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Witnessed

Rush: 2011-04-22

03/06/11  ||  InquisitorGeneralis

Tour poster
Who: Rush, Time Machine World Tour
Where: 1st Mariner Arena; Baltimore, Maryland
When: April 22nd, 2011

Don’t fuck with Rush buster, they can legitimately lay claim to the best rock band in the world right now. And, based on their performance in front of the rarely sold out, and painfully decrepit 1st Mariner Arena I can say, without a doubt, that Rush is still 100% on top of their progressively hard rock game. I had missed several opportunities to Rush before, so there was no way in hell I was going to miss a Friday night show right in my backyard. Plus, my friend was sick and had no problem designated driving, which allowed me and two others to get blackout wasted and enjoy the show in style.

IG’s Note: The pictures are borrowed from a friend who had much better seats and a pimp’d out camera. Thanks Chris, you rule. The ones I took were distant and grainy. As always, I strive to provide the best for you people out there on teh interwebs.

Rush has been touring on the back of their 1981 masterpiece “Moving Pictures” for over a year, so a big part of the set list for this show was no surprise. The fact that I knew I was going hear “Tom sawyer”, “Red barchetta”, “Limelight”, and “The camera eye” live was comforting…as comforting as the smooth touch of Geddy lee’s nose on a warm summer’s eve. Anywho, since this was Friday night, my friends and we prepared for hours upon hours of progressive rock awesomeness by consuming dozens of pairs of beers at one of the Baltimore’s finest publick houses, the Pub Dog.

We arrived at the aged, but still resolute First Mariner Arena right as Rush was going on. The doors opened at 7:30 and the three amigos promptly went on at 7:45. With almost three hours of material to burn though, Rush going on early (to me) was understandable. Rush came out swinging with the big-time hit “Spirit of the Radio”. We all know that a sure-fire way to get your audience instantly hooked is to start with a song everyone knows and loves. Besides being popular, “Spirit of the radio” is a damn fine tune and I always find myself enjoying the reggae-sounding parts right before Geddy lights things up with the classic phrase CONCERT HALLS!!!! I was a happy boy right from the get-go.

“Time stand still” came next and even though it is from the height of the band’s mid-80’s synthesizer party it still is a great song. “Presto” was up next and was a real surprise. I like that album quite a bit. I would rather have heard “Show, don’t tell” or “The pass” but I’ll take the title track and be happy. After that we got a trio of new, but still enjoyable material. “BU2B” has a seriously gay name but continues Rush’s current trend towards heavier material. All signs point to good for the upcoming “Clockwork Angels”. I took a piss during “Faithless” though, I was over ten beers deep at this point and the snake needed to be drained. Anywho, I was hoping for something from 2002’s “Vapor Trails” like “Earthshine” or “One little victory”. Still, eight songs into the show and I was not disappointed in the least. Rush was kicking ass…although very politely. It is pretty impressive to see Geddy Lee sing (which he still does pretty fucken well, but not perfectly), dominate the bass, and rock the keyboards. Dude has ze talent for sure.

Neil
Neil Pert, the best drummer in the world. Seriously.

The first set was closed out with the heavy-hitting trio of “Freewill”, “Marathon”, and “Subdivisions”. “Freewill” is simply a gem of a song and translates perfectly in the live setting. The super-duper time change that bridges the solo back into the final chorus lit the whole arena up and it was clear the three Canadians were enjoying themselves on stage. “Subdivisions” also had the fans behind it and ended the first set on a strong note. Still, you could tell people where anxious for the second half and the nuggets of awesomeness that were sure to be in it. Set break, piss break, beer break. Engage.

After a short, entertaining video of the band making fun of themselves the lights went down and we got….another video, this time with a bunch of chimps playing “Tom Sawyer”! Well, thankfully that didn’t last long because soon after the arena sound kicked in, the real Rush was on stage, and the place exploded like a virgin’s cock on his first night with a prostitute. I am sure there were a few people in the crowd whose sole purpose in life was to see Rush play their most famous, well-known song live. Well, good for them. And good for me too because I had a raging boner when Neal Pert nailed the greatest drum fill ever. Needless to say, the “Moving Pictures” portion of the show was off and running.

“Red Barchetta” was the song I was most excited for, and Rush did not let me down; even adding a little extra jam during the song’s soft ending. I think “ Red Barchetta” is the perfect Rush song for 1,000 reasons; multiple tempo changes, interesting guitar riffs, cool lyrics and futuristic sports cars, and exceptional drumming. “YYZ” was cool and was played with considerable intensity. Between Pert’s drum work and Geddy Lee’s poignant vocals and stage presence, it is easy to lose the more laid back Alex Lifeson. Seeing him live really has made me realize that Lifeson is one of the best guitarists around, period. No one can match his sound. Anyway, let me take A-Lex’s dick out of my mouth so we can move on…

Lute
The lute, the lute, the lute is on fire!

“Limelight” was another crowd pleaser and was played perfectly. The final part of “Moving Pictures” is where the real deep cuts were made. “The camera eye” was a bit long but still very cool to hear live. “Witch hunt” is definitely one of the band’s more interesting, darker songs. I greatly enjoyed hearing that entire record all the way through, but by the end of “Vital signs” I was ready for Rush to mix it back up again. “Caravan” brought things back to newer material. It also brought me back to the urinal. Still, I liked what I heart overtop the sounds of farting and burping, toilet’s flushing, and dude’s yelling RRRRRUUUUSSSSSHHHHH!!!!! at the top of their lungs. Thanks guys, like I didn’t know I was at a Rush concert. I just wanted into to this bathroom on the top floor of a 25,000 seat arena for the fuck of it! When I returned to my lofty perch, Pert was in the middle of his obligatory drum solo, which was (as expected) mind-blowing. “Closer to the heart” is a great song, even if it reduces your penis size a little bit. I was singing along with the G-Man the entire time, much to the chagrin of those around me. Both sections of “2112” were good. Rush played them significantly heavier then the studio versions. They said goodbye and exited after “The Temple of Syrinx”, but everyone knew things weren’t quite finished.

“La villa strangiato” opened up the encores. I would have rather gotten something like “Fly by night” or “Distant early warning”, but one less-than-optimal encore is not going to bring down three hours of awesomeness. We all know “Working man” was going to finish things up, so it was nice that Rush mixed things up a bit a starting the song off with a reggae redux of the first verse before kicking into the regular version. I like working men (bromance anyone?), but there are two or three songs from “Rush” that I would have rather heard “Finding my way” or “What you’re doing”. Still, even though the encores did not totally melt my banana, I enjoyed them quite a bit. This show was worth every penny.

Adios
See you later Geddy, thanks for a seriously awesome concert.

See Rush live if you can, this was definitely one of the best concerts I have witnessed. Rush is every bit as good as they were thirty years ago and they clearly love playing and performing. Check another one off of my must see band list, and definitely sign me up the next time Rush comes to town. Thanks Canada, now take back Justin Bieber and send me a case of Labatt Dry.

I give this concert 9.5 virgin nerds who blew 10 loads in their pants during the show.

  • Setlist
  • Set 1
  • 01. Spirit of the Radio
  • 02. Time Stand Still
  • 03. Presto
  • 04. Stick it Out
  • 05. Working Them Angels
  • 06. Leave that Thing Alone
  • 07. Fathless
  • 08. BU2B
  • 09. Freewill
  • 10. Marathon
  • 11. Subdivisions
  • Set 2
  • 01. Tom Sawyer
  • 02. Red Barchetta
  • 03. YYZ
  • 04. Limelight
  • 05. Camera Eye
  • 06. Witchhunt
  • 07. Vital Signs
  • 08. Caravan
  • 09. Drum Solo (sorry, I don’t know its name for this tour)
  • 10. Closer to the Heart
  • 11. 2112 (Parts I and II)
  • 12. Far Cry
  • 13. La Villa Strangiato
  • 14. Working Man