Canada's premier power trio, Rush, brought its "Power Windows" tour to The Arena Monday night, proving once again that it is possible to be progressive while retaining a hard rock sound.
The combination of Geddy Lee's distinctive, high-pitched vocals and booming bass lines, Alex Lifeson's smooth and innovative guitar work, and drummer Neil Peart's management of complex rhythms and tempos is hard to match anywhere in the world of rock and roll.
Although many of the epic-length compositions that characterized Rush's earlier efforts no longer fill its live concerts, the group still can string together a half dozen current songs and several "classics" with inventive video clips and laser effects for a thoroughly entertaining show.
Rush eased into Monday's performance, warming up with a couple of older tunes, including "Spirit Of Radio," before introducing its rear screen projections as a laser pen "wrote" a greeting to the crowd.
Then, with "The Big Money" from the new album, yet another texture was added to Rush's rich tapestry of sound - a sophisticated bank of keyboards from which Lee extracted a few short synthesizer blasts before hopping off to the other side of the stage.
Several more times during the performance, Lee demonstrated his mastery of the keyboards, drawing a wide spectrum of sounds - from ethereal to ominous - from them. Rush's use of this new technology helps make the trio sound like more than just a trio.
Over the years, Rush has earned the reputation of being a thinking man's band, so Monday's selections contained plenty of cerebral subject matter such as the development of the atomic bomb in "Manhattan Project." Less global, yet no less serious, themes such as the power of dreaming ("Middletown Dreams") were also covered.
After 18 years as a working band, Rush is still growing and evolving. Monday's concert did nothing but reinforce its status as one of rock music's best.