|Rush, SECC Glasgow, 30 May 2013, |
a photo by DavidDMuir on Flickr.
I first saw them in concert in 1978 at the Glasgow Apollo for the Farewell To Kings tour and I often cite that as my favourite gig ever but I think Thursday's concert may well knock the '78 concert off the top spot. Why do I say that? Was it the light show? Was it the back projection? Was it the fireworks? Certainly, the shows have become more spectacular as the years have gone by, and the current show is possibly their most pyrotechnic yet, but explosions alone do not a great show make...
With Rush concerts, it's always been about the musicianship... at least, that's what it's been for me. Every time I see them live, I am astonished at how faithfully the three of them reproduce the sounds from their studio albums in a concert setting. Can I say that again? Three of them. On stage. Live! No studio trickery for support. Just three outstanding musicians working together to produce something that many bands twice their size (and nowadays half their age) would struggle to match! But what made this tour special was, not only did we have at least ninety minutes of the three of them working wonders by triggering samples and playing synthesisers with what ever spare limb wasn't already involved in playing their "main" instrument, we also had about an hour of Rush playing along with a string section. And the Clockwork Angels String Ensemble did what I would have said was impossible; they made Rush sound even better than usual!
The set list is embedded below:
As you can see, The Clockwork Angels String Ensemble played for most of the second set, which is where Rush played almost the whole of the Clockwork Angels album, but they also played along with Dreamline, Red Sector A and YYZ. Now, YYZ in particular, I have heard them play live umpteen times but I don't think it has ever sounded better than it did last week with the string ensemble rocking it up behind Rush.
As I sat in the SECC waiting for the concert to begin feeling stupidly excited, I thought back to my first Rush gig where I felt just as stupidly excited. What is it about Rush that can make a fat fifty year old man feel like a teenager again? What ever it is, long may it continue!