rush live review

No Signs of Aging! | Rush 40th Anniversary Tour | Rush Live Review + Concert Photos | Amalie Arena Tampa | Sunday, May 24, 2015

by • June 19, 2015

It has always been a dream of mine to be able to see Rush perform up-close and personal. I saw them for the first time two years ago at Amway Center but the only seats I could afford were so far away from the stage that I was barely able to see the video screens. When I found out Rush would be coming to Tampa on their 40th Anniversary (and possibly their last) Tour, I immediately signed up to review the show. Dainon requested the show for me months out but I didn’t hear anything until the Friday before the show when I received an e-mail saying we were approved to review the show with a photo pass for, the amazingly talented, Carlo Cavaluzzi. This was the first show I have covered for Amalie Arena so I had no idea where my seats were going be, but I was thankful for the opportunity to cover such a huge show.

I anxiously awaited to find out where my seats were as I walked to the entrance of the Amalie Arena. I made it to the Will Call window with thirty minutes to spare until showtime. I had only hoped for lower bowl seats so you can imagine how excited I was when I opened the envelope containing my tickets and saw that my seats were 13th Row Center on the floor. I was escorted to my seat and as I looked around at that very moment, I knew my dream was about to come true. Just days ago I thought I would never be able to see Rush live again but there I was, just thirteen rows and fifteen minutes away from seeing three of the greatest musicians in the world play a set that would span forty years of music.

When the lights went down I could hear the roar of over 20,000 people behind me. An animated video appeared on the curtain in front of the stage that showed highlights of Rush’s career from their beginnings in Canada to their induction into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame and even their arrival at the Amalie Arena in Tampa that day. The video ended with silhouettes of all three members taking the stage while poking fun at their age by having guitarist Alex Lifeson’s silhouette wheeled on stage in a wheel chair.

The curtain dropped to reveal all three members looking better than ever, opening the set with “The Anarchist” from their newest album Clockwork Angels. It was hard for me to decide who to keep my eyes with all three members being masters of their craft. Alex Lifeson still wails on the guitar, Geddy Lee’s vocals are spot on, and Neil Peart is Neil Fucking Peart!

As the set progressed I noticed that two roadies continued to take amps off the stage and the songs they played kept getting older. It took me a while to figure out that they were slowly taking us on a trip back in time, starting with their newest material and working their way back to the beginning. The amps were a symbol of how much the band has grown from playing bars to stadiums and arenas over the years. By the time they ended their first set with one of my favorites, “Subdivisions” I was still completely in shock that I was actually there in the flesh to bear witness to such a historic show.

Over the years, Rush has made a number of short films to accompany their tours. Before the band returned to the stage we were treated to some outtakes and bloopers from some of these films. The crowd had a great laugh before the curtain dropped again and they opened with one of their biggest hits, “Tom Sawyer,” which helped usher in the keyboard era of Rush.

Over the next ninety minutes we were hit hard with some of Rush’s best material, “YYZ” from Moving Pictures, “The Spirit of Radio” and a rare performance of “Jacob’s Ladder” from Permanent Waves. They played a portion of “Cygnus X-1” from Hemispheres complete with a ten minute drum solo by the great Neil Peart. Neil Peart has the ability to take a drum solo and turn it into a song of its own with the help of one of the most intricate drum sets I have ever seen (which included wind chimes).

rush live review photo

Rush finished off their second set by playing both the beginning and the end of their 1976 concept album 2112 as one huge jam session. After playing together for forty years, these guys know how to play off each other seamlessly, leaving the crowd still begging for more after a performance that was already pushing three hours.

Before the band returned to the stage for the final encore of the night, a video of Eugene Levy introducing the “opening act” for the night who had “Opened for Kiss…..Twice” was shown. The curtain dropped for the last time and Rush appeared on stage to finish off the night with some of their earliest material. By this point the roadies had removed all but a few amps from the stage, and the songs still felt just as powerful. Never before have I seen a band that has been around as long as Rush sound so great after all these years.

They finished the night by playing the song that started it all for them, their first big hit “Working Man”. It was a perfect end to a surreal journey through forty years of music that I still cannot believe I was able to be a part of. Rush is truly one of the greatest rock bands of all time and I hope they continue playing live after this tour. If they don’t, at least I can die a happy man.

Rush Live Review by Trevor Bosmans.
Rush Live Concert Photos by Carlo Cavaluzzi.

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