Rush R40 Lincoln

Following in the wake of an epic May snowstorm, high winds, flooding, and tornados, my two oldest kids—Nathaniel (16) and Gretchen (14)—and I began our nearly eight-hour journey across the Great Plains about 8:45 yesterday morning. We arrived in Lincoln around 5, checked into our hotel room, and I immediately had an hour-long radio interview with two wonderful women out of Denver.

Scrambling as Kronos devoured the minutes, we headed across town in search of our pilgrimage site, The Pinnacle Arena.

We found it, and we were in our seats by 7:10. The show was supposed to start at 7:30, but it ran about 15 minutes late.

A nearly packed arena revealed a far more gender-balanced Rush audience then I’d ever seen before. Almost certainly because of Beyond the Lighted Stage, wives and girlfriends (it was pretty obvious that most of them were newbies) made up a significant part of the crowd. I’m sure there were women there on their own as well, of course, but most packs I saw were men only. Still, probably ¼ to a 1/3 of the audience was female. Impressive, to be sure.

1970s classic prog from Kansas, ELP, Jethro Tull, and Yes blared from the speakers as we awaited the Canadians.

Rush, May 10, 2015, Lincoln, Nebraska.
Rush, May 10, 2015, Lincoln, Nebraska.

A typically bizarre video introduced the band, detailing its journey from 1974 to the present, actually having Rush arrive in Lincoln, Nebraska. Alex even showed up on stage in a wheelchair, rather hilariously.

From the opening note to the last, three hours in all, Rush performed without flaws, as tight as ever, and as humorous as ever. I’ve never seen Neil smile so much. Throughout much of the evening, he kept making strange faces at Alex, Alex egging him on. Alex also said several things to the audience, but I couldn’t catch them all. The highlight of his hilarity, though, came toward the end of the evening, when he and Geddy traded places on stage, Alex mocking Geddy’s 1975 Zeppelin-esque screams.

I can honestly write: this was the single finest rock concert I’ve seen in my life. It was the absolute dream of a Rush fan and a prog fan. Everything, simply put, was perfect.

The music, the song selection, the videos, the lights, the lasers. . . . Every. Single. Thing.

Peart's second of two drum solos.  As my 14 year old daughter said to me after the concert: Peart was the best part.
Peart’s second of two drum solos. As my 14 year old daughter said to me after the concert: Peart was the best part.

***Here, there be spoilers!***

If you’re not interested in what the band plays, please stop reading here. There be spoilers below! You have been warned.

I made sure NOT to find out what Rush was playing. A close friend had posted the name of one song online, but, otherwise, I refrained from reading anything about the tour. I’m really glad I did. So, again, if you want to be stunned—and you will be—don’t read below.

Geddy.  From the Wizard of Oz.
Geddy. From the Wizard of Oz.

The entire show went exactly backwards. Rush started with three blistering songs from CLOCKWORK ANGELS and then progressively (regressively?) worked back to 1974. They played songs from every album except Test for Echo, Presto, Hold Your Fire, and Power Windows. Ten songs long, the first set included the three songs from CA, Far Cry, Main Monkey Business, How it Is, Animate, Roll the Bones, Between the Wheels, and Subdivisions. Amazingly enough, the Rush guys turned the rather geeky rap section from Roll the Bones into one of the best parts of the evening. Even I won’t spoil what they did, but it had all three Birzers in stitches.

As excellent as set one was, it was set two that floored me. Tom Sawyer; The Camera Eye; Spirit of Radio; Jacob’s Ladder; Cygnus X-1(!); Closer to the Heart; Xanadu; and the nearly-complete 2112 made up this glorious set. I actually cried during the middle of Xanadu I was so moved.

Rush departed the stage for probably less than a minute. For the encore, the band came back as though it were 1975, complete with a set from the gymnasium of Rod Serling High School. Geddy even introduced the band as though Caress of Steel had just come out. The encore: Lakeside Park; Anthem; What You’re Doing; and, of course, Working Man.

I’m getting chills just thinking about it all. . . .

I’ll post more photos later.  At the moment, I’m on a terribly slow connection.–BB

[Brad is one of the three founders of Progarchy.  He’s rather goofy, and he has a book, NEIL PEART: CULTURAL REPERCUSSIONS, coming out this fall from WordFire Press]

16 thoughts on “Rush R40 Lincoln

  1. captainned

    Home territory for me; Montreal 6/21 at the Bell Centre. Last box daughter wants to check on her bucket list of “Dad’s bands” (I don’t think Tull/Ian Anderson has another tour left in the tank).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha,DERN YOU BRAD…………..YOU and your “spoilers”!!! HAHA……… MUCH as I tried to STOP MYSELF from reading ANY FURTHER after You posted that^^^ I simply couldn’t HELP MYSELF in reading FURTHER,so I DID!!! However,after reading all of this,I HAVE TO SAY,that I’m now even MORE Excited to their upcoming show on June 7th @ the Nationwide-Area in Columbus,Ohio!!! Knowing they’ll be doing such classics as “Jacob’s Ladder” and “Xanadu”…….is something that gives me chills just THINKING about it!!! Can’t wait………..CAN’T WAIT!!! C’mon June 7th,GET HERE ALREADY!!! Haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bryan Morey

    Daaaannnnggggg! I so so so so want to go to the show in Chicago, but I can’t afford the scalped prices that immediately showed up within hours of the show going on sale. People purchased seats by the hundreds and immediately were selling them back for 4 times their value. I certainly refuse to pay $300 for nosebleed seats. Plus, I’ll be in England doing research for my senior thesis. But, man, I wish I could see this. To see almost all of 2112 performed live would make me very happy indeed. Damn. I’ll have to settle for the live album.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Brett Pugsley

    Awesome stuff, thanks. I’m anxiously counting down the hours to R40 in my home town St. Paul. #30 for me. I’m already in tears my friend, I know this one is special. Again, I appreciate your wonderful review


  5. Nick

    So envious!

    Desperately hoping they do some dates over on this side of the pond.

    I think they will if they can; they’ll surely want to give some sort of farewell to European fans. But I imagine there will be fewer dates than in previous tours.

    I guess much will depend upon Neil’s tendonitis…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nick, I hope they make it over, too. I’m guessing it’s Neil’s daughter (age six) that is holding him back more than anything. I hope they make it across as well. This was truly spectacular.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Darryl Harrison

    Very Happy there’s no Test For Echo! That was the one album I didn’t care for. Yeah, a couple of “Good” not”great” tracks but pretty weak overrall! Sure would like something different from Counterparts-such a Rockin’ album. I’d love to hear “Afterimage” or “Kid Gloves” from Grace Under Pressure, too! Love, love, How It Is!

    Liked by 1 person


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