Rush, Runaway concert: Good only as advice

By Stephen Ford, Detroit News, February 11, 1977

It always has been our theory that, when you attempt something, never settle for the mediocre: Be the best - or the worst.

Quite obviously, the two rock bands performing last evening at Cobo Arena, headliners Rush, and the all-female L.A. ensemble, the Runaways, as the support act, agree, even if to illustrate the latter part of the theory. But, if nothing else, they were consistent.

Without hesitation, they were so bad, and bad with such zealous conviction, that we marveled how any two bands could perform back-to-back without even a modicum of ability. The law of averages dictating something worthwhile has to erupt from three hours of music was completely shredded.

To describe the show honestly leaves one with no option but to lapse into diatribe and go for the cheap shot.

Before a multitude of outraged fans run to apply pen to paper and tell me they hope I expire behind my typewriter for such sacrilege, perhaps they should stop to consider the insult laid upon them after parting with $6.50 to gain admission to last night's monstrosity.

They call themselves the Runaways but, being within earshot, we were instilled with a desire to run the other way. Decked out in skin-tight satin, silver lame and puerile sexuality, or what five basically nice, middle class girls deem it to be, the Runaways accosted the audience with sloppy Led Zeppelin warmovers and embarrassingly insincere punkiness.

Two days ago, vocalist Cherie Currie told me she thought the critics had been unfair to the Runaways.

"I'd like to see them (critics) get out there on stage before an audience and play," she said.

After witnessing the band in concert, we must allow that the better measure of such debate is awarded the individual who acknowledges they can't... and shouldn't.

Following the Runaways was the Canadian trio Rush.

Lead singer Geddy Lee continues to sound as though he played one football game too many without ample equipment, guitarist Alex Lifeson studies the stage charisma of the great guitarists without ever noticing their craft, and drummer Neil Peart should take a long, hard look at learning computer programming.

Perhaps the only nice thing we can say about last evening's show is that it wasn't a two-night stand.