On this date in history, 8/9/2002, I saw Rush for the last time at Deer Creek in Noblesville, IN. Rush were touring in support of the Vapor Trails album and had no opening act.
By this time in their career, Rush had a nearly bottomless well of quality songs to choose from. They played 2 full sets with an intermission, and to no-one’s surprise, they played majestically. Rush truly had no weak spots instrumentally. The only criticism I have ever heard from anyone is the occasional complaint about Geddy Lee’s voice. I’ve always liked his voice, so I have remained a fan since I first heard “Working Man” about a thousand years ago.
One thing I was thrilled with at this show was Alex Lifeson’s guitar sound. For a time in the ’80’s I felt that Alex got away from sounding like a guitar hero and had drifted a little too far into the guitar synthesizer realm. During this show he sounded more manly than ever before, with the tone of the gods.
Speaking of gods, Neil Peart demonstrated repeatedly why he is on the Mt. Rushmore of rock drummers, delivering flawless playing throughout the show. His drum solo was so epic that at the conclusion of it he played along with a rear screen projection of a black and white film of a big band jazz orchestra. Neil revealed his ‘swing’ chops to staggering effect.
Directly after the drum solo feature, Geddy and Alex sat down with acoustic guitars and played a stripped down version of “Resist” that was hard to resist! Really cool to hear some unplugged Rush.
After the set break, another excellent screen projection featured a gigantic dragon gradually flying across a desert landscape and making a thunderous landing in the foreground of the rocky terrain. The dragon pulled out a cigar and lit it with its fiery breath, simultaneously setting off huge pyro fire blasts on the stage and kicking off the 2nd set with “One Little Victory”, a killer track from Vapor Trails.
The crowd were amused and curious about 3 clothes dryers on the stage and at one point during the second half of the show we were rewarded to find that they contained Rush t-shirts that were then launched into the crowd.
This tour eventually found its way to South America, where a show was filmed in a Brazilian soccer stadium in front of an ecstatic crowd of around 60,000 Rush fanatics. The DVD is called Rush In Rio, and basically is the same show as the one that my friend and I saw in Nobleseville. I highly recommend it, and I’m thrilled to have such an awesome souvenir of my final time seeing a band that has been part of the soundtrack of my rocking life!
Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic
Rush In Rio