Part 7: Shatter the Illusion of Integrity
The stars were aligned as we climbed the hill into Montage Mountain tonight. Rush had been as close to perfect as possible 3 years ago, but neither Rooski nor the Green Veggies had been there to witness that performance. Since then, the band had produced their best album in a quarter century and was now back for all of his witness. In the parking lot before the show, their was pure excitement and bliss as Giants and Cowboys fans put aside their petty differences and join in rare agreement about the holiness of this band (as well as the wretched evil of the Philadelphia Eagles). The kind of audience that can only encompass the seats at a Rush concert.
On the album Hold Your Fire, there is a song “Tai Shan” which speaks of climbing the sacred mountain of 7,000 stairs which will bring 100 years of life. I openly professed before the show that this may, in fact, be the case – that perhaps they are barely halfway through life (and yet to reach the halfway point of their careers).
But tonight they seemed human and, yes, even showed their age. Further, the hodgepodge of order to their selections was baffling to the audience, especially during the MalNar/Drums/Hope/Summertime Blues sequence. Taking separately, or put in more proper order, there is nothing terrible about any of these selections, but tonight (with the exception of the internal part of Pert’s drum solo) it felt confused.”Malignant Narcissism” is a short, bass-dominated instrumental that would have worked better as a mid section to an established song (as would the drum solo, which Veggie astutely pointed out belongs inside “YYZ”). “Hope” is a pastoral acoustic solo by Lifeson that would be a nice intro to another acoustic-dominated song (which Snakes and Arrows has many) but instead led to the Feedback cover “Summertime Blues”, which fell flat in this sequence. How many great originals were passed over for this one? Aside from its placement, the drum solo was fantastic as usual and included some unusual pairings (via overhead screen) with classic jazz and big band greats. Rooski, who wants to someday be a drummer himself, played his air drums throughout.
Further the sound problems, evident in the first set, had returned as the band launched into the fourth and final selection from Permanent Waves, the normally-fantastic “Spirit of Radio”. The high end of the bass was drowning out the low-end of the guitar, and the tuning was just a bit off. However, Pert was still there keeping perfect time and the crowd loved it anyway.