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.
News & Observer photos
There was a fairly good video posted on YouTube. It’s 39 minutes long, and shows some of the highlights of the show.