MEN Arena, Manchester
22 May 2013
Playing through the highlights of their back catalogue Rush leave the Manchester crowd in no doubt of the band’s musical power and prowess.
Widely revered as one of the greatest rock bands to have ever graced our planet, Rush began a short jaunt around the UK in Manchester. The tour is in support of last year’s quite superb Clockwork Angels album.
What accompanies legendary status is a hefty price tag for the ticket. Consequently, most of the upper tier of the vast MEN Arena is sectioned off because of tickets not sold. This was no bad thing though as it made the concert seem slightly more intimate. The atmosphere was and the enthusiasm from the crowd was fantastic.
Opening up with Subdivisions from 1982’s Signals album, the band embarked on a two and half hour plus musical journey that took in many parts of the bands vast discography.
The first half of the show was comprised of material mainly from the 1980s. Another Signals track, The Analog Kid, was a particular highlight with Alex Lifeson taking on solo duties with a stunning display on the guitar. Along with Geddy Lee’s distinctive vocal style, there were several opportunities for Neil Peart, quite possibly the greatest drummer alive, to show off his incredible drumming skill on one of the largest drum kits known to man.
The second half of the show was made up of tracks primarily from Clockwork Angels. Backed by the excellent Clockwork Angels String Ensemble, the band powered through nearly the entire latest album (albeit in a different order). Opening up with the devastatingly heavy Caravan, complete with extremely loud pyro, the band delivered another stunning set of songs.
Of the rest of the set of songs from Clockwork Angels, Carnies and The Garden were both epic in equal measure. Again, the songs in the set were punctuated with each band member displaying their incredible musical ability.
The final portion of the show was made up of some of the distinctive songs that people associate with Rush. A superb rendition of Spirit of Radio and a supreme version of YYZ both brought the crowd to their feet. A short encore break was ended by the classic Tom Sawyer from 1981’s Moving Pictures album. The band closed out the marathon show with three sections from the track 2112 to send the Manchester crowd home very happy.
The trio of Lee, Lifeson and Peart are a real example of musical power. The talent in the band is of the highest order, and from tonight’s flexing of the musical muscles, long may it continue.
All words by Dom Walsh. You can read more from Dom on LTW here.