Part II: Alone and Yet Together Like Two Passing Ships
T he popularity of 1981’s Moving Pictures brought Rush exposure to many new “mainstream” fans like the 13-year-old version of myself. Hence, that became the starting point and reference against which I’d gauge the subsequent albums. It wasn’t until years later that I (with the great help from the already seasoned Veggie) would realize that Moving Pictures (Rush’s 8th studio album) was, in fact, the culmination of the extraordinary early work (or “classic work”) of this band. I then began to discover the true classics, Fly by Night, Caress of Steel, em>2112, and Permanent Waves.
Released on January 1, 1980, Permanent Waves is a true gem of an album that has stood the test of time. A testament to that fact is that tonight, 27 1/2 years later, Rush performed four out of seven of the tracks from hat album starting with the rarely-performed "Entre Nous" for their third number of the night. Looking forward with Internet-provided set list in hand, this is the first big interesting highlight of the show for me.Unfortunately, this turned out to be the time that the drunken jackass in front of me had a seat dispute and for a moment looked like he was trying to overtake The Meister’s seat. Naturally, I was not able to view the performance with more than one eye but was still able to be impressed by Lifeson’s seamless transition between electric-on-strap and acoustic-on-stand during the chorus’ refrain. The tune, title French for “between us”, has always been a peculiarly overlooked gem in my opinion, especially since it’s as easily accessible and pop-oriented as the wildly-popular “Closer to the Heart” (which the band mercifully “retired” a few tours back). But being one who generally appreciates a “dark” gem over any “common” anthem of comparable quality, I was thrilled to be able to experience this song on this night as I discovered for the first time how well constructed is the mid section with nice chord progression.
The next song was “Mission” off of 1987’s Hold Your Fire. Admittedly, I knew nothing of this song until about a week ago when I dug it out of my mp3 archives, Rush being one of the elites which I must have a copy of every single recording they ever made. Even so, Hold Your Fire, has remained an undiscovered country beyond “Force Ten” and “Time Stand Still”. Still, this sounded interesting enough on the original recording, and an astute ear predicted that this might sound quite well live when all of the 80’s production gunk is lifted to reveal the core jam. This prediction materialized nicely and the song, which switches between church-organ-like sustained keys to full-throttle rock jam, was well received as the band completed its opening eclectic quad with the sound quality in the amphitheater gradually improving.