What was the “Rush”?

09Apr10

It has become an increasingly prevalent trend in rock n roll: Band “A”, a collection of aging rockers in its late-50s, or older, decides to play its most successful album in its entirety on its next mega-stadium or amphitheatre summer tour.

Aerosmith did it recently with Toys in the Attic. Motley Crue trotted out Dr. Feelgood for a 20th anniversary celebration last year and Judas Priest is currently commemorating the 30th anniversary of its landmark 1980 album, British Steel with a track-by-track live rundown on tour.

Rush is the latest classic rock band to join this list. As reported by Darryl Sterdan in today’s Toronto Sun, the iconic Canadian band will be playing its famed 1981 collection, Moving Pictures on this summer’s Time Machine tour.

The tour starts June 29 in New Mexico and will include two Toronto dates.

As Sterdan points out, several songs from Moving Pictures have become classic rock radio staples; among them, YYZ, Tom Sawyer and Red Barchetta.

But more “obscure” songs from the album haven’t been heard by live audiences in many years.

Rush drummer Neil Peart told Sterdan Moving Pictures was a turning point for the band. I agree. Peart says the more streamlined songs pointed to a new direction for Rush— one they would explore further throughout the 1980s.

But this is the problem I have with the album — and thus, the decision to celebrate it. Rush was never the same band after Moving Pictures. The album’s commerciality led to a string of increasingly pop-flavoured records that alienated many of the band’s long-time fans.

Moving Pictures was indeed a turning point: It was the last great record Rush made. Commemorating it only serves to remind me of how dismal their output has been since then.

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