Last Night: Rush at Toyota Center

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Also on display was the band's trademark sense of humor, and not just in the prepared videos. Lifeson, in particular, still manages to ham it up pretty good with fans despite, like the rest of the band, being just shy of 60. During "Tom Sawyer," he chose the "get high on you" to mock smoke a joint. When his guitar didn't come on at the beginning of the "2112 Part 1: Overture," he walked to the mike and said "You're fired!" A photographer dressed as a mad scientist prowling the stage even managed to elicit a laugh from the always-stoic Peart.

But, what most everyone was here to see was the band's musicianship, and it was on full display. Like jazz musicians, the members of Rush have improved as they have aged, yet still manage to maintain a very high energy level. Peart, in particular, is an absolute monster behind the drums and multiple camera angles from above, behind and even below to see his kick drum footwork, looked like something from an instructional clinic, which is exactly what the three put on.

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Most surprisingly for someone who has seen Rush before was the "Clockwork Angels String Ensemble," as they were described by Lee. A group of nine cellists and violinists dressed in black T-shirts and jeans, they stood behind the drum riser and performed in rather animated fashion throughout Clockwork and even remained for "Red Sector A" and the high-water mark of the night, "YYZ," the benchmark instrumental from Moving Pictures.

Hearing a string section not only back up the band during "YYZ," but perform the signature guitar-and-bass riff in unison was as jarring as it was mesmerizing.

By the time the band finally ended the night, I had completely forgotten that they didn't play "Red Barchetta" or "The Trees" or "Closer to the Heart" or even "Freewill" and "Working Man." As usual, their ruthless precision in the delivery of their material and the genuine sense that these guys truly love what they do was won me over, even if they passed on "La Villa Strangiato."

Personal Bias: I've seen Rush multiple times over the years, most recently in 2010, and dating back to the '80s.

The Crowd: Kids of all ages, air drummers and more women than you would think.

Overheard In the Crowd:: "You just don't hear drum solos anymore."

Random Notebook Dump: This was the second show I attended this weekend with my fiancée's niece, Jade, who was responsible for the overheard in the crowd quote. The other show was Dying Fetus and Decapitated Cattle on Friday. Guess which show I preferred.

Random Notebook Dump II:Favorite T-shirt spotted in the crowd was a toss-up between "I pooped today" and "Got Geddy?".

Location Info


Toyota Center

1510 Polk, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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I saw Rush in 2004 at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, and would have never guessed that a Rush concert experience could get any better than that...but sure enough, last night it was. As an additional surprise, the highlight of the show for me was the Clockwork Angels portion (didn't expect it to have the impact it did). It translates so well to a live setting! + the string section made the sound that much huger. Very inspiring to see Rush up the ante once again.

MadMac topcommenter

Thanks for this. I missed the show and this ALMOST (all guilt directed at my Mrs.) makes up for it.


It's Cattle Decapitation, not Decapitated Cattle. ;)

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