Rush lays out 40-year rock history at Tulsa's BOK Center
BY JENNIFER CHANCELLOR World Scene Writer
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
9/22/10 at 12:42 AM
Some 40 years after its beginning as a bar band in Toronto, it would be understandable — forgivable, even — if Canadian rock act Rush doled out a string of animatronic reenactments of greatest hits.
That didn’t happen.
Tuesday night’s concert at the BOK Center clocked in at over three hours with two full “acts” of music and an encore. More than a clunky time capsule, Rush’s “Time Machine” tour was a rocket ride through space and time.
Frontman Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson and drummer Neil Peart played as tightly and energetically as ever before, showcasing four decades of music and classics new and old.
A couple of new tunes in the expansive setlist, “Caravan” and “Brought Up to Believe,” are both expected on an album due next spring.
Peart’s ever-expanding drum arsenal fueled the band’s aural expedition, especially in the standout “Moving Pictures”-era tunes, including seven from the hit album: “Tom Sawyer,” “YYZ,” “Red Barchetta,” “Vital Signs,” “The Camera Eye” and “Limelight.”
This tour showcases the album in its entirety for the first time — just in time to mark its 30th anniversary. Video skits even poked fun at the “Rush phenomenon” and panned the bandmates’ hair, clothes and even its name with a washed-up, greasy-spoon polka-music act named “Rash.”
The “Moving Pictures” portion of Tuesday night’s show ignited with progressive-rock, adrenaline-charged mastery. All their dry jokes about age aside, Lee’s falsetto is as strong as it was 30 years ago. Peart brawls with his ever-expanding drum kit, and Lifeson is one of the best — if underrated — guitarists in rock.
Rush’s music highlights its trademark heavy metal sound, a classic rock beat inhabited by jazz, funk, blues and cinematic British rock flair.
The band rumbled through several tunes from its long history, including the albums “Permanent Waves,” “Snakes & Arrows,” “A Farewell to Kings,” “Signals,” “2112,” “Hemispheres” and “Power Windows.”
A stories-high, high-definition screen amplified every detail, down to the crackled faux-vintage “Rash” logo on Lee’s tee, the clockwork mechanism detail on Peart’s expansive drumkit and even the mother-of-pearl inlays on Lifeson’s guitar neck.
The set included “Freewill,” “The Spirit of Radio,” “Workin’ Them Angels,” “Faithless,” “Far Cry,” “Closer to the Heart,” “Subdivisions,” “2112 Part I: Overture” and “2112 Part II: The Temples of Syrinx,” “La Villa Strangiato,” “Working Man,” “Marathon,” “The Spirit of Radio,” “Presto” “Leave That Thing Alone,” “Stick it Out,” “Time Stand Still” and more.
For More: Check out Tulsa World music reporter Jennifer Chancellor’s Barrelhouse Beat blog for music news, videos and more.
Slide show: View a concert slide show later tonight.
BOK Center See a calendar of upcoming events at the arena, view photos from performances and more.
With a larger-than-life image of Rush drummer Neil Peart on a screen behind them, Peart (background) and guitarist Geddy Lee perform at Tulsa's BOK Center on Tuesday evening. TOM GILBERT/Tulsa World
Rush's Alex Lifeson (left) and Geddy Lee perform at the BOK Center as the band showcases four decades of music on Tuesday. TOM GILBERT/Tulsa World