Rush proved once again, in an exciting show Monday night at the Arena, why it is Canada's premier rock band. The trio performed with style, flawless musicianship, and enough energy to live up to its name even after 10 years of recording.
Singer Geddy Lee still commanded the undivided attention of the crowd, even though he has been splitting his time between a stationary synthesizer and his usual electric bass guitar. His singing voice was in great form, with his high notes ringing clearly over the really full sound that these three men produce.
He led the audience through songs taken from several albums. However, it was the material from the new album, "Grace Under Pressure," including a stunning rendition of "The Body Electric," that got the longest cheers.
Even if Neil Peart wasn't the writer of most of the band's lyrics, it would still be a sure bet that he is a thinking man's drummer. Superb timing, coupled with an uncanny feel for where to take each groove, exemplified his sensitivity to the difficult time changes in the songs. He was always there with the kind of support crucial to making a power trio successful.
Guitarist Alex Lifeson has simply got to be seen to be believed. His use of a classical touch with his control of the electric guitar, through a battery of effects, puts him among the most progressive of modern players. Lifeson adds most of the musical color to the band's arrangements and he is capable of rainbows.
Rush transcended the size and acoustics of the room with clear sound, a thrilling laser show, and clever use of motion picture film. On the introduction to the song "The Weapon" a smiling Dracula figure came on the screen to explain the tune, while below on the stage the band began to slowly fade in the music as he spoke. It was one outstanding element of an outstanding show.
Opening the program was Irish guitar ace Gary Moore. Stints with bands such as the Belfast rockers Thin Lizzy and others, have taught Moore how to blend his bluesy shouting with a muscular boogie style and brass knuckle guitar tone. He often had the crowd with him as he pulled a variety of sounds from his Fender guitar and had most of the audience cheering as he peeled off solo after solo.