Rush R40 Tour
If R40 is truly the last Rush tour as stated by all members, then at least they went out as the Rush Canadians know and love and have air drummed to for 40 years, and not as tired old men trying to relive a past that doesn’t live up to date. The entire show was a trip back in time from the stage designs to the band’s 40 year catalogue of hit songs and a few rarities for the die-hard fans. There was a main large screen and two vertical side screens showing cartoon versions of Rush walking through their history from 1974 to R40. It concluded with a message : Bring the Expos back. The show opened with a one-two-three punch (literally) of three songs from their last studio album, Clockwork Angels with The Anarchist, Clockwork Angels and the excellent Headlong Flight.
Behind the band was a steampunk stage theme. As they went a bit further back with Far Cry and the instrumental The Main Monkey Business road crew dressed in red overalls changed the stage designs to a row of washing machines. One Little Victory ended with real flames shooting up from behind. The Roll The Bones rap was done on the big screen by guest stars Jason Seigel, Paul Rudd, Tom Morello, The Trailer Park Boys and from Game of Thrones, Peter Dinklage.
The first set ended with early 80’s hits Distant Early Warning and Subdivisions.
During the intermission I took a moment to reflect on the complex brilliant musicianship only
three Canadian hosers can play and still be having fun at it. Geddy Lee was hopping around the stage and sometimes either leaning on guitarist extraordinaire, Alex Lifeson, or standing side by side like gunmen firing off notes in rapid fire syncopation. The greatest drummer in rock history, Neil Peart delighted the crowd with two mini drum solos (one in each set) as opposed to the one long one he did one previous tours. A video montage and count off from South Park’s Lil Rush lead into Tom Sawyer. After a rarely played Jacob’s Ladder came the 70’s material with the even rarer Cygnus X-1 Book II and Cygnus X-1 completed by Neil’s second and longer hard hitting solo. This time the set design had been changed to a very basic stack of amplifiers behind the band.
No Rush show would be complete without a myriad laser light show which we got plenty of. The real treat of the night was the majority of the 2112 rock opera. The Bell Centre’s mostly male crowd were throwing hands in the air shouting “Hey!” By his time Rush had certainly assumed control.
The encore had a video introduction from Canadian legend Eugene Levy dressed as John Travolta introducing Rush as a new band hoping they’ll get more members. A four-song encore came, ending with two songs from their debut album What You’re Doing and Working Man. The set design was now single speakers on chairs and a disco ball spinning above the band as if we were watching them at a high school auditorium.
In the R40 tour book, Neil Peart considers the statistical absurdity of still playing their songs from a time when “we were young and foolish and brave and fun.” (If we are no longer young the other qualities still apply!) Yes they do, Neil because that’s just how you three delivered your talents and performance in Montreal tonight.
Set 1: The World Is…The World Is video intro
Headlong Flight (with “Drumbastica” mini drum solo)
The Main Monkey Business
One Little Victory
Roll the Bones
Distant Early Warning
Set 2: No Country for Old Hens video montage
The Spirit of Radio
Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres
Part I: Prelude Cygnus X-1 (The Voyage Part 1 & 3 with drum solo)
Closer to the Heart
2112 Part I: Overture
2112 Part II : The Temples of Syrinx
2112 Part IV : Presentation
2112 Part IIV : Grand Finale
Encore: Mel’s Rock Pile starring Eugene Levy video intro
What You’re Doing
Working Man (with “Garden Road” outro)