This leads me to the light show, which was one of the most impressive I have ever seen Rush put on - although I have certainly not seen every tour. The stage was backed with three giant video screens, and these four, huge, suspended lighting rigs, each holding a myriad of rotating colored spotlights and strobes, would occasionally descend down to within damn-near jumping distance of the band and turn the place into a scene straight out of Close Encounters.
After a typically incredible performance of "The Spirit Of Radio" towards the end of the second set, another hilarious video takes over the screen featuring the characters from South Park as Lil' Rush. Cartman is dressed like Geddy and is singing and playing the keyboard riff to "Tom Sawyer" when Kyle is forced to stop him midstream, "Stop! Stop! Those aren't the right lyrics fat ass!" Cartman confidently responds, "Tom Sawyer builds a raft and floated down a river with a black guy. I read the book." Kyle angrily corrects him, "that's not Tom Sawyer, that is Huckleberry Finn stupid!" Cartman fires right back with "I am Geddy Lee, and I will sing whatever lyrics I want!," at which point they start over and count off "and a one and a two and a..." which leads into the monstrous opening synthesizer riff to "Tom Sawyer" - by the real band. It was insane.
Geddy's vocals were the best I have heard in over a decade. Is he getting that singer's second wind? Those incredibly high notes from some of the 70's and early-80's material, were much less of a problem for him on this tour. Alex's guitar work was awesome as usual, and he and Geddy were both having a blast on stage, which really made it a fun show to watch. Neil continues to be a mesmerizing machine behind the drum kit, and his untouchable drum solo, which runs the gamut between epic prog-rock, African and Oriental rhythms, and big band swing, was one of the highlights of the show.
Rush are closing in on their 35th anniversary as a band, and it is not an exaggeration to say that they are still playing better than ever. Although they will probably never surpass some of the magic they laid down to vinyl during the holy trinity years of Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures, and Signals, they certainly continue to excel in the live concert arena. This was one of the best concerts I have seen since, well, the last Rush tour - and I have seen some great ones. Are you hearing me Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?