On this date in history, 4/27/1980, I saw Rush and .38 Special at Market Square Arena. This was one of the stranger combinations in terms of musical styles, but it was a fantastic show all the same.
I had just seen Rush a little less than a year and a half prior to this and in that time they had released Permanent Waves. This album was the one featuring “The Spirit Of Radio” and “Freewill” and began a trend towards shorter songs. There were still a couple of long ones, but they didn’t take up a whole side of the album, so it counts as a pretty major change for the Canadian trio.
All facets of the live show were in full growth mode…better lighting, better sound, more songs to choose from; but the consistency and commitment to excellence remained a hallmark of all the Rush shows I ever attended. Geddy, Alex and Neil were all simply killing it on their respective instruments and playing together as a unit with a razor focus.
The opening set by the talented .38 Special was loaded with their fiery southern rock and full of great songs that are still played on classic rock stations all these years later. On paper it was a weird band to open for Rush, but in the arena it all came down to songs and performance, and both bands delivered plenty of highlights.
Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic
Rush – Exit Stage Left 1980