When you've been in the business as long as Rush - it's 40 years next year since their eponymous debut album was released - you have to have something about you in order to remain at the top of you game for so long. Recently recognised for their contribution to rock music with a place in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Rush seem to have that 'something'.
A year on from the release of their 19th studio album, 'Clockwork Angels', the Canadian trio brought their new material, along with a fair selection from the extensive back-catalogue, to the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield. They'd last been there on their 'Time Machine' Tour in May 2011, and can always count on a good following from this part of the world.
The set was, as I've mentioned, wide-ranging from their back catalogue, with the majority of material in the first half of the show coming from the 80s & 90s. Standards of their repertoire such as 'Subdivisions', 'Tom Sawyer', 'Far Cry' and 'Spirit of Radio' were great crowd-pleasers. The second half of the show focused on the latest offering 'Clockwork Angels', essentially a concept album though not played in its entirety nor in album order. For it they were joined by a live string section, who clearly relished playing the music and rocked along as they played. They concluded with some of their 70s material (more my cup of tea), ending with a blinding rendition of the opening and closing sections of 2112.
The staging of the show was good: lighting, pyrotechnics and video brought a lively dimension to the performance: not that there was anything lacking in the vitality of these old rockers, fast approaching or just passed 60 (despite Geddy Lee's joke about them needing a break half-way because of their age!). The musicianship from all three of them was excellent. My only gripe about the show was the sound quality, but that may be due to our seats being to the side of the stage and quite high up, rather than front ¢re.
On the whole not a bad night out for a father who remembers this band from his teens, and his son who's still there!