical/DVD release.

Walking through the crowds before showtime, you are propelled through a time-warp of RUSH memorabilia, with attendees wearing classic vintage tour shirts (2112, Fly By Night, RUSH, Hemispheres, etc.) to the present R40 designs.

Looking at the audience you will find young and old; fathers with sons & daughters, husband & wives, weathered high school friends; visitors from other countries and even a few newly initiated to the RUSH fold.

Like the last few RUSH tours, the show was divided into two sets. Playing in reverse chronology, RUSH started with songs from their recent stellar 2012 release “Clockwork Angels”.

Among the first set, songs from albums: “Snakes & Arrows”, “Vapor Trails”, “Counterparts”, “Roll The Bones”, “Grace Under Pressure”, and “Signals” filled the arena with the standing-faithful air ‘guitaring’ and drumming along to every nuanced beat, pulse and rhythm.

The Toronto audience were also privileged to hear for the first time live from the LP “Signals” — “Losing It” accompanied by violinist Ben Mink (of FM band fame) for the second night (June 19).

When the opening synths of “Subdivision” echoing throughout the ACC, the crowd (already on planet Cygnus X-1) screamed and sang along to the lyrics, many (including the author) taken-to-heart of the lyrical content as gospel observations of mundane, suburban complacent life and using it to fuel and control their own future passions & destiny.

Sprawling on the fringes of the city
In geometric order
An insulated border
In between the bright lights
And the far unlit unknown
Growing up it all seems so one-sided
Opinions all provided
The future pre-decided
Detached and subdivided
In the mass production zone
Nowhere is the dreamer
Or the misfit so alone
Subdivisions
In the high school halls
In the shopping malls
Conform or be cast out
Subdivisions

As the opening video “No Country for Old Hens” signalled the beginning of RUSH‘s second set, the opening to RUSH‘s classic “Tom Sawyer” set the tone for a blistering acknowledgement that if this was RUSH‘s swan song — the trio would not settle for slow-dying mediocrity.

Again, through backwards chronological order, RUSH played cuts from “Moving Pictures”, “Permanent Waves”, “A Farewell To Kings”, “Hemisphere” and the band’s seminal masterpiece “2112”.

The pacing of the show was a display of olympian velocity as the Holy Triumvirate played headlong into “Cygnus X-1 Book Two: Hemispheres – Prelude”,  “Cygnus X-1 Book One – The Voyage: Prologue” and “Cygnus X-1 Book One – The Voyage: Part 3”.

Followed by a brief tempo break of the classic standard “Closer To The Heart” and into the complex-arranged (with Lee & Lifeson’s prerequisite double neck guitars) “Xanadu”RUSH dived back into the album that signalled RUSH‘s prominent emergence “2112”, playing “2112 Overture/The Temples of Syrinx/Presentation/Grand Finale”.

With the appearance of SCTV’s (Eugene Levy) Mel’s Rock Pile to signal the encore. RUSH touched upon the final (beginning) three albums of their long and illustrious career — “Caress Of Steel”, “Fly By Night” and the self-titled debut RUSH“.

Playing “Lakeside Park”, “Anthem”, “What You’re Doing” and finally the song that brought them prominence in the USA (with the aid of fabled Cleveland radio DJ Donna Halper) “Working Man”.

The pace: breathtaking, the atmosphere: magical, — like the many times RUSH have played Toronto, “Sailing into destiny, Closer to the heart…”

Closing the show was the Video Outro “Exit Stage Left”, symbolizing the humour and tribal graphic imagery that have made RUSH so dominant for four decades.

JULY 17, 2015 – Setlist Version A 

Set 1:

Video Intro (The World is … The World is)

  • The Anarchist
  • Clockwork Angels
  • Headlong Flight (with Drumbastica mini drum solo)
  • Far Cry
  • The Main Monkey Business
  • One Little Victory
  • Animate
  • Roll The Bones (with celebrity rappers video)
  • Distant Early Warning
  • Subdivisions

Intermission (R40 drum kit replaced with throwback replica kit)

Set 2:

Video Intro (No Country for Old Hens)

  • Tom Sawyer
  • Red Barchetta
  • The Spirit of Radio
  • Jacob’s Ladder
  • Cygnus X-1 Book Two: Hemispheres – Prelude
  • Cygnus X-1 Book One – The Voyage: Prologue
  • Drum Solo (The Story So Far)
  • Cygnus X-1 Book One – The Voyage: Part 3
  • Closer To The Heart
  • Xanadu (double neck guitars)
  • 2112 Overture/The Temples of Syrinx/Presentation/Grand Finale

Encore:

Video Intro (Mel’s Rockpile starring Eugene Levy)

  • Lakeside Park
  • Anthem
  • What You’re Doing
  • Working Man (Garden Road riff at the end)
  • Video Outro (Exit Stage Left)

 

JULY 19, 2015 – Setlist Version D

Set 1:

Video Intro (The World is … The World is)

  • The Anarchist
  • Headlong Flight (with Drumbastica mini drum solo)
  • Far Cry
  • The Main Monkey Business
  • How It Is
  • Animate
  • Roll The Bones (with celebrity rappers video)
  • Between the Wheels
  • Losing It (with Ben Mink)
  • Subdivisions

Intermission (R40 drum kit replaced with throwback replica kit)

Set 2:

Video Intro (No Country for Old Hens)

  • Tom Sawyer
  • YYZ
  • The Spirit of Radio
  • Natural Science
  • Jacob’s Ladder
  • Cygnus X-1 Book Two: Hemispheres – Prelude
  • Cygnus X-1 Book One – The Voyage: Prologue
  • Drum Solo (The Story So Far)
  • Cygnus X-1 Book One – The Voyage: Part 3
  • Closer To The Heart
  • Xanadu (double neck guitars)
  • 2112 Overture/The Temples of Syrinx/Presentation/Grand Finale

Encore:

Video Intro (Mel’s Rockpile starring Eugene Levy)

  • Lakeside Park
  • Anthem
  • What You’re Doing
  • Working Man (Garden Road riff at the end)
  • Video Outro (Exit Stage Left)

Images courtesy of bkonthescene

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