Rush - Wembley Arena

By Brian Harrigan, Melody Maker, November 14, 1981, transcribed by pwrwindows

THE Wembley Arena is hardly what you'd describe as a "stately pleasure dome" but it was hard to tell the difference when Rush swung into a colossal version of their classic "Xanadu".

For two hours and (about) ten minutes they mesmerised a sell out hall with the crispest set they've boasted for at least two years. The band would be the first to agree that they were getting kind of slow and bogged down with their old set. Gratifyingly they've done something about it.

"Xanadu" was superb with Geddy Lee displaying new heights to his already extreme voice, and Neil Peart doing a particularly impressive impersonation of a perpetual motion machine. The latter did much the same in the obligatory drum solo which, in fact, was crisp and entertaining.

As for the much vaunted film/slide show back projected onto a screen at the rear of the stage, it was something of a disappointment. There were some neat moments - the "Moving Pictures" sleeve suddenly coming to life, for example - but really it was a case of too little stretched too thinly.

Musically, though, it was an awesome experience. Last year I felt the band were losing their taste for playing live. This year those doubts have been dispelled.