The Rush concert friday night was excellent beyond expectations. After trudging through the heavy rains, the rush-hour traffic, and the hour and a half drive to San Antonio, my friend Nolan and I made it to the amphitheater an hour and a half before the show, just long enough to grab some food, do some requisite merchandising, and find our seat to watch the crowds accumulate as we dried off.
The lights went out and Rush came on at 7:40. Their show started out with a video on the jumbotron featuring Jerry Stiller in a Rush concert shirt. The video starts with Mr. Stiller asleep and snoring on his easy chair. He stirs awake, scratches his head, and says, “Oh, man, what’d they put in my tea? Ugh. Is the show over?” He looks around and notices the audience outside of the screen, and he exclaims, “Hey! What’re you guys still doing here? Wait, it hasn’t started yet? Huh. Where are those guys? Hold on, let me get them out here.” He looks to the left, off the side of the backstage and yells, “Hey guys! Get out here! You have a show to do! C’mon!” The band comes out, the crowd roars, and they tear into a 5-minute instrumental medley of songs from their 30-year history as the jumbotron shows vignettes of Mr. Stiller “rocking out” to the camera and a video montage of photos of Rush throughout the years. Yep, the show has started.
- instrumental medley, featuring photos of the band from over their 30 year history
- “Spirit of Radio”
- “Force Ten”
- “Red Barchetta”
- “Roll the Bones”
- “The Trees” (with “Day Tripper” interlude)
- “The Seeker” (cover)
- “One Little Victory”
- “Tom Sawyer”
- “Secret Touch”
- “Between the Wheels”
- “Mystic Rhythms”
- “Red Sector A”
- “Rhythm Method” (drum solo)
- “Resist” (acoustic)
- “Heart Full of Soul” (acoustic cover)
- The Temples of Syrinx
- Grand Finale
- “La Villa Strangiato” (with strange diversion: Alex cuts loose on the mic)
- “By-Tor and the Snow Dog”
- “Working Man”
- “Summertime Blues” (cover)
- “Crossroads” (cover)
Yes, that’s “Xanadu”, “By-Tor and the Snow Dog”, and “Between the Wheels” you see there. Been ages since they’ve played those on tour; a real treat. And Alex, on the song “La Villa Strangiato”, was given center stage, to which he stood at his mic, played some odd songs as the other two tried to follow along, and sang, in a most lunatic falsetto, things like some kind of military song and stream of consciousness stuff like, “Oooh, I like to siiiinng, like to siiiing a looottt.” We were rolling in the aisles.
After the final encore song, Rush thanked us and left the stage, the stage lights stayed on, and the house lights came up. After a few seconds, the jumbotron roars back on to show Jerry Stiller again. He looks at the audience, many of them yelling for more, and he exclaims, “Hey, what are you still doing here?! The show’s over! Go home! Go away!” He looks at the bed behind him, walks over, takes off his shoes, and lays down, “Ah, bedtime. Good night, everyone.” He falls asleep as the video fades to black and the stage lights spell out, “Bye Bye”.
The stage setup was fairly impressive. Saw some new things I’ve not seen before on stage. Above the band were two semicircular rows of multicolor light bars which faced the audience; interlaced between those bars were strobe lights. It appeared to me that those light bars were made with high-output LEDs. Truly innovative. Small packages, surprisingly bright, instant color change. Behind the band was a jumbotron the size of the back wall, built with blocks of LED displays. In the center was a full size 16:9 screen, and to either side was a row of vertical screen bars each about three-feet in width and tapering in length from taller than the screen to about 10-foot tall at the outer edges. These strips had three-foot gaps between them, and they were configured to make the image evenly spread across the elements, really stretching the image out to a unique effect. And, of course, there was the usual over-the-top collection of varilights, lasers, smoke machines, and flame bars to go with all this high technology. It was a stage lighting candyland. Impressive. See-Factor, the stage lighting company that has toured with Rush for years, has done it again.
The show was over around 11. Just over 3 hours in a show. Not bad at all. We managed to eek out of the parking lot around 11:45 or so. Decided to just chill out at the car until the traffic jam eased off. Happily, this time around, I was able to leave the parking lot and head straight for the interstate, unlike last time where I was sent around the county on a farm to market road before I could even reach the interstate. Much happiness there. We reached Austin around 1:30, just in time to greet our friends at our usual friday-night gathering.
Overall, it was a good night.