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Concert Reviews:
Rush takes fans on a Time Machine trip at the Palace

of the Oakland Press

Posted: Monday, April 18, 2011

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AUBURN HILLS -- There was some degree of consternation when Rush announced the first leg of its Time Machine Tour in 2010 without a Detroit area stop. How, after all, could the veteran and venerable Canadian trio hit the road without visiting one of its most supportive, long-term markets.

No slight was intended, of course, and Rush solidified the relationship Sunday night (April 17) at the Palace, taking more than 10,000 fans on a typically dazzling trip through its 37-year catalog -- a set of "way too many songs," according to singer/bassist/keyboardist Geddy Lee -- including the entirety of its best-selling 1981 album "Moving Pictures."

Weighing in at 25 songs and three hours, bisected by a 20-minute intermission, it was an exhaustive display that threw bones to both casual fans and hardcore devotees. Though the ailing Lee was up and down vocally throughout the night (particularly at the beginning of the show), Rush's intricate arrangements and complex instrumental work was as flashy and captivating as ever, whether it was on instrumentals such as "Leave That Thing Alone," "YYZ," the "2112" overture and "La Villa Strangiato" or solo breaks on "Freewill" and "Red Barchetta" that earned special ovations. Neil Peart squeezed plenty into his relatively modes eight-minute drum solo, while guitarist Alex Lifeson took a quick spin on synthesizer during "Time Stand Still" and also dressed up "Closer to the Heart" with a quick 12-string acoustic guitar prelude.

Bolstered by a brilliant light show, pyrotechnics, random sight gags (including crew members dressed as a gorilla and large chicken) and extensive videos -- including a couple of humorous pieces that let the three band members do a bit of acting -- Rush dug deep into its sonic warehouse for rarities such as "Presto," "Stick It Out" and "Marathon," while the "Moving Pictures" segment allowed the group to revisit the epic "The Camera Eye" and "Vital Signs." Rush dipped into its last studio album, "Snakes & Arrows," for "Far Cry," "Faithless" and "Workin' Them Angels," and it also offered a taste of its forthcoming "Clockwork Angels" -- which Lee said Rush is "going to finish...one day, hopefully before the year's through" -- in the form of "BU2B" and "Caravan," both heavy rockers driven by tricky but modern dynamics.

Rush played with its finale, "Working Man," playing the first verse and a half as a reggae song, but it dependably shifted into the leaden crunch of its recorded version, dropping fans off at the beginning of a Time Machine trip that doesn't feel close to reaching a final destination.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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