Canadian rock legends RUSH kicked off their “R40 Live” 40th-anniversary tour last night (Friday, May 8) at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The concert featured no opening act and contained a number of video vignettes created for the tour, including an animated sequence shown at the start of the show that displayed the progression of the trio throughout the years.
“This is the very first show,” bassist/vocalist Geddy Lee told the crowd after a few songs, according to TulsaWorld.com. “We’re celebrating way too many years of music.”
According to JamBase.com, the ten-song first set featured a run of five tunes that hadn’t been performed on recent tours: “The Main Monkey Business” (last played in 2008) and “One Little Victory” (last played in 2008) from 2007’s “Snakes & Arrows”, “Animate” (last played in 2004) from 1993’s “Counterparts”, the title track from 1991’s “Roll The Bones” (last played in 2004) and “Distant Early Warning” (last played in 2007) from 1984’s “Grace Under Pressure”. Aired during the second set were “Jacob’s Ladder” from 1980’s “Permanent Waves”, which was performed for the first time in 35 years; “Cygnus X- 1 Book Two: Hemispheres – Prelude” (last played in 1994) from 1978’s “Hemispheres” and “Cygnus X-1 Book One – The Voyage” (last played in 2002) from 1977’s “A Farewell To Kings”; “Closer To The Heart” (last played in 2011) and “Xanadu” (last played in 2004), also from “A Farewell To Kings”; and the “2112” suite from 1976’s “2112”, including the first performance of “2112 Part IV: Presentation” since 1997. The encore consisted of “Lakeside Park” (last played in 1978) from 1975’s “Caress Of Steel”; “Anthem” (last played in 1992) from 1975’s “Fly By Night”; and “What You’re Doing” and “Working Man” from RUSH‘s eponymous, 1974 studio debut.
The band’s setlist was as follows:
Intro video – The World is … The World is
* Clockwork Angels
* The Anarchist
* Headlong Flight (with mini drum solo)
* Far Cry
* Main Monkey Business
* One Little Victory
* Roll The Bones
* Distant Early Warning
Intro video – No Country for Old Hens
* Tom Sawyer
* Red Barchetta
* The Spirit Of Radio
* Jacob’s Ladder
* Cygnus X-1 Book Two: Hemispheres – Prelude
* Cygnus X-1 Book One – The Voyage: Part 1
* Drum Solo
* Cygnus X-1 Book One – The Voyage: Part 3
* Closer To The Heart
* 2112 Overture/Temples of Syrinx/Presentation/Grand Finale
Intro Video: Mel’s Rockpile starring Eugene Levy
* Lakeside Park
* What You’re Doing
* Working Man
Outro Video: Exit Stage Left
The “R40 Live” tour will wrap on August 1 in Los Angeles, California at the Forum.
Asked how he is feeling about the idea of retiring from the road, RUSH guitarist Alex Lifeson told The Canadian Press: “I have such mixed feelings about it. In one way, I feel relief. I think that 40 years is a long time to be touring the way we tour. I really like being home with my grandkids. At 61, I don’t feel there’s anything we need to prove.”
He continued: “I still love playing. But in [drummer] Neil‘s [Peart] case, for example, his job is really tough. Playing the way he does is very, very difficult on his body. He has chronic tendonitis in his arms and he’s had problems with his shoulders.
“It’s just getting to the point, no matter how much we love doing it, that it’s much more demanding and much more difficult.”
Lifeson added: “I’ve always hated the idea of being one of those guys who’s just up there, old and barely able to move — just doing it for fear of not doing it, or not making an extra buck or whatever.
“If this is the last major tour that we do, [I want to] go out with flying colors, where everybody remembers the show they went to as the best RUSH they’ve [seen].
“That’s a nice legacy to leave behind — rather than the worn-out shadow of something you once were.”
Out now is “R40”, a RUSH video box set on six Blu-ray discs or 10 DVDs. The collection includes live footage from all four decades of the band’s career, including over two hours of previously unreleased material, a rare performance of “2112” in its entirety, three previously unreleased tracks from 1974, and more.