TVD Live Shots: Rush at Jiffy Lube Live, 5/30

Rush is a band you either like or dislike; rarely is there any grey area. But having caught their Saturday show at Jiffy Lube Live on the 40th anniversary tour, rumored to be their last, it was obvious why so many are so rabid about the band, and that age is nothing but a number.

The band, now in their early 60s, played for 3.5 hours (and that did not include the 20 min intermission), working their way backwards through their storied 20-record discography, playing a few songs from each. To the delight of many, the audience was even treated to a song Rush had never played live before, “Jacobs Ladder” off of 1980’s Permanent Waves. Said frontman Geddy Lee, “In the spirit of moving backwards, we’re going to stay with this record for one more. It’s a song we rarely play. In fact, I don’t think we ever have.”

The other fascinating part of it all was watching these three guys just, well, play. The running comment about Rush for years was how their incredibly elaborate sound was created by just three members. And it just remains the three members. Unlike many bands who need additional players to play their studio music live, Rush still retains the incredible talent and dexterity to do it all themselves. It’s stunning how singer/bassist Geddy Lee remembers all of his bass parts AS WELL AS all of the the words to so many songs without faltering, given how elaborate Rush lyrics are known to be (take a read of “By-Tor and the Snow Dog” or “Xanadu” sometime, for an example).

But Rush doesn’t just play. Their live show is visceral spectacle that taps into all of the senses. Explosions so immense you can smell and taste them. A light show that reaches out so far into the audience you could touch it. And video segments for the eyes that connect to the best sense of all-humor. Reaching an iconic status can make a lot of bands take themselves so seriously.

But even after 40 years, Rush maintains a sense of humor about themselves that is completely endearing but also very clever. Saturday’s videos included clips about the band over the years from Mel’s Rock Pile on SCTV, Lil Rush from South Park, and Jason Segal and Paul Rudd Meeting Rush, among others. The best ones, however, were by the band themselves, including a menagerie of icons from all their records taking over their dressing room for a VIP party (go to 11:24 here), and their polka-playing alter-egos, a band named Rash (Part 1, Part 2).

You might love Rush, you might hate Rush. But after seeing Saturday’s show, it became immediately apparent that, if you are any sort of a music fan, or are a band seeking to employ a light show of its own, seeing them live should be a requirement. You will walk away with a whole new respect for creativity and work ethic.

Go here to see more photos from the show.

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  • Raleigh Dailey

    Great article and pics – thanks!!!! Though “Jacob’s Ladder” appears on, um, “Exit…Stage Left” in a live version. Old age, I guess… Sad to hear it might be the last tour!

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