I saw my first rock concert in November 1986… Journey, Greensboro. But that is another story.

A year later, my second concert was Rush in Charlotte. My friends and I drove down from NC State to see their “Hold Your Fire” tour.  An excellent show, and one that left a memorable impression.

Shortly after the show, the band announced more tour dates, including one at Reynolds Coliseum in Raleigh, just a few hundred feet from my dorm room!  So my friends and I got tickets for that one, too.  On the day of the show, I won 2nd row tickets from our campus radio station, WKNC.  We were so close, I felt like I could high-five Geddy Lee.

Fast forward 25 years, and now I have a family.  I don’t listen to classic rock that much, but I do try to raise my kids right, teaching them to pick out the important bands like Rush or Van Halen just from their style.  My older daughter has a good ear for that sort of thing, but my younger one simply guesses the same names for every song: Beatles, Prince, Van Halen.  Prince??  Really?


Last night, Rush came to PNC Arena in Raleigh as part of their Clockwork Angels tour, and I brought the family to see these legends of rock-n-roll.  We were not quite “high-five” close, but we had great seats — 18th row beside the stage (on Geddy Lee’s side, of course).

For a bunch of 60-year-olds, the trio put on a great show.  Geddy Lee couldn’t hit the high notes that he could in the 80’s, but that did not slow them down at all.

The stage was decorated in a steampunk theme, with lots of mechanical gear, and even a popcorn machine (at one point, a stagehand snuck on stage and grabbed some popcorn).

The show was divided into three sets: two halves and a so-called “encore”.

The first set was mostly from Moving Pictures, Signals, Power Windows, and Hold Your Fire (1981-1987). This was the Rush that I came to see.

The second set dove into a lot of new stuff from the last 10 years that I am not really familiar with.  It was enjoyable, but not epic. They spiced up this part of the show, first with a hard-rockin’ string ensemble backup, and then later with some surprise pyrotechnics. Towards the end of this set, Sydney actually drifted off to sleep… at a rock concert.

They finished up with an encore set of classics from Moving Pictures and 2112.



Play List

Set One

  • Subdivisions
  • The Big Money
  • Force Ten
  • Grand Designs
  • The Body Electric
  • Territories
  • The Analog Kid
  • Bravado
  • Where’s My Thing?
  • Far Cry
Set Two

  • Caravan
  • Clockwork Angels
  • The Anarchist
  • Carnies
  • The Wreckers
  • Headlong Flight
  • Halo Effect
  • Seven Cities of Gold
  • The Garden
  • Manhattan Project
  • Drum Solo
  • Red Sector A
  • YYZ
  • The Spirit of Radio

  • Tom Sawyer
  • 2112 Part I: Overture
  • 2112 Part II: The Temples of Syrinx
  • 2112 Part VII: Grand Finale


News & Observer photos

Full photo set here.

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