No one I know likes Rush. Not a soul. My circle is so hell-bent against the Canadian power trio, I decided to ask them all if they wanted to catch Rush at the Nokia Theater downtown with me on Tuesday, just to see how many Rush Rejections I could get. I got a lot.
When I asked Maryann, she made this little exclamation of surprise and then laughed at my wildly funny joke. I sent Sara a text invite. She texted back, “Sounds lyk my idea of hel.” Chaz merely texted, “Ugh.” I’m alone among my friends. But when it comes to Greater Los Angeles, things are a bit different. I parked downtown at 7:30, headed for the venue and soon found myself in a crowd–a big, black-clad, slightly grizzled throng. And we were all here for one thing.
Rush is aging well. I first caught them at Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque. 1985. Tickets were just $12.50. It was my first concert sans-parents. They had taken me to see both the Allman Brothers Band and the Dead, so I was no stranger to amplified music, but this was my first one on my own. And wow, did it make an impression. They packed a monster punch back then, and while the music may have changed and the tempo slowed a bit, they’re still roaring on stage. And the fans are roaring back.
The show kicked off at eight and wrapped at just past eleven. In that three hour span they played everything from the solid classics (“Tom Sawyer,” “Freewill,” “Subdivisions”) to spellbinding rarities (the seldom heard “Between The Wheels” and the always magnificent “Digital Man,”) to clunkers (“Spindrift,” from the recent, Snakes & Arrows and “2112,” which, I’m sorry, I’m just sick of hearing.) They played a lot, and most important, they played with a passion and energy and ferocity remarkable after more than thirty years onstage.
My big complaint about Live Rush is that, well, they don’t sound too different from Album Rush. Last night was no exception. The music that the trio pounds out on stage clings to the tried and true album versions of the songs with such loyalty that I found myself longing for a moment of improvisation or a brilliant re-working of an old tune, something to keep us on our toes. But if you’re in the “don’t fix it if it ain’t broken” club, and you missed last night’s show, you’re in luck. The boys from Canada still have another night here in L.A. They return to the Nokia theater Thursday night.
Ticketmaster’s got tickets, y’all.