Last night, I went to the opening night of Rush's Time Machine Tour in Albuquerque.
(Word of warning: if you wandered in here on a search and don't want to know the set list, stop reading now.)
I've been listening to Rush for so many years. I knew about them in high school, but it was Moving Pictures that caught my attention, and Signals that won my heart. I didn't know that girls weren't allowed to be Rush fans. In fact, it was years before I figured that one out. As my dear friend Deb will happily tell you, I am oblivious to some things. Many things, probably.
I guess I should have figured it out when no one would go to the Forum with me to see them, and as a teenaged girl, I sure as hell wasn't going to the Forum by myself. But then I got older, and threw caution to wind.
And I was off.
I did some counting a few days ago, and came to the realization that last night was probably the 25th time I've seen Rush live. Oh, I know, I'm a piker compared with some people, but guys don't have to skip shows because they're in labor, which, yes, did actually happen to me, February 5, 1994.
Anyway, I can tell you that Rush put on an amazing live show. I can tell you they are the hardest working, most amazing musicians around, but if you already know about Rush, I'm preaching to the choir and if don't know about Rush, you probably don't care. Just let me say that their show is probably one of the most satisfying live music experiences going, which is why I keep going back.
That, and yes, I really needed to hear "Natural Science" live 16 times.
The best thing about the start of a new tour is that it's an opportunity to fall in love with the band all over again. And I do. Every single time. Last night was no exception.
The set design is jaw dropping. The new drum kit is just gorgeous, but the time machine theme has been carried through all the elements on stage. When "Caravan" and "BU2B" came out in May, I commented to a friend that I was definitely picking up a steampunk element in the music, and I was highly amused to see just that in play in the set design. After working for years for a company with the universe's highest attention-to-detail coefficient, I love seeing design so thoroughly incorporated.
And let me just say that "BU2B" along with "Camera Eye" freaking stole the show ("BU2B" is my new whiplash song since "Natural Science" isn't getting played this outing. I wish I could learn to stand still). The band just tore the place up with "BU2B." I was not one of the folks on the "Camera Eye" bandwagon--it's a fine and lovely song, but I'm a firm believer that the band is in charge of the set list. However, the arrangement as they played it last night was magnificent. "Presto" was a delightful surprise, particularly as the lyric "I look down into a million houses and wonder what you're doing tonight" played through my head as I looked down on the lights of Albuquerque as I landed at the airport hours late Monday night. "Marathon" made me happy. I really liked the new arrangement of "Closer to the Heart," though I'm quite fond of the old extended jam. The sound was suffering on a few songs, especially "Faithless." "Caravan" was a bit of a disappointment since I couldn't even hear the bass parts in it that I love, but it was the opening night, and I'm sure those things will be ironed out before I see them again.
(Yes, I have to see the show again because I know I missed at least half what was going on. Also, if "Caravan" and "BU2B" are any indication where the next album is going, I can not wait.)
Somehow, playing Moving Pictures from beginning to end made the songs seem fresh, so that was nice, too. The circus/carousel/polka beginning for "La Villa Strangiato" fit perfectly and was hilarious.
And the Albuquerque evening was lovely and soft, even if it did get pretty windy there for a bit. Deb commented that it was best three hours of therapy available, and after the last two years, I couldn't agree more.
Go listen to some good music: "Fool's Overture" from the album Even in the Quietest Moments by Supertramp. I always pay attention to the house music because there are usually some great selections, and it's actually how I was introduced to Porcupine Tree years ago. I got chills when this song came on before the show last night. For me, layers and layers of meaning there, which combined with the whole idea of time machine...a little emotional, I guess. (Photo up tomorrow at my photo blog which sort of explains why.) Usually, the emotion is just happiness: I love to watch these guys play, and yes, I know my head snaps to the right with alarming regularity.