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RUSH O2 Arena, London 25 May 2011
Photo Gallery by Lee Millward (Birmingham 22 May)
between the 23rd and the 29th of May was pretty stressful for me,
involving a bad cold, a fast approaching essay deadline and stress at
work and. By Wednesday my cold was getting worse, I was nowhere near
starting my essay and pressure at work kept mounting up, so what did I
decide to do? I decided to follow the teenager's approach of forgetting
about everything and head off to the London O2 Arena where Rush, the
best power trio in Rock music, had promised to perform a very long set
which would include the classic 1981 opus 'Moving Pictures' in its
I arrived at the venue a good hour prior to the show starting as I
wanted to ensure that I would invest in every piece of merchandise
available and it was not long before a massive bag was filled with all
sorts of beautifully crafted memorabilia such as books, CDs, Tour
programmes and T-shirts.
half my salary was spent on those goodies, my wife and I headed off to
the arena where we found ourselves positioned in a nice spot amongst
other Rush devotees, some of whom were young enough to be my children
while others old enough to be my parents – a clear indication of the
successful way that these amazing Canadians have managed to remain
relevant these last thirty seven years!
very short delay, this amazing night started with a truly humorous video
entitled 'The Real History Of Rush' which played on the concept of how
the band would appear in a parallel universe where Neil Peart was a cop,
Geddy Lee a fast food restaurant owner and Alex Lifeson a band manager
with a soft touch for…sausages.
song to fill the arena was the all-time classic 'The Spirit of the
Radio' and was received with a long cheer from the audience – an
audience that clearly expected the set list to consist of some of the
band's proudest and most popular moments.
most people were waiting for a more late seventies/early eighties set as
their reaction to songs like 'Time Stand Still' and 'Presto' was not
exactly what you would describe as enthusiastic, however the band
continued to produce their cleverly arranged tunes with surgical
'Stick It Out' would not have been my first choice from 'Counterparts'
its performance was breath-taking and the same applied to the now
classic 'Working Them Angels', whose video was projected through a
massive and cleverly presented screen hanging above Neil Peart's
impressive drum kit.
instrumental 'Leave That Thing Alone' gave the band an opportunity to
impress us with their technical skills and was followed by the quite
emotional 'Faithless' and the relatively-speaking 'newbie' 'BU2B'.
By the time
'Freewill' and 'Marathon' were performed, the crowd was pretty warmed up
and so greeted the amazing 'Subdivisions' with the respect and the
enthusiasm that it so rightfully deserves.
Following a twenty minute break, the moment that most of the people who
had gathered at the O2 that night had finally arrived!
As the first
few notes of 'Tom Sawyer' filled the massive hall this diverse crowd
went absolutely ballistic – a momentum that continued with 'Red
Barchetta' and the beautiful instrumental 'YYZ'.
is another classic that was embraced by the band's fans, while the ten
minute opus 'The Camera Eye' was accompanied by a truly fitting video
which slightly distracted my attention from the band for a few minutes.
Pictures' is not the longest album in the history of music, so it was
not long before the last few notes of 'Witch Hunt' and 'Vital Signs'
were being performed, much to our chagrin.
us, though, Rush had quite a few more goodies up their sleeves, as the
second new sensational track entitled 'Caravan' was included in the set
list, followed by an amazing drum solo by 'Sir' Neil Peart – one that
was performed on a rotating twin drum kit which combined both acoustic
and electronic drums.
few seconds left to catch our breath, we were presented with another
classic, namely 'Closer To The Heart', followed by the first two parts
of the amazing '2112' (see 'I: Overture' and 'II: The Temples of Syrinx'),
while 'Far Cry' provided the closing theme of the second set, after
which the band said their goodbyes and left the stage.
Was that a
long enough set for us? Certainly not - something that these clever
Canadians soon realised as they returned for a small encore which
consisted of breath-taking alternative renditions of 'La Villa
Strangiato' and 'Working Man', after which they finally left the stage
looked quite pleased with the crowd's reaction, something that Geddy Lee
did mention during the show. As for the fans, I am sure that most of us
would like to have heard a few more classics such as 'Xanadu', 'Driven'
and the amazing 'The Trees', the latter really shining through its
absence, however if that was to be the case, we would have needed a
three and a half hour set.
finally left the O2, after having enjoyed another humorous video, I did
so conscious of the fact that I had witnessed another top quality
performance – a view that was shared by many other fellow-attendees.
Suddenly, having a cold was not important and, just in case you are
wondering, I did rather well in my essay…further proof that this band is
magic! Till next time, guys!
First Set: The Spirit Of Radio/ Time Stand Still/ Presto/ Stick It Out/
Workin' Them Angels/ Leave That Thing Alone/ Faithless/ BU2B/ Freewill/
Second Set: Tom Sawyer/ Red Barchetta/ YYZ/ Limelight/ The Camera Eye/
Witch Hunt/ Vital Signs/ Caravan/ Drum Solo/ Closer To The Heart/ 2112
Part I: Overture/ 2112 Part II: The Temples Of Syrinx/ Far Cry
Encore: La Villa Strangiato/ Working Man
Yiannis Stefanis, GRTR! Metal Editor
Photo Gallery by Lee Millward (Birmingham 22 May)
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