Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Salt Lake Tribune Review of Rush at Usana

Review: Rush gives fans their money's worth
By Dan Nailen
The Salt Lake Tribune

WEST VALLEY CITY - No one can ever accuse Rush of not giving fans their money's worth.

Monday at Usana, the Canadian trio delivered a monster-sized set every bit as grand in scope and musically adventurous as the band's 30-year back catalog, playing nearly 30 songs in two sets spread across three hours.

The show included everything a long-time Rush fan has come to expect. Geddy Lee provided entrancing bass lines and that love it-or-hate it howl. Neil Peart brought his propulsive rhythms, deadpan demeanor and unnecessary-but-entertaining drum solo. And guitarist Alex Lifeson spent the evening with a grin permanently attached to his face, clearly pleased to be playing for a near-full amphitheater and with one of rock's best rhythm sections.

Rush opened the show, the sun still bright enough to wash out the lights and video images on stage, with a somewhat plodding "Limelight." The trio was up to speed soon enough, though, with Lee's hyperkinetic bass and Lifeson's reggae-tinged guitar tone leading the way on "Digital Man."

A memorable "Freewill" led to the first new song of the night, "The Main Monkey Business" from Rush's latest album, "Snakes & Arrows." "The Main Monkey Business" and its follow-up, "The Larger Bowl," both met with cheers nearly as loud as the older cuts that followed like "Circumstances" and "Between the Wheels."

After a brief intermission, and the arrival of complete darkness, Rush's stage show was able to take full effect. Three video screens above the band relayed images of animated videos for nearly every song. They also projected close-ups of the musicians working their respective instruments, a much-appreciated feature for the folks high on the hill. The overhead shot looking down on Peart during his drum solo was particularly inventive.

Between the videos, smoke and lasers erupting from the stage, it would be easy for many bands to disappear into the background of their own shows. Not so Monday, thanks to a second set dominated by new music from "Snakes & Arrows." The album is a solid set of hard-rock with touches of prog-rock, blues and reggae, like most of Rush's music, and the fans were unusually receptive to their heroes' new work.

Rush opened the second set with five new songs in a row, including "Far Cry," "Workin' Them Angels" and "The Way the Wind Blows" before stepping back into the '80s for "Subdivisions." By the end of the show, nine of "Snakes & Arrow's" 13 songs had made their way into the set.

By the time Rush hit its final push at show's end, hardly anyone had left even as the show hit the three-hour mark. "Distant Early Warning," "The Spirit of Radio" and classic-rock staple "Tom Sawyer" closed the second set, and the band followed with a brief encore before sending thousands of fans on their merry, exhausted way.

Who: Rush
When: Monday
Where: Usana Amphitheatre, West Valley City
The Bottom Line: The classic-rock trio overwhelmed a near-packed Usana with its musical dexterity and more than three hours of memorable hard-rock.

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