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Glasgow SECC, 3 October 2007

33 years after their first album came out and Canadian rockers Rush were back in Glasgow after only a three year gap, which is a mere blip in Rush time. But regardless, they were still in the 8,200 seater Hall 4 which, although not completely sold out, was close to capacity with the legions of Rush fans. And, if anyone truly deserves the term 'fanatic', then it's Rush fans.

You also don't want to be late for a Rush show, for not only is the intro video very funny, but they eschew the use of support acts, preferring to play two sets with an intermission. So, they arrived on stage at 7.40pm and finally departed at 10.50pm. Even with a break, that's good going for a bunch of guys in their mid-fifties.

They opened with 'Limelight', which was a poor choice, as it doesn't really have the power to kick start a show, but maybe they were thinking more of the lyrical content; "All the worlds indeed a stage, And we are merely players, Performers and portrayers, Each anothers audience, Outside the gilded cage".

A very anti-concert sentiment to start off a show. It actually took until "Freewill" before the show really took off. It saw the band hitting full power and the instrumental midsection was as close to musical perfection as you're likely to get. 'The Main Monkey Business' from new album "Snakes & Arrows" was absolutely outstanding, provoking a serious bout of Geddy bounciness. One of nine (!) new tracks played across the 2 sets, it shows how confident the band are of their new material. Everyone else seemed to get very excited about 'Circumstances', but I didn't really get it. It was probably just fans pleased to get something from as far back as "Hemispheres". The first set was a little one-paced, and even a band as technically proficient as Rush toiled with the SECC sound demons, which saw the guitar of Alex Lifeson disappearing into the mix. Highlights of the first half were 'Freewill' and 'The Main Monkey Business'.

The second half of the show started with five(!) new tracks in row, which was pushing their luck a bit, and seemed to calm the audience down a bit, but then they hit their peak with a 1-2-3 hit of 'Subdivisions', 'Natural Science' and 'Witch Hunt' which was simply stunning, with 'Natural Science' possibly the best performed song of the night. You won't be surprised to learn that drummer Neil Peart played a ten minute drum solo, which was actually a bit naff apart from the Buddy Rich inspired ending. 'The Spirit of Radio' and 'Tom Sawyer' finished off the main set, to keep the hit seekers happy, as did the encore.

Never the most personally visual of bands, Rush added in an array of fire, explosions, video projections and sci-fi gizmos, the best of which was the space-ship-like lighting rig coming to life and scaring the bejesus out of me. Their Canadian eh? sense of humour was also well to the fore as Geddy Lee, who uses digital amplifiers, replaced his backline with glass-fronted rotisserie ovens filled with rotating chickens, even compelling a poor unfortunate to come from backstage to baste them.

It was a long slog, full of peaks and troughs, but that's part of what makes live music great, and the high points were high enough to ensure that this was another good night in the long history of Rush.

Review by Stuart A Hamilton

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