Rush at the Minnesota State Fair, 8/27/10

Categories: Last Night
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Photos by Steve Cohen
The first weekend of the 2010 Minnesota State Fair might have ended with the usual fireworks but started off with a whole lot of cornball ridiculousness courtesy of Friday's Grandstand headliners, Toronto's contribution to the '70s prog genre, Rush.

Before sunset a short film of an "old world" version of the band, "Rash" featured the three members of Rush inside a "Sausage Haus" Polish restaurant guiding some young version of Rush(possibly the band's children?) on a small stage. In fat suit, guitarist Alex Lifeson(who was celebrating numero 57 on this night at the Fair), or "Big Al" gaffaws at the young band going through a sort of "oompah" version of "Spirit of the Radio". Behind the counter Geddy Lee in a thick polish accent says he needs to take Big Al's sausage away from him, blocking him he says "The last time someone grabbed my sausage I had to get remarried."

Likely because of the heavy maleness of the band's audience the sausage jokes continue throughout the set as the elaborate "Time Machine" onstage also was being stuffed with rubber chickens and seemed to be churning out sausage links into a bucket.

What's most admirable about Rush and the evening as a whole Friday night was that humor trumped the band's need to take any of themselves, except for the music, seriously and they delivered on all fronts.

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Photos by Steve Cohen
The "Time Machine" tour has allowed the band to come out and basically do whatever the hell they want. Though the song selections out of the gate were a  hodge podge of tracks from their 80-90's synth fueled days including the essential "Subdivisions" and the non-essential, "Time Stands Still" the band pulled things off even unveiling two new edgier songs "Substance" and "BU2B", due to be on a new full length next year tentatively titled, "Clockwork Angels".

For the second set the time machine flopped around and eventually stayed on 1980's masterpiece "Moving Pictures" where the band, on screen taking the form of chimps at this point, kicked into their hallmark, "Tom Sawyer":



Though the music on the first side of "Moving Pictures" have been Rush standards for years cuts like "Camera Eye", accompanied with some wonderful images of New York City and London, and "Vital Signs" definitely required some dusting off not to mention incredible stamina that Rush had no problem maintaining despite the members near sexagenarian status.

Particularly impressive and part of the main draw for fans, drummer Neil Peart, as tradition has it showed off extra drive during his updated nine minute drum solo and throughout the 3 hour performance riding through the band's complex music, time changes and wildly structured songs.



Overall Rush proved once again a band with such a long career and varied catalog can still provide something fresh. Their new music has the vitality and spirit that the band started out with and they still have a lot of love and respect for their fans who will put up with just about anything the band dishes up; sausage, rubber chickens and chimpanzees or the hammy Canadian humor they continue to be known for.

Critic's Bias: As a drummer I bow at the revolving drum riser of the "Professor", Neil Peart. The drum solo can't ever be long enough.
The Crowd: Sold out Grandstand of newly obsessed or seasoned Rush fanatics and their tolerant and patient wives, girlfriends or parents. Air-drummers outnumbered the air-guitars.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Somehow the older he gets the higher his voice can get!"
Random Notebook Dump:
"We're on Geddy's side!"
"Closer to the Heart" as an Irish jig and "Working Man" as dub reggae?!
For more photos: Check out our complete slideshow by Steve Cohen.

Setlist:
First Set
"Spirit of the Radio"
"Time Stand Still"
"Presto"
"Stick it Out"
"Working them Angels"
"Leave that Thing Alone"
"Faithless"
"BU2B"
"Freewill"
"Marathon"
"Subdivisions"

Second Set:
"Tom Sawyer"
"Red Barchetta"
"YYZ"
"Limelight"
"The Camera Eye"
"Witch Hunt"
"Vital Signs"
"Caravan"
Drum Solo
"Closer to the Heart"
"2112 - Part 1: Overature"
"2112 - Part 2: The Temples of Syrinx"
"Far Cry"

Encore:
"La Villa Strangiato"
"Working Man"

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Photo by Danny Sigelman

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Photo by Danny Sigelman
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Photo by Danny Sigelman




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