Thursday, 26 May 2011

Gig Review - Rush The O2 25 May 2011

Flipping brilliant!!!

Ok I'm biased - I've been a Rush fan for years and they can do little wrong in my eyes. To show my hand I first heard them around 2012, All The World's A Stage time and then more when a drummer friend of my got into A Farewell To Kings. I myself went out and bought Hemispheres and was knocked out but that album and basically have bought every Rush studio album since... and a couple of live CD/DVDs etc. to boot.

I'd had the email reminding me of the gig and making it very clear Rush would be on stage at 7:30 since they were to play two sets with a 30 min intermission. Well they were about 10 mins late on based on the advertised time but then some of that was taken up with the now obligatory funny video intro. This was very good and very funny with Rush sending themselves up and displaying their character acting skills... er stick to the day job guys! :-)

Then into Spirit of the Radio as a kick off - what a kick off track. We then romped through old and new in the next hour with Geddy Lee in one of the very short intros saying - "We have 16,000 songs to play tonight" - hmm... not too far wrong there! An hour later he apologised for their old age and said they needed a break which was less than the 30 mins advertised and they were back. The whole of Moving Pictures was played at the start of that - what an album that is. That was released 30 years ago!!! Actually in the same month I started dating a 16 year old from the girls 6th form over the road from my school, the lady regularly referred to as Mrs F on here!

So some new tracks from the album that will be out once they finish it after the tour, some of Snakes and Arrows and many from the Time Machine the tour name referred to, Closer to the Heart, 2112 was a big hit with the crowd (OI!) etc. Finished on Working Man.

Sound was good - although the bass drum was a little too loud for me (I'm being picky here). Alex went through a collection of jaw dropping custom Les Pauls all bar one fitted with Floyd Roses - one being his new signature model which looked really nice and has the option of piezo output, a couple of PRS models notably a CE24, a Fender Tele and for the encore the old trusty white ES355, all through his Hughes & Kettner amps and custom cabs. His sound was impeccable throughout as was his playing.

I hope Rush continue to write, record, play and tour as frankly they don't age. They basically gave you a complete 3 hour full on set... not bad for a bunch of guys who within 3 - 4 years will all be able to get to the O2 for free on their bus passes!!! Oh and as we left enthusing about how good it had been we could still point to numerous "hits" they'd not played... Xanadu, Road to Bangkok etc.


  1. Great review - made me feel like I was almost there.
    I too am a big Rush fan, not going to see them this time but will definately make the trip the next time. :)

  2. I was there! With my 16 year old son and my brother, all dyed in the wool Rush fans, and we were not disappointed at all. I have to agree that the sub bass was a little too much, but have found that at other gigs in recent years, sound engineers please note! I have seen them twice before, Roll the Bones ('92?) and Snakes and Arrows (07), and have to say the standard just gets better and better.

    I still find it amazing that so few people i talk to have ever heard of them, the stature of this band is just so impressive, and what a back catalogue...! They are individual musical genii, and as an outfit, well, words fail me. Alexes awesome guitar work, Geddy just shredding the bass like a man at least half his age (and boy can he still WAIL), and as for Neil, (a fellow biker!) what can you say? The man is truly the Professor, his 11 minute solo took the roof off!

    It was so worth the 5 hours on a motorbike to get there and back, and i would do it again tomorrow.

    Thanks Rush, your music has been a huge influence on me since i first discovered you in the very early 80's, and i will continue to introduce you to those poor souls who are unaware of your brilliance until they carry me out in a box, probably to Tom Sawyer...

  3. Sounds like the o2 was as good as Newcastle.
    Great band sounding better than ever.
    Here's a clip of Freewill my son uploaded to youtoob...just to remind you :)

  4. Boys, were we at the same gig. The worst I have ever seen Rush (5 times. The bass was woeful and didn't help but Alex was missing notes by the dozen and the slick changes of tempo were not happening. Geddy felt need to have a bass solo in every track and I am afraid Neil's solo was far too long and egotistical - Portnoyish. Believe me I am a lifelong fan who started with the Hemispheres tour way back when. Still looking forawrd to the new album though.

  5. This was a great night and I have been to a few. Yes the bass was loud but you guys complaining about it just sound old. It's supposed to be that way so you can hear it with your rib cage as well as your ears. There were a few slips because that's what happens when you play complex stuff live. Let's be clear - it was 99% sublime. Geddy's voice was in fine fettle too. Great job - looking forward to the new album.

  6. The sound engineers at O2 did not know how to make the bass work ,it was distorted,i could not make out any bass notes at all where i was sitting,this is important as Lee is the best ever !

  7. I agree the the last comment. What should have been a great concert was destroyed by the lousy sound.From where I was sitting all I could hear was boomy sub bass.It sounded like some kind of resonance from the kick drum as when Neil stopped playing the other instruments could be heard. The only sound cutting through was the guitars and synths. I could not hear either Geddy's bass playing at all or the drums properly. The O2 is just not built for sound and they seriously need to look at this. It has put me off ever going there again which is a shame as it is a great venue. The o2 need to get a team in there to sort out the acoustics. Note: The best concert sound I ever heard was in Wembley arena for K.D.Lang many years ago. Their team came in and did a great job - they hung drapes all around to kill the echoes and the sound was fantastic - you could hear everything clearly. When you are paying high prices for concert tickets I would prefer to hear the band properly instead of pyrotechnics.

  8. Are you Doctor Who in your other life, furtheron?

  9. Although not a huge prog rock fan, Rush has a special place in my heart (Closer to the Heart? lol). I think any musician has an affinity for those who have mastered their instruments as Geddy, Alex, and Neil certainly have. Subdivisions, New World Man, and yes, Tom Sawyer (love that bass pedal/moog synth that you feel in your guts) some of my personal faves. If you like Rush, this always makes me laugh (only funny if you're familiar with American advertising for Cheetos snacks/crisps). From cartoon show The Family Guy:

  10. I'm 15. This was my 3rd time seeing Rush & the 02 disgusted me. The acoustics were non existent & it was almost vertical where I was so I couldn't rock out! Wembley is a much better venue.