June 2, 2013, Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam (NL)

It has been a while since I last saw my favourite band Rush in the flesh, but now they're back in Europe with their Clockwork Angels Tour. In my opinion their latest album with the same name was one of the heaviest, but also one of the best the band had recorded in a long time, so I was really looking forward to this tour. When I entered the venue I saw a huge video screen on which many videos were shown during the entire show. In fact the gig opened with a rather spectacular and funny video in which Geddy Lee (vocals, bass, keyboards), Alex Lifeson (guitars, backing vocals) and Neil Peart (drums, percussion) were being put together for the show as if they were robots...

Rush opened the first set with Subdivisions, one of the best songs of the still underestimated album Signals. The remainder of the first set before the break mainly consisted of older material. However, due to the sound and the professionalism of this power trio, songs like Grand Designs, Bravado, Force Ten or Where's My Thing still sound up to date and very modern. Then it was time for Neil to prove, or rather show that he belongs to the top three drummers of all times in his drum solo called The Percussor. For me a drum solo is still a redundant thing, as I rather would have heard The Camera Eye or The Pass instead. But that's absolutely no reason to nag because after the break the band even shone better with nine songs from Clockwork Angels, which were played with the assistance of the Clockwork Angels String Ensemble. Highlights were the amazing melodic track The Garden and Seven Cities Of Gold, but for me the real milestones were the exciting versions of the classics Manhattan Project, Red Sector A, The Spirit Of Radio and the instrumental YYZ with its opening beats based on the call sign of Toronto Pearson International Airport. Of course in the encores we were treated to Tom Sawyer and parts 1, 2 and 7 of the classic album 2112 (1976). And then after more than three hours it was over, sad but true, for me this concert could have lasted another three hours!

L to R: Alex, Geddy and Neil

In conclusion I can say that the set list contained 28 songs: none from Rush (1974), Fly By Night (1974), Caress Of Steel (1975), A Farewell To Kings (1977), Hemispheres (1978), Presto (1989), Counterparts (1993), Test For Echo (1996) and Vapor Trails (2002), one from Permanent Waves (1980), three from Moving Pictures (1981), two from Signals (1982), one from Grace Under Pressure (1984), four from Power Windows (1985), one from Hold Your Fire (1987), two from Roll The Bones (1991), just one from Snakes & Arrows (2007) and nine from their latest album Clockwork Angels (2012, see review). I sadly missed The Necromancer, The Camera Eye and The Pass, but the sound was amazing, the show was perfect and I'm already looking forward to the DVD of this spectacular tour. As far as I'm concerned Rush is still the best heavy prog rock band in the world. If devotees of prog rock are tired of Rush, they are perhaps tired of life! 

Martien Koolen, pictures by Bert Treep (edited by Peter Willemsen)

Set list:

Set 1:
The Big Money
Force Ten
Grand Designs
The Analog Kid
Where's My Thing?
Far Cry

Set 2:
Clockwork Angels
The Anarchist
The Wreckers
Headlong Flight
Halo Effect
Seven Cities Of Gold
The Garden
Manhattan Project
The Percussor
Red Sector A
The Spirit Of Radio

Tom Sawyer
2112 Part I: Overture
2112 Part II: The Temples Of Syrinx
2112 Part VII: Grand Finale

Line up:

Geddy Lee:
bass, lead vocals, keyboards
Neil Peart:
drums, percussion
Alex Lifeson:
guitars, bass pedal synthesizer,
backing vocals

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