The Show Must Go On

24 06 2007

I have a question: What’s with the rotisserie chicken on stage?

I suppose that demands a bit of elaboration.

I went to see Rush in concert Friday night. I’ve seen them twice before, and they always give good concerts. Rush is one of the few bands that are better live than their albums. This is not to say that their albums suck; I have yet to hear a bad Rush album. They’re just so much better live.

Anyway, there were three huge “Henhouse” rotisserie cookers on the stage behind Geddy- each one with what looked like at least a dozen chickens turning on spits. Twice during the concert- once before and once after the intermission- a roadie wearing a chef’s hat came out and pretended to brush something onto the chickens. This was never explained, or even mentioned. So what’s with the chickens?

As for the concert itself, it was fantastic. Rush can still knock out the music, even though they’re all in their 50’s (and look it). They were at their best with their older stuff, but everything was great. Geddy’s voice doesn’t have the range it used to, but it’s still a powerful instrument in its own right. Alex can still deliver great guitar, and Neal is still the God of Drums.

Best of all, they looked like they were having fun! That sort of stage presence is infectious, and the audience was lifted up along with the band. A wonderful time was had by all.

A few highlights are in order. Free Will is still my own personal anthem, and they did the song proud. They opened with Limelight and closed with YYZ, and covered a lot of territory during the three hours in between. The little video clip they showed at the start of the show was hilarious, as was the South Park bit after the intermission. They even resurrected Doug and Bob McKenzie for a song intro. If you don’t know who Doug and Bob McKenzie are, just remain content in your ignorance. It would take far too long to explain.
The band was at their best doing their older music, with most of the audience singing along quietly. But even the material from Snakes and Ladders– which was completely unfamiliar to me- had the power to pull me into the songs.

Minor quibble, the drums and bass tended to drown out the guitar for several songs before the intermission. Another minor gripe concerns the giant screens behind the stage. When they were playing, the screens often showed imagery associated with the music, but all too often was just video feed from the crew in front of the stage. It was seriously distracting. I came to see the band play, not watch a video of them playing.

Back to the music. Despite their age, Alex, Geddy, and Neal played for two and a half hours (with a half-hour intermission about halfway through). The instrumental tracks they played really showed off their peerless skill. Neal played every single song, plus a ten-minute drum solo that exhausted me just watching it. I have no idea how they manage to keep playing, much less have fun doing it. Their concert schedule has got to be pretty draining- they’d played up near the Logic-Free Zone Thursday night- but they still enjoy playing, and apparently enjoy it when the audience is happy. This audience- an equal mix of old farts like me, their kids, and a bunch of late teen/early 20s kids- definitely went away happy.

All in all, a wonderful evening, and just about the best $70 I remember spending. I just wish i knew what the Hell is up with the chickens.

Current mood: Satisfied

Current music: The Main Monkey Business by Rush. Duh!