Wembley Arena, London
If you can't provide quality, heap on the quantity. To my mind that's exactly what Rush are all about every time they return to these shores with a string of three hour long concerts.
Of course there are thousands of fans who would vehemently disagree, since the truth supposedly lies in the sales returns. There just isn't a single empty seat in this massive arena tonight, and 'Exit Stage Left' is surging up the charts. Why?
We're halfway through the set, and the song is 'Tom Sawyer'. Geddy Lee's thin, wavering voice barely cuts through the wall of sound, and Alex Lifeson looks like he'll burst into tears. The kid next to me mutters a heart-felt "wow". He's clearly moved. Rush make every schoolboys' dreams come true. The cosmos, high priests, pure fantasy, it's all here. It's the boys own annual translated into heavy metal, with all the familiar heroes smiling from its pages.
The three members of Rush of course don't physically represent the heroes. With their total lack of stage presence, there's noone crying "Alex, I love you” etc. For the band's role is that of the dream-makers. Shut your eyes and the story unfolds. The pictures in this tale lie in the imagination and not on the stage.
Rush provide intellectual metal for those whose education is not yet completed. If this sounds patronising, a quick look around the audience confirms that the majority are under 18 years.
To the outsider, like myself, Rush are plain boring (their mindless noise reverberating into the sanctity of the toilets), but to those in the know their music is a cult. The annual concert more like a reunion where like minds escape together into a nervous orgasm of magic and mystery.