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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Fine Art of Air Instrumentation: Rush at Sleep Country Amphitheater, Sun July 28

Posted by Aris Wales on Tue, Jul 30, 2013 at 12:54 PM

I like Rush quite a bit. I have their first four records on vinyl, seven out of their first nine digitally, and a good handful of their remaining discography on tape. However, after attending my first Rush show at Sleep Country Amphitheater on Sunday night, can I consider myself a fan? Judging from the other attendees that I observed over the night, I don’t think I am.

That’s not to say that I didn’t have a great time. Neil Peart, Geddy Lee, and Alex Lifeson have such an immense amount of musical talent between them it’s a miracle they don’t repel each other. My problem was that, within the two sets and three-plus hours of music, I only recognized five songs. Five. Did anyone else in the whole amphitheater have that problem too? Maybe, but not from where I was standing.

From my seat, what I saw was a sea of bald spots and air instrumentation as far as my eyes could see (Let's be honest, there were ladies there too. But the line for the women’s restroom was remarkably shorter than the men’s). They all bopped and rocked to every song, and they all sang every word while they strummed and drummed at the air with every note. Even when Rush came out for their second set and played six or seven songs from their new record Clockwork Angels, the masses seemed to surge even more then they did for the old material.

What that shows me is that Rush and their devoted fan base have a deep respect for each other. These fans keep up with their discography; they catch them every time they tour through town. Rush knows this, so they don’t play all the tired, old radio songs or acknowledged classics. They don’t have to reach deep into their past to pluck out gems to appease their fans, because they know the fans actually want to hear the new stuff. Seeing a band that’s been playing together just shy of 40 years do that was a heartwarming change of pace. It made me reconsider my snobby, purist hang-ups and think about giving a re-listening to Rush albums produced after 1982.

I’m gonna have to brush up on my air drum skills before the next Rush show, too. All those other dudes were showing me up…

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