Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee, Neil Peart: Rush Birmingham 2011 review

I recall first going to see Rush back in 1978 in the Bristol Colston hall. They played two nights in a row at the 2000 seater venue and we queued outside the venue to get the tickets... no online ticketing like today. I recall Rush were supported by fellow Canadians Max Webster, who also played a blinding set.

This was Rush's second tour of the UK supporting the Hemispheres album, playing the whole of the first side of the LP and the classic track TheTrees!

The concert was needless to say amazing, great light show, consummate musicianship, and that feeling of... hey these guys can play. Also belting out classics like Xanadu, By-Tor and Snow dog (anyone know how he makes those noises on guitar?) and 2112, armed only with their trusty double necks and Taurus bass pedals... with the professor on the drum kit keeping time and adding fills like an atomic clock. I'd never seen anything quite like it before. So it's no surprise to me that I'm still a big fan of the band who have been 40 years in the business.

Rush 1978

So let's hit that time machine button and discuss the latest show... I did try and look back to recall the number of shows of Rush I've seen, but I think it's been so many I've lost count. From fire breathing dragons to giant inflatable bunny rabbits... yes... their shows have it all.

As a build up the gig, I set my mp3 player to artist = Rush for the whole week, just wall to wall Rush through the ages. Really great to sing-a-long to all those tracks again... how did I remember all those lyrics with out the aid of an auto queue?

The day of the gig arrives, fill the car up with gas... cry at the cost of filling the tank... get some "road sweets". Then the back to get changed and the key thing... what t-shirt to wear? Rush or something you may know I have a few Rush T-Shirts... but may be something a little more special... dig into the t-shirt locker... uummm of course... the Jason Becker Not Dead Festival T Shirt! No one else will have one of those... Check!

Going to see Rush is a family and friend affair... I get a last minute email from my friend who can't make it to the show... "Say hello to Geddy and the boys for me, seems strange not joining you and the jolly boys on this pilgrimage up the M5." Yes it does that... but we head out anyway, a man down.

The car hums to Rush tunes as we barrel down the motorway to our final destination with Rush... This time, like last time, we had booked to see Rush at the Birmingham Arena, now sponsored by LG. The place has much improved since we were last there. Lots of seats, food stalls and bars... and the occasional new shiny loo, or was it a wash hand basin?!

The outside of the hall has had a clean up too since the last time we saw Rush... may be three years ago?

Then there was the T-shirt stall. Option anxiety ensues... so many designs to choose from... How is a man to decide? Well in my case you don't... just buy as many as you can... and hope on one notices when that are no t-shirts left!

Scan the horizon... wall to wall t-shirts of every colour and hue. Hoodies, baseball caps, bags, tour guides... list goes on... but I'm focused on t-shirts!

Then out of the corner of my eye... bingo... it's expensive... but what the hell... you never know when the wheels will fall off the Rush Time Machine!

The hall is big and full with Rush fans... and fans of all ages... and yes there were more than 7 girls in the audience too!

I sit down in my seat to enjoy the show...

Spoiler Alert!

If you're like me these won't be spoilers... they are a prerequisite for the build up to the live show! I'd been watching youtube videos all week and interviews with the guys from earlier in the tour. Plus the Alex Lifeson gear tour videos...

The show opens with a video clip.( I didn't film these) but they tell you what these guys are all about. The video starts and then they opened with the familiar The Spirit Of Radio!!

Rush Time Machine Tour - 2010-08-13 Irvine CA Intro - Tapehead2 dvd boot

The band covers an array of numbers from there huge pantheon of titles over the ages. Stick It Out from the heavier Counterparts in 1993, Time Stands Still on Hold Your Fire (1987). Faithless ( Snakes and Arrows ) and the new Caravan and BU2B. All played with Rush's immaculate stage craft, state of the art lighting rig and sound system.

The first part draws to a close all too quickly... but I plan to meet up with Matt Williams from Liquid Note Records at half time... we chat about music and Rush... Rush and guitar... guitar and music :)

I grab a quick photo as evidence... he is well... but for some reason he appears a strange greenish hue from my mobile phone camera!

RUSH "2nd Set Intro/Tom Sawyer" Albuquerque NM June 29th 2010

The second half started again with a funny movie, where the band hit the time machine button and belt out a clip from "Tom Soyeee" er... Tom Sawyer.

Rush LIVE - Time Machine Tour - The Camera Eye and Witch Hunt - Saint Louis, Missouri 2010

They cover tracks from the Moving Pictures era... I hear Witch Hunt, great track and Camera Eye... the first time for a long time! This sounds great live... re-invigorated... I begin to hope the new live DVD will have all these goodies and more too. More tracks flow from the vaults and from the recent past, Snakes and Arrows, Working Them Angels... Far Cry, La Villa Strangiato and a dynamic performance of Working Man. Plus classics like the instrumental, Leave That Thing Alone... which I did capture on my new mini video camera... not the best quality hence some video editing picture montage... but still OK.

Rush: Leave that thing alone Time Machine Tour 2011 Birmingham

The concert closes with another film, which Hollywood Actors Paul Rudd ( Dinner for Schmuks ) and Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother ) will emerge as the largest on earth Rush fans, backstage after the show.

Jason Segel & Paul Rudd Meet Rush

Here's to the next Rush tour!!