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RUSH - LG Arena, Birmingham - 22nd May 2011 (Live Review)

Wednesday, 25 May 2011 Written by Jon Stickler
RUSH - LG Arena, Birmingham - 22nd May 2011 (Live Review)

RUSH have been filling the planet's biggest arenas and stadiums for years. What RUSH dont know about putting on an epic rock show, isnt worth knowing and things were no different on Sunday night, May 22nd, when a legion of fans decended upon Birmingham's LG Arena to see Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart live on a lighted stage!

Ahead of the three-hour set (yes, three hours!) the huge stage frames some unusual shapes that are mysteriously cloaked by black sheets. Now RUSH are a band known for their oustanding live shows, that along with the fact that this current tour is titled 'The Time Machine Tour', sets the mind racing as to what could be hidden from our view. What can be seen though is the scale of the stage. With a lighting rig that would make KISS green with envy, Im thinking that whatever is hidden from view, RUSH have a spectacular show planned.

ImageFollowing a very entertaining 'introduction' video on the giant HD screen, the shrouded Time Machine (or are they washing machines!?) is unveiled as the trio arrive on stage to a deafening roar from their loyal fans. Firing straight into 1980's favourite 'Spirit Of Radio', Geddy Lee's vocals spark a mass sing-a-long almost instantly. For the next 75 minutes RUSH and their time machine take us down memory lane delivering a set that features all of the favourites. Its difficult to spot someone not wearing a thread of clothing branded by RUSH as the audience are taken back to their younger days (for a lot of them!) for some perfectly delivered renditions of 'Time Stand Still', 'Presto', 'Stick It Out' and 'Working Them Angels'. All of which are accompanied by some truly stunning visuals and lighting displays.

Mid-way through the first half of the set RUSH announce new song, 'BU2B', from their forthcoming 19th studio album 'Clockwork Angels'. Both new songs 'BU2B' and 'Caravan' feature in the show's set which is constructed around the now 30-year-old album 'Moving Pictures' being played in its entirety for the first time live.

Following the interval and another tongue-in-cheek 'introduction' video, the scene is set and RUSH travel through time for a further 90 minutes that kick-off with the arrival of the 'Moving Pictures' album. The audience are treated to the album, played in its entirety, featuring sensational renditions of 'Tom Sawyer', 'Red Barchetta' an incredible performance of the instrumental 'XYZ', 'Limelight'.

The pace doesnt slow following the live airing of 'Moving PIctures', Neil Peart takes the limelight next with a jaw-dropping drum solo that, if I wasnt for the thundering drums, would've moved Birmingham's LG Arena into an awe-inspired, gob-smacked silence.

The classics 'Closer To The Heart', '2112 Overture', 'Temples Of Syrinx' and 'Far Cry' are performed below an incredible display of light and colour courtesy of a lighting rig that Im sure Ive seen in Steven Speilberg's 'Close Encounters' movie. The band close with an encore of 'La Villa Strangiato' before re-working the introduction to one of their earliest songs, 'Working Man', with a new raggae vibe. Needless to say, they finish the song the old fashioned way!

Throughtout the show the band remain tight-lipped with Geddy Lee occasionally stepping-in to praise the fans for their support. The music does the majority of the talking for RUSH and tonight was no different. Closing the show with a brilliant video featuring Hollywood actors Paul Rudd and Jason Segal, stars of the movie 'I Love You Man' (you'll understand if you've seen it!), the video is the perfect sign-off for an incredible live RUSH experience. It probably helped the band beat the traffic on the way out too, they play London's O2 Arena tonight!

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