More than a quarter century after their last appearance in Atlantic Canada, did anyone really expect anything less than a heroes welcome for Rush? At least the band didn’t try to sweep their long-standing absence under the rug at a sold-out Halifax Metro Centre this past Friday night. After the group finished playing their third song of the night, Rush front man Geddy Lee acknowledged having taken an extraordinarily long time to return to the region:
“A funny thing happened on the way to Nova Scotia. We were so stupid we forgot to come back for 25 years. We’re going to make up for it though, we’ve brought along about 1,000 songs,” he told the crowd to a roar of approval.
If the crowd gathered at the Metro Centre had their way, they would have had the band play those 1,000 songs. Their appetite for music from their heroes was insatiable. The audience went as nuts for some of Alex Lifeson’s guitar solos and Geddy Lee’s bass runs as they did for Neil Peart’s drum solos.
Opening their almost three-hour show with Subdivisions, Rush followed up with 1985 hit The Big Money. Their show was no trip down memory lane, however. While the group indulged fans with classic tracks such as Limelight, Red Sector A and YYZ, they devoted the first part of their post-intermission to performing the bulk of their latest masterpiece Clockwork Angels. The band introduced a string ensemble that accompanied the group through The Anarchist, Headlong Flight, Seven Cities Of Gold and The Garden among others.
Of course while Rush’s music plays a huge part in their live show, they had amazing visuals to go along with the music. A wonderful light show and video screen kept the audience dazzled while a popcorn machine located behind Lee’s position on stage dutifully popped kernels. This is the wonderful dichotomy of a Rush show: the guys don’t take themselves so seriously that they can’t have a person in a gorilla suit appear on stage through the show.
Expect nothing short of a fan mutiny should Rush wait another 25 years to return to Atlantic Canada. Judging by the band’s genuinely grateful reaction to the reception they were given on Friday night, I’d be truly amazed if that was the case.
Rushisaband.com have posted a copy of the set list performed at the show.