Rush LG Arena Birmingham 26-05-13

377 days after buying the tickets and finally the day had come around.

We had digested the "Clockwork Angels" cd and read the novel and an expectant crowd gathered to witness a truly great performance from one of the finest bands on the planet.

Before the show on forums around the world the price of tickets has been a big point of discussion. This show cost £75 plus the usual extras and we had paid over a year ago but it was worth every last penny.

Starting with one of their now legendary videos showing the band being put together for the show, the synth intro to "Subdivisions" started set 1 which had a distinctive 1980's feel.

We had 4 songs from "Power Windows", 2 from "Signals",1 from "Hold Your Fire", 1 from "Grace Under Pressure" and 2 from 90's cd "Roll The Bones"

Not many bands could play such a diverse set of mainly fan/band favourites and get away with it.With a great sound and with the lights and backdrop providing a visual backdrop to get lost in.

Our seats were close enough to see everything but also far enough away to enjoy the spectacle. On the R30 tour in 2004 we had front row seats and at times the show passed over us.

The music was truly special with every instrument being heard and with Geddy Lee being in great voice. On the last "Moving Pictures" tour his voice sounded strained but with plenty of time off and gaps between all shows this seems to have helped.

Great to see the sheep back on the backdrop when "Force Ten"was played. My first Rush experience was on the "Hold Your Fire" tour back in 1988 in fact the night recorded for the "A Show Of Hands" cd and the long form video recently re-released on the "Replay" dvd set.

And the guitar solo on "Analog Kid" was greeted with an enormous cheer and applause from all of the crowd.

Neal Peart had split his solo up into 3 mini parts with the first at the end of the instrumental "Where's My Thing?". All as ever being amazingly played and thought out.

The first half of the set after an hour ended with "Snakes And Arrows's" "Far Cry" which had the first major pyro of the evening and a real wow factor before Geddy told us as they were all 100 years old they would take a small break!!

Here is the first set:
Video Intro (Gearing Up)
The Big Money
Force 10
Grand Designs
Middletown Dreams
Analog Kid
Where's My Thing (with drum solo)
Far Cry

Before set 2 the string ensemble gathered at the back of the stage as for the first time on a tour  the band had some extra musicians as if they need it.

The entrance video for the second half had Neal and Geddy as gnomes and Alex as a troll in a hilarious sketch  before "Caravan" started an hours music from last year's excellent "Clockwork Angels" cd.

After having nearly a year to live with the cd the crowd all knew the songs and they came alive and with the backing of the ensemble gave them even more depth.

During "Clockwork Angels" the lighting rig moved around giving them 10 smaller screens in the air to make the stage seem even larger. You can see the time and effort that the band put into their live shows as every light and screen add to the spectacle. With colours and shapes at the heart of it all.

The 1 2 3 of "Clockwork Angels", "The Anarchist"and then "Carnies" was incredible. Music, orchestra and sound at their finest. I can't wait to see the dvd (due out later in the year).

During "The Wreckers" when the backdrop had a boat struggling in storm lashed sea the light rig made it look like that it was raining on stage.How it joined the screens was magical.

"The Garden" again had stunning visuals with flowers popping up all over the place. At times you feel like you have been drawn in and are actually on the stage with them.

The band then played some oldies with the ensemble showing us a real depth to songs we have heard many times before. "YYZ" especially so with one of the guest musicians banging his head along to the music.

The ensemble left and the riff to "Spirit Of Radio" made the hairs on my  neck stand to attention before the encores of "Tom Sawyer" and "2112" took us to the end to a second half that had lasted an hour and 45 minutes.

Here is the second set:
Intermission (Clockwork Angels String Ensemble enters)
Set 2:
Video Intro (The Appointment)
Clockwork Angels
The Anarchist
The Wreckers
Headlong Flight (with drum solo)
Halo Effect (with guitar solo intro)
Wish Them Well
The Garden
Manhattan Project
The Percussor (drum solo)
Red Sector A
(Clockwork Angels String Ensemble exits)
The Spirit of Radio


Tom Sawyer
2112 Overture/Temples of Syrinx/Grand Finale
Video Outro (Office of the Watchmaker)

We had a band at the peak of it's power not afraid to play an hour's new music and band favourites and not just a act living on their past.

The band were immense Alex's guitar playing and some great solo's, Geddy's bass playing was top level and as I mentioned earlier was in great voice and Neal Peart I could watch all night.

Was it worth the money?

Yes in every way. Lights, sound, visually stunning, pyro, flames, ensemble and a band on top form.

If this was the seventh and last time we see them then I'm glad I was there.


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