Inglewood Forum, Los Angeles
Critics just love to attack Rush. The trio plays arenas as opposed to trendy little clubs. (In fact, they did tour arena shows in the L.A. area along this time out.) The PolyGram band writes conceptual alums and its Ayn Randian individualism seems diametrically opposed to the fashionable utopian socialism of, say, the Clash. Still, credit has to be given where it's due, and the band is one of the few survivors of the days when pomp rock held sway over the nation's youth.
The two-hour Rush performance here Feb 17 was hardly a world-shaking event, but with the members' shorn locks, a newfound sense of humor, intriguing video touches, and a new emphasis on synthesizers and reggae in the music, the band is not exactly the dinosaur they are pictured as being.
Still, the predominantly teenage crowd came to hear Alex Lifeson's guitar solos Neil Peart's intricate drummmg and Geddy Lee's high-pitched vocals and they got plenty of all three elements. However, Rush's more interesting songs are the ones where they don't confuse musical obfuscation with goo songwriting. "Subdivisions," "Closer To The Heart" and "New World Man" are perhaps the best for being direct and relatively simple.
Openers Golden Earring, another PolyGram act, plays intelligent hard rock without Rush's maxim that "if it is difficult, play it, no matter what it sounds like." The 40-minute set proved that the dutch quintet can stil rock with the best of them even if it has been around nearly 20 years.
Golden Earring is strong because it mixes swirling undercurrents of r&b and dance music into its hard rock mix. This is best shown on their initial U.S. hit "Radar Love" and the new "Twilight Zone." Lead singer Barry Ray has commanding vocals and stage presence, but it was drummer Cesar Zuiderwijk who stole the show because he injected humor into the tired cliché known as the drum solo.