Rush ‘n’ Roll

By on May 30, 2015

 

Rush – R40. Amalie Arena – Tampa, FL May 24th 2015. Celebrating 40 years of Rush

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Photo-Frank Colucci

I want to start off by apologizing for the lack of great pictures from this show. I wasn’t there on any official business. I had pretty decent seats (section 215) for seeing a great concert but the arena doesn’t allow any professional cameras. So with that being said, I shot what I could with a 20X zoom on a regular Panasonic point and shoot.

My cousin and I arrived at the arena around 630p. One hour before show time. The Channelside section of downtown Tampa is already buzzing with joy over the fact that our beloved hockey team is two wins away from advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals. In addition to an almost sold out concert, there were also Tampa Bay Lightning watch parties going on as the Lightning were playing the NY Rangers in game 5 at the Garden in New York. So needless to say, there were thousands of people everywhere.

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Photo-Frank Colucci

Over the last decade or so Rush has not toured with an opening act. Instead, the Canadian trio plays a video that shows off more of a comedic side of the band, and the Rush R40 tour was no different. We went inside right around 7p and headed for our seats. The front of the stage was blocked by a huge white curtain with R40 in the middle. The lights went out at approximately 745p and the first video of the night titled “The world Is… The World Is” began. It’s a cartoonish history of the group, featuring caricatures of the band members covering the 40 year span of their albums, tours and cities they have been to, starting from their early days 40 years ago and ending with a sign that said Tampa. Now, “The World Is… The World Is” may have taken us through the history of this amazing band from the beginning of Rush all the way to 2015, but the setlist however highlighted their extensive catalog in reverse chronological order, opening with three songs from 2012’s Clockwork Angels and ending with two from their very first self titled album. (see full setlist below).

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Photo-Frank Colucci

My cousin, who flew in from Phoenix just to go to the show was the one who introduced me to Rush when I was a teenager. I saw the band for the first time in 1990 on the Presto tour and I haven’t missed seeing them since. Three awesome musicians from Canada that are just simply at the top of their game, even now in their 60’s. Drummer Neil Peart is arguably the greatest of all time. Singer/bassist Geddy Lee has got to be in the top 5 bassist to ever pick up the bass and guitarist Alex Lifeson is such an amazing yet underrated axe man. If you’ve never heard Rush before, after one listen you would swear that there are a few more members in the band. Let’s not forget their lyrics. Some of the most intelligent song lyrics you will ever hear.

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Photo-Frank Colucci

In addition to Rush jamming through 27 songs in reverse chronological order, there was something else going on behind the guys on the stage; something really cool. Stage hands dressed in red jump suits helped transform the stage by adding and removing speakers and other nostalgic props from past tours, ending in what appeared to be a high school gym. The clothes that Lee, Lifeson & Peart were wearing even changed in-between the three sets. The first ten songs took us from the previously mentioned 2012’s Clock Work Angels and ended with Subdivisions from 1982’s Signals album. Lee tells the crowd “We need to take a short break and take our meds”

The second set was no different. Another video was shown to start things off. This one was titled No Country for Old Hens; not a cartoon but the boys once again made us laugh showing a humorous side of Rush that we just don’t get to see often enough. Part two starts off with three of the band biggest hits, “Tom Saywer”, “YYZ” and “The Spirit of Radio” and ending with four of the seven parts from the classic album 2112.

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Photo-Frank Colucci

The third and final set or encore if you will, started with a short video introduction by Eugene Levy hosting a rock show in the mid 70’s entitled Mel’s Rock Pile. “Before we get to the headliners we have an opening act that I think is gonna keep you bopping and grooving” said Mel. “These guys have been playing together for a couple of years and have opened for KISS twice; ladies and gentleman the Canadian trio RUSH”. The four song encore ended with two songs from the bands very first self titled album; performing with speakers stacked on chairs and a disco ball hanging over the stage.

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Photo-Frank Colucci

The band has hinted recently to the fact that this could be their last big tour. I’ve also read that Lifeson is suffering from arthritis but just before exiting the stage, Lee thanked the audience and said “maybe one day we will see you again”. I sure hope so, but if not, I’d like to thank these three men for years and years of great rock n roll, excellent song writing and some amazing concerts. Long live Rush!

Full set list –

Set 1 – (The World Is … The World Is) 1.The Anarchist 2.Clockwork Angels 3.Headlong Flight (with mini drum solo) 4.Far Cry 5.The Main Monkey Business 6.One Little Victory 7.Animate 8.Roll the Bones 9.Distant Early Warning 10.Subdivisions – Set 2- (No Country for Old Hens) 11.Tom Sawyer 12.YYZ 13.The Spirit of Radio 14.Natural Science 15.Jacobs Ladder 16.Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres part I: Prelude 17.Cygnus X-1 (The Voyage Part 1 & 3 with drum solo) 18.Closer To The Heart 19.Xanadu 20.2112 Part I:Overture 21.2112 Part II: The Temples of Syrinx 22.2112 Part IV: Presentation 23.2112 Part VII: Grand Finale – Set 3 – (Mel’s Rock Pile starring Eugene Levy) 24.Lakeside Park 25.Anthems 26.What You’re Doing 27.Working Man

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Photo-Frank Colucci

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Photo-Frank Colucci

 

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