Mini-review: Rush Concert, Tulsa

On Tuesday, I attended the Rush concert in TUL with BC, his brother Matt, and his brother-in-law Chris. The crowd wasn’t fanatical — probably because of its average age in the mid-late 40s, but definitely was into the show and making some noise. It was good to see a lot of younger folks there too, manifesting a cultural appreciation for classic rock that seems to have taken deep root in people now in their late teens through 20s, who weren’t born when most of this music was made originally.

The opening act for Rush was…Rash! Rash is a video parody of Rush during a fictional earlier time in their development, played by the actual members of the band in goofy disguises. The video was hilarious, and played in two parts — one before the start of the show and one during the intermission.

As for the show itself, it was a 3+ hour Rushathon, very well done, with their usual masterful performance. Here was the setlist:

  1. The Spirit Of Radio
  2. Time Stand Still
  3. Presto
  4. Stick It Out
  5. Workin’ Them Angels
  6. Leave That Thing Alone
  7. Faithless
  8. BU2B
  9. Freewill
  10. Marathon
  11. Subdivisions

    {Intermission}

  12. Tom Sawyer
  13. Red Barchetta
  14. YYZ
  15. Limelight
  16. The Camera Eye
  17. Witch Hunt
  18. Vital Signs
  19. Caravan
  20. Neil Peart drum solo (Love 4 Sale)
  21. Alex Lifeson guitar solo (Hopeless)
  22. Closer To The Heart
  23. 2112 Part I: Overture
  24. 2112 Part II: The Temples Of Syrinx
  25. Far Cry

    Encore:

  26. La Villa Strangiato
  27. Working Man

As you can see, and as advertised, they played the Moving Pictures album in entirety, immediately after the intermission.

They didn’t touch on it, but the Neil Peart drum solo was absolutely amazing. Indeed, the old man can still bring it.

They also did about the first 1/3 of “Working Man” in reggae, which was bizarre (but not bad). Then again, what’s a Rush show without its fair dose of weirdness? The videos were very creative and funny, especially the two-part Rash story.

Rush gradually ramped up the lights and pyrotechnics from the stage as the show went on and the sound quality improved (more on that below). I could feel the radiative heat from the flaming gas jets all the way across the arena from the stage. It must have been really toasty for the band. I imagine the effects are even more impressive in their outdoor shows where they don’t have a height restriction on the flames and fireworks.

I only can pick two nits about the show, and they may be related:

    1. Geddy’s voice occasionally was muffled or distorted, which was more noticeable for somebody with a howling falsetto like his than it would be with most rock singers, and
    2. The video and sound seemed to be a little offset from each other, especially before the intermission. The stated reason for the intermission was they “We’re not exactly spring chickens,” which is true. The intermission is SOP for them on this tour, but it definitely was used to clear up the mixing/sound problem (and to get a new snare head, which busted during Subdivisions and sent one of Neil’s sticks flying).

Those were fairly minor, though, and didn’t take away appreciably from the overall experience. I never was a hardcore Rush fan, but do like several of their songs a lot, and am a longtime admirer of Peart’s peerless drumming skills. As such, this show was well worth the price. Also, BOK Center is a great facility architecturally, and as good acoustically as a basketball/hockey arena can be. Tulsa, you did well with that place.

It was a good day with friends. Steve Bluford also went with us and sat a few rows down, and we saw Ed Calianese and his lovely bride both at a pre-concert dinner and there at the show. Thanks a ton to Joel Genung for shuttling us (Steve and I) around town too, before and after the show. We all had a good seafood dinner beforehand at White River Fish Market (see Urban Spoon reviews), a longtime, casual dining institution there that I recommend under their current level of quality.



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